David Brooks Held Hostage, Day 10 -- Refuses to Come Clean on Palin

More than eight days (update: now ten, since I wrote this) have now passed since New York Times columnist David Brooks admitted at a Manhattan forum, captured on video by Huff Post's Rachel Sklar, that Sarah Palin was not qualified for higher office -- "not even close" -- and is a "cancer" on his favorite party, the GOP. Yet he has still not shared this view with readers of the Times (let alone suggested that this is a fatal blemish on his view of John McCain).

He has written two columns since then -- the latest today -- which failed to reveal/confirm his "not even close" opinion of Palin. Today's column didn't mention her at all. Last Friday he wrote nothing more negative than: "Palin is smart, politically skilled, courageous and likable. Her convention and debate performances were impressive. But no American politician plays the class-warfare card as constantly as Palin."

After the "Sklar video" broke, I wrote about this here, labeling Brooks, at the minimum, "frighteningly dishonest." Some of his friends in the media have tried to deflect attention from his "not even close" statement by focusing on the far less significant "cancer" aspect and the fact that he has criticized Palin to some extent in print (while also, for example, declaring that she "established debating parity with Joe Biden). Brooks has also mocked what he called the "smug condescension that has so marked the reaction to the Palin nomination in the first place."

Who needs Mark Shields? Maybe Brooks should debate himself on PBS.

Yet many of Brooks colleagues on the right have had no trouble frankly labeling Palin unqualified. The list includes everyone from David Frum to Christopher Buckley. Some have cited this in stating they can no longer support McCain.

Just today, Matthew Dowd, the key Bush strategist in 2004, jumped on the anti-Palin bandwagon, stating flatly that she is not at all qualified for higher office, and suggested that McCain, no doubt, will regret the Palin pick after the results in November arrive.

Myself, I am tempted to label the Brooks-Palin team "Brooks and Dumb." Or is that Brooks and Kristol?
Greg Mitchell is editor of Editor & Publisher. His ninth book on Iraq and the media is "So Wrong for So Long." For continual updates on the media and the campaign, go the E&P blog. http://www.eandppub.com/