New York Times columnist David Brooks expressed public disagreement with his editorial-page bosses on Friday night's All Things Considered on NPR. He didn't directly mock their choice to publish an anonymous "senior administration official" bragging about how an internal "resistance" keeps President Trump in check from his worst impulses. He just mocked the official for committing a "stupid act" that will make Trump "much more erratic."
AUDIE CORNISH: David Brooks, I'm going to start with you because this - you share space on the op-ed page (laughter) with this...
DAVID BROOKS: With Anonymous.
CORNISH: ...With Anonymous. Was this a heroic act or a cowardly one?
BROOKS: I wish some of my columns were anonymous. It would be good. It was a stupid act. (Laughter). You know, if you're going to be protecting the president from himself, don't tell him. And so, you know, it's going to make him be much more erratic and much more willful in the face of White House aides.
He wasn't as direct on the PBS NewsHour (so let's guess he traveled to the Arlington studio second, after NPR):
JUDY WOODRUFF: What do we take away from all this?
DAVID BROOKS: That we’re in a state of permanent crisis, that we have got an agent of incompetence and instability in the Oval Office, and the people around him are trying to do what they can. I wish they wouldn’t write about it...
And the argument is, he’s too ignorant and incompetent to do much damage. And I really don’t know which track we’re on, whether it is a trajectory towards disaster or just this continued depressing erosion of standards.
The surprise, perhaps, on PBS was both Brooks and liberal analyst Mark Shields approving of Brett Kavanaugh. Shields said "I thought, Judy, that he showed himself to be more than qualified by experience, temperament and brainpower." He found Kavanaugh less forthcoming than Neil Gorsuch, but added "I think he’s absolutely confirmable. I didn’t think that there was a glove laid on him."
But over on NPR, Washington Post columnist E. J. Dionne hit the party line harder: "What we saw is how furious progressives are over what's happening on the court -- first the blocking of Merrick Garland, which no one has forgotten, and now this effort to push through Kavanaugh before the elections, holding back tens of thousands of documents. And there was an explosion of frustration."
Dionne and NPR made no mention in this segment of weird gaffes by senators Cory Booker and Kamala Harris, both eyeballing a presidential campaign. Dionne just said they couldn't compare with Obama yet: "Barack Obama is still the spokesman for the Democratic Party because no obvious other spokesperson has emerged yet. You saw in the Kavanaugh hearings, which we're going to hear about, some new voices. Cory Booker, Kamala Harris were very prominent. But no one dominates the scene like Barack Obama."