David Brooks on Thursday said New York Times readers are more liberal than the journalists that write there.
During his videotaped interview with Time magazine, Brooks also explained how he tries to get this left-leaning crowd to read his articles (video follows with transcript and commentary):
GILBERT CRUZ, TIME MAGAZINE: So being a, you work for the New York Times. Being a conservative voice in what is typically considered to be a more liberal newspaper than not, how exactly does that frame affect what you write?
DAVID BROOKS, NEW YORK TIMES: It’s mostly the readers I think that are more liberal than the journalists. And they, you respect them. And so you're trying to reach them, and you’re trying to have a communication with our readers.
So I guess it makes you less want to write the column that says, “Look at us. Look at how right we are all the time,” and you want to write the column that will persuade people who may start off disagreeing with you, and you think, “How do I do that? How do I get it so they will read me and pay attention so they can see this point of view?”
So, I think it what it does is it makes you try to be more open and calm and not just think people who disagree with you are evil because if you think that, they’re not going to read you.
Frankly, none of this shocks me. When I interviewed him at the Republican National Convention in 2008, Brooks said he was never as conservative as the folks at the Weekly Standard - his previous employer - thought.
Quite the contrary, he told me he was far closer to the center than the right of the political spectrum. As such, when he strives to be moderate in his writing and appeal to the current audience, that's likely what he's been doing for years.
However, his claim concerning Times readers being more liberal than the writers there might be true for him, but across the aggregate of all the contributors and the editorial staff, the views of patrons and employees are likely far closer than Brooks intimated.
His reluctance to say so is probably borne of his desire to get along with his co-workers.
After all, the worst thing you can call a liberal media member is a liberal.