Goldberg to Times: Review Me! Don’t Review Me!

Right-wing ruckmaker Bernard Goldberg has a new enemies list, and the New York Times is on it. Publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. and columnist Paul Krugman are Nos. 2 and 8 respectively in Goldberg’s just-released volume 100 People Who Are Screwing Up America (And Al Franken Is #37). Times Book Review editor Sam Tanenhaus isn’t in the book, but he might as well be. “I guarantee you,” Goldberg told the conservative Captain’s Quarters blog last week. “I guarantee you. Guarantee. Remember you’re never supposed to say ‘never’? I am telling you, [the Times] will never, ever, ever, never review this book.”

“Maybe he doesn’t think his book is very good,” Tanenhaus said by phone. “We’ve reviewed plenty of books that have been critical of the Times.” The editor cited Seth Mnookin’s Hard News: The Scandals at The New York Times and Their Meaning For American Media as a recent example–though Mnookin’s account of staffers valiantly ferreting out Jayson Blair’s malfeasance was hardly ego-bruising Times criticism.

Tanenhaus also said since Goldberg’s book had yet to arrive at the Times, he hadn’t seen a copy and couldn’t say if a review would be commissioned. Goldberg’s publicist called and said a book had indeed been sent to West 43rd Street.

And Goldberg said more was at work than the logistics of promotional mailing. “There’s an ideology at the Times,” Goldberg said. “They live in a cocoon; a bubble. Inside the bubble there’s a certain accepted point of view….The point I was making is it’s not that they won’t review my book because there’s a conspiracy going on. My point was, there’s no way they would review a book where their guy is top five on the list.”

Goldberg’s last book, Arrogance, didn’t get reviewed in the Times. But in December 2001, Janet Maslin called his previous book, Bias, “a book larded with specific examples to support his point of view,” adding “even among those who reject that premise, or some of the ad hominem bitterness on display here, Bias should be taken seriously.”

“I got a fair shake with Bias,” Mr. Goldberg said. “But Arrogance went far deeper. Arrogance had an entire chapter on the Times. I’m not suggesting things I don’t know anything about. They didn’t review that.” With his new title, he said, “I’d rather have no review than an unfair review.”

–Gabriel Sherman