Bubble Boy? NYT's Rosenthal 'Can't Tell' Maureen Dowd's Politics

I would defy anyone to label Maureen Dowd by party affiliation or ideology. I've known her and worked closely with her for 20 years and I can't tell you the answer to either one -- Andrew Rosenthal, editorial page editor of The New York Times

What would be worse: that when Times editorial page editor Rosenthal claims not to know Maureen Dowd's politics he's not being honest -- or that he is?

The Times's online edition contains a long column by Rosenthal responding to reader questions. Here are annotated highlights in addition to the Dowd rib-tickler:

The news report produced by the news staff of The Times is the heart and soul of this newspaper. Its mission is to bring our readers the best reported, best written, most carefully edited and most attractively produced report on paper and on the Internet, founded on the principle that the role of the newsroom is to provide a dispassionate accounting of events, free of political or ideological coloration.

Andy's gonna be at the Laff Shack all week. Don't forget to tip your waitress.

We are passionate opponents of all forms of authoritarian behavior by the federal government.

This from the paper that would impinge on citizens' Second Amendment rights, tell them where to smoke, what to drive, what not to eat, make it impossible for many to have their children educated in accordance with their values, and use government power to regulate virtually every aspect of life and take away roughly half of everything citizens earn.

Responding to a number of questions asking whether the Times is liberal, Rosenthal takes 350 words to conclude that "labels are of little use." Andy thus puts himself at odds with former ombudsman Daniel Okrent. Three years ago in his column "Is The New York Times a Liberal Newspaper?" Okrent acknowledged in his opening line: "Of course it is."

What can you say about a paper and its editor that is so unwilling or incapable of acknowledging reality on so many fronts?

Note: Clay Waters of NB's sister publication "Times Watch" wrote here earlier about Rosenthal's column, also focusing on the editor's inability to identify MoDo's politics.

Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.