Via Michael Calderone at Politico comes the news that the Wall Street Journal has hired Gerard Baker, a self-styled "right-wing curmudgeon" from the Times Of London, as the paper's new deputy editor-in-chief, where he will have oversight of the Journal's news coverage. Calderone says that the move "surprised some staffers because of his strong, right-wing political views." No doubt the surprise wore off after those staffers remembered recent events and said to themselves, "Oh, that's right! The Wall Street Journal was recently acquired by Rupert Murdoch after a protracted battle with the hopeless Bancroft family!"
And, in case you were wondering precisely what sort of right-wing ideologue you were getting at the Journal, and whether it made it more or less likely that the paper's famed editorial tilt would bleed its way into the news coverage, E&P's Greg Mitchell is here to remind you that Baker famously penned a column titled "Obama: is America ready for this dangerous left winger?" back in February 2008, in which he fulminated on a worldview that he claimed Obama espoused, one that included a fundamental lack of love for his country:
There is a caste of left-wing Americans who wish essentially and in all honesty that their country was much more like France. They wish it had much higher levels of taxation and government intervention, that it had much higher levels of welfare, that it did not have such a "militaristic" approach to foreign policy. Above all, that its national goals were dictated, not by the dreadful halfwits who inhabit godforsaken places like Kansas and Mississippi, but by the counsels of the United Nations.
Though Mr Obama has done a good job, as all recent serious Democrats have done, of emphasising his belief in American virtues, his record and his programme suggest he is firmly in line with this wing of his party.
To make matters worse, Baker isn't particularly gifted with news instincts of intelligence or precision: "Though [Obama] talks with great eloquence about the future, he sounds for all the world like one of the long line of Democrats from George McGovern to Walter Mondale to Michael Dukakis, who became history by espousing policies and striking a rhetorical pose that was well out of the mainstream of American politics."
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