August 18, 2005


The Interpreter: The Rise of Fareed Zakaria: Muslim, Heartthrob, Super-Pundit (Joy Press, August 16th, 2005, Village Voice)

Zakaria is good at straddling worlds. Asked how a neocon who edited the journal Foreign Affairs ended up as a favorite of the Daily Show crowd, he protests that he is no longer a diehard Reaganite but a firm centrist. "And anyway, in America the entire spectrum has shifted to the right. I still like the same kinds of people I always did—conservative Democrats, moderate Republicans, call them what you will. But we're an increasingly embattled phenomenon in a country with a president talking about intelligent design." Jon Stewart's viewers probably don't have an inkling of Zakaria's political background, since they rarely chat about economic or domestic affairs. Mostly Zakaria is applauded for his willingness to call out our government's missteps in Iraq. (He initially supported the invasion but within a few weeks began lambasting the Bush administration in Newsweek pieces with titles like "The Arrogant Empire.") "I feel that's part of my job," he says, slightly defensively, "which is not to pick sides but to explain what I think is happening on the ground. I can't say, 'This is my team and I'm going to root for them no matter what they do.' "

He's neo enough to not be theo and smart enough to know that real media power lies in selling out the Right, or "growing," as they call it inside the Beltway.

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 18, 2005 12:00 AM

He is a Tom Friedman wannabe, and is incoherent most of the time. If he wants to be a lefty, just do it. And his ethnicity no longer buys him credibility, because there are smarter people than him writing about the Arab and Third Worlds (like Faoud Ajami).

But he might be the best Newsweek can get.

Posted by: jim hamlen at August 18, 2005 10:53 AM


Then he is Tom Friedman.

Posted by: oj at August 18, 2005 11:06 AM

A Reaganite, who was calling the administration a 'junta' because it had a couple of lt. cols on
the National Security Staff?

Posted by: narciso at August 18, 2005 11:38 AM