Post Book World Editor Rachel Shea said she was unaware that Frum had written last year’s critical Newsweek piece, which was headlined: “Why Rush is Wrong.” But she said she was aware of debate Frum had stirred over how the GOP could best position itself with voters. And she said The Post chose Frum precisely because “it’s no surprise where he was coming from.”
“There was no way we could find someone who didn’t have an opinion” about Limbaugh, she said. “In the absence of finding someone who is completely dispassionate, we decided to go with somebody who people know.”
But should Frum’s review [of An Army of One] have noted his past pointed criticism of Limbaugh, for those readers who were unaware? “I suppose we should have,” Shea said.
I agree. Limbaugh is a fascinating figure to many readers, regardless of their ideological orientation. Not everyone is aware of the feuds within the conservative movement. In this case, transparency is important for those coming to the review without prior knowledge of the Frum-Limbaugh clash.
UPDATE — Ed Morrissey observes:
One particular point onto which Frum latched has become widespread, the claim that Limbaugh considers himself the “intellectual engine of the conservative movement”.
But I think that fundamentally misunderstands what Chafets wrote and what Limbaugh claims. In my interview with Chafets, I asked him about this passage, having read Frum’s review beforehand. Neither Chafets nor Rush claim that he is a replacement for philosophers like Burke or Buckley, or more intellectual than think tanks like Heritage, which dissect policy.
It’s more in the model of the relationship that the New York Times and Washington Post have (or perhaps more accurately had) with the national and regional media in terms of setting the parameters of the debate. Whatever those two papers reported became the issues of the day; they drove the political debate and became the intellectual engine of current affairs.
No one can doubt that Rush’s show guides the conservative debate on a daily basis; what he discusses drives the focus of conservative and center-right to a large degree.
The point Chafets, Rush and now Morrissey “get” is also obvious to me, but not, for some reason, David Frum — who stll makes way more money etc than I do as some kind of “conservative political consultant” or whatever he is supposed to be.