NEWS

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July 27, 2006

The Brooks, Dowd, and Friedman editorial formula revealed

As someone who has become increasing tired of the NYTimes op-ed page, I found Ezra Klein's synopsis of Thomas Friedman and David Brooks' respective editorial styles very amusing (he also mocks Dowd, but I never started reading her):

Wandering through the nation's op-ed pages is like ambling through a dojo. Each writer has his own particular style, technique, finishing move. There's Tom Friedman, who rushes in with the Implausible Conversational Anecdote, links it to an Off-Topic Invocation Of World Travels, and finishes you with a Confusing Metaphor From Above. Or there's Maureen Dowd, who deploys Unfounded Personal Speculation mixed with Confusing Allegories till she's set up her killing blow: Insinuation of Character Defect. It's impressive stuff.The deadliest op-ed columnist, however, is unquestionably David Brooks. He's the drunken boxer of the opinion page, luring you into a false sense of security with Banal Observations that comfort through Faux Bipartisanship until you're ready for the Illogical Conservative Conclusion.
Klein then goes on to apply the Brooks formula to Brooks' column today which features an absurd discussion of education policy. Brooks concludes that politicians are perversely misguided and that the only way to fix the injustices and inequity that the present structure props up is by strengthening families and church support groups. Hmmm...Update: By the way, the last two sentences of Brooks' op-ed is even more bizzare then his conclusion. He finishes with a cheap shot against Hillary (whose educational policy proposals he is critical of):
Hillary Clinton has forgotten more about early childhood development than most of us will ever know. Why she needs to be reminded about the importance of relationships is beyond me.
Just rude, mean-spirited, and pointless. And Brooks just lulls you into it with his prose.