Stephen Walt (recently well known not only to IR-theory geeks because of The Israel Lobby) writes in Salon that Bill Kristol’s hiring at the NYT is symptomatic of the neoconservative and liberal-internationalist domination of the country’s op-ed pages. Fair enough, so far as it goes. But then he goes on to say
Such views are hardly heretical, but there is not a single major columnist, TV commentator or radio pundit who consistently presents a realist perspective on world politics and American foreign policy. In America today, the mainstream media is a realism-free zone.
I’ve thought about this for ten seconds, and I’ve already come up with George Will, Paul Krugman, and Fareed Zakaria as counterexamples. True, none are realist theoreticians—and I have no idea whether they’ve read Waltz and Morgenthau, or would self-identify as realists—but their inherent caution and cold-bloodedness on foreign-policy matters would certainly qualify them. Furthermore, there’s a good reason why the Friedmans and Brookses get more play: realism doesn’t make for good copy in the new world of op-edutainment. Friedman’s internationalism lets him play “if this is Thursday it must be Thimpu”; Kristol can rally us to invade…wherever’s next on the list. Paleocons and isolationists of all stripes get to fulminate against whichever conspiracy they see getting us into foreign entanglements. But realist prescriptions are dry and bloodless—who wants to read that in their morning paper? Walt himself has written some good books (his latest, which largely contradicts them, not among them), but if I were a programmer or newspaper editor I wouldn’t hire him.