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William Safire

  1. obits
    William Safire, Columnist and Speechwriter, Has DiedPulitzer Prize winner succumbs to cancer at 77.
  2. company town
    William Kristol Has the Gray Lady’s Knickers in a TwistMEDIA • Both Times public editor Clark Hoyt and former Times conservative standby William Safire have panned Arthur “Pinch” Sulzberger’s decision to foist William Kristol on the editorial page. Among the other conservatives considered and passed over: Charles Krauthammer, Ross Douthat, Max Boot, and a bunch of other Weekly Standard stalwarts. But at least Judith Miller approves: “[I]t’s an appointment that’s a long time coming. The page needed balance.… [But] an unabashed neocon without remorse is unacceptable to Times people.… He’s not kosher in that sense.” [New Republic] • New York Observer president Robert Sommer nailed his MSNBC interview: “We like to view our readers as some of the smartest, most insensitive — most… Some of the most brightest readers in the country and especially New York.” [NYO] • David Blum goes through his fifth sex columnist in little more than a year, firing his latest hire at the New York Press after she stole questions from Dan Savage. Some might call that slutty! [NYO]
  3. in other news
    William Safire to Monitor Murdoch’s Grammar?The biggest sticking point in the Bancroft-Murdoch dialogue about the fate of Dow Jones is seeming to be the Wall Street Journal’s storied editorial independence. The Bancrofts want Murdoch’s cash, but they don’t want him mucking with their newsroom. The solution? To create an outside board with the power to hire and fire top editors. This leads to intriguing idle amusement for the rest of us: Who will sit on the WSJ board? Today’s Times gamely speculates. An ideal candidate would be a big-name journalist at the sunset of his or her career with no Dow Jones ties. Ben Bradlee, Joe Lelyveld, and even William Safire are suggested. For its own part, the Journal’s editorial page got into the act yesterday, with a unique screed touting its own integrity: “Our owners have allowed us to speak our mind.” Which is particularly easy in cases like this, no doubt, in which they all agree. Independence Still the Issue at Dow Jones [NYT] Earlier: Rupert Murdoch, Constructivist?
  4. in other news
    The Ill-Advised Career-Move RoundupWherein we bring you the bad choices made by everyone more famous than you. CRITICISM: Were we a highfalutin movie critic for a highfalutin newspaper, we would make it a point to watch the Oscars. At the very least, we don’t think we’d let another writer at our very own newspaper divulge the fact that we often abstain. Then again, we’re not A.O. Scott. PUNDRITY: Were we the language columnist for the Times Magazine, we don’t know that we would be quite so enamored of the term “Phrasedick,” or that we’d combine it with a reference to our bulging e-mail box. (And we certainly wouldn’t do it on Scrotum Day.) But, then, we’re not William Safire. POP STARITRY: Were we a famous blonde pop star, and were we trying to rebuild our reputation after a series of romantic missteps, we would probably not choose our comeback moment to shave our signature tresses. (We would especially avoid this move if we’d recently been displaying body parts that could lead to carpet-and-drapes questions.) But we’re not Britney Spears. MODELRY: Had we become the butt of transatlantic jokes for photographs showing us happily snorting cocaine, and had we inexplicably and immediately clawed our way back to success, we would not have chosen to crown our accomplishment with things involving sniffing — like, say, a signature scent. But we’re no Kate Moss.