The New York Times Beltway team is world-class terrible, but there might be an easy fix: put Times book reviewer Jennifer Szalai in charge. She politely makes mincemeat of Jonathan Karl’s “view from nowhere” sensibilities in a review of the former ABC newsman’s latest Trump book, “Betrayal: The Final Act of the Trump Show.” A few choice excerpts:
“I was taken aback by how fondly Trump remembers a day [January 6] I will always remember as one of the darkest I have ever witnessed,” [Karl] writes, adding that Trump seemed to justify the death threats made against his own vice president. “It boggled my mind,” Karl says.
It did? The author’s expressions of surprise are so frequent and over-the-top that they are perhaps the most surprising parts of this book. “Betrayal” is less insightful about the Trump White House and more revealing of Karl’s own gradual, extremely belated awareness that something in the White House might in fact be awry.
The Trump era blew a hole through all kinds of institutional norms and presuppositions, revealing vulnerabilities and blind spots. It probably speaks to Karl’s decency as a person that he didn’t want to contemplate anything so terrible, but for all the high-minded talk in his books about the journalistic pursuit of accuracy, he gives little indication that he had the imagination to handle the truth.
Yep. A failure of the imagination is maybe the kindest interpretation of how our elite media spun so catastrophically off course. At least someone at The Times gets it.