There's a profile of the late Andrew Breitbart in the New York Times "Sunday Styles" section by reporter David Carr. Carr's a talented and fair journalist, by Times standards, and the piece is mostly fair enough. But in the middle of it is this striking sentence, or rather this striking parenthesis:
"For good or ill (and most would say ill), no one did it like Mr. Breitbart."
"Most would say ill?" Really? I know of no empirical evidence that backs up this statement. If anything, my experience has been the opposite—almost all conservatives would say Andrew was a force for good, and even some liberals would deny he was a force for ill. I think Carr is intelligent enough to know this, and that he wouldn't have written it. I suspect this parenthesis was added by Times editors who couldn't stand the notion that innocent people might read Carr's piece and decide that Andrew's achievements were, on the whole, admirable.
If I'm wrong, David Carr is free to step forward to take responsibility for this parenthesis—and to defend it. If I'm right, we have here a striking example of the Times's irresponsibility and mean-spiritedness.