Howard Kurtz on Sunday asked the editor of Time magazine why he doesn't have any conservative columnists.
"Rick [Stengel], you've just hired Fareed Zakaria, whose "GPS" program on CNN precedes mine," said Kurtz on CNN's "Reliable Sources.
"And you have, of course, Joe Klein, well-known liberal writer and columnist," continued Kurtz.
"Now, with all the hiring that you've done, how have you not managed to find a conservative columnist?"
Most humorously, after giving what he must have thought was a cute answer, Stengel quickly contradicted himself (video follows with transcript and commentary):
HOWARD KURTZ, HOST: Rick, you've just hired Fareed Zakaria, whose "GPS" program on CNN precedes mine. And you have, of course, Joe Klein, well-known liberal writer and columnist.
Now, with all the hiring that you've done, how have you not managed to find a conservative columnist?
RICHARD STENGEL, TIME EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: I would love to find one. So I'm talking -- if you're listening and you're a fantastic conservative columnist, and you want to write for "TIME," give me a call.
Cute answer, but pretty pathetic when you think about it.
After all, there are many conservative writers out there. If Stengel wanted to hire one, it wouldn't be too difficult.
Unfortunately, Kurtz gave him a pass on this and moved on:
KURTZ: And you know, you have Nancy Gibbs writing the back page column, but at times I look at "TIME" magazine and it seems like a bit of a boys club. You have a lot of prominent male writers.
Is that an area you need to work on as well?
Here comes the truly delicious contradiction:
STENGEL: Of course it's an area we need to work on. I mean, we do a lot of stories that actually are focused on a female audience and female readers. You know, I do think that just the way "TIME" in many ways is actually a snapshot, a mirror of America -- you know, we're red and blue, we're in the center of the country, we're on the coasts -- I mean, we should also mirror the way America is too in terms of diversity, gender, all of that.
How can a magazine be "red" without one conservative contributor?
Doesn't make much sense, does it?
Sadly, Kurtz gave him a pass on this as well.