This has to be the least surprising article of the day. After all, the New York Times was home to Walter Duranty, the reporter who won a Pulitzer whitewashing Stalin’s genocide. The New York Times also employed Harrison Salisbury, the reporter who accused the US of targeting women and children in North Vietnam. His reporting made LBJ gun shy, prolonged the war and contributed to the Communist victory there. In the current war, the New York Times has repeatedly disclosed top secret information that only helps the terrorists escape detection. So now we find out that one of its old hands was an old Communist. How…unsurprising.
The article is an interview with Andrew Rosenthal, editor of the NYT’s editorial page. His father, Abe Rosenthal, wrote for the NYT for decades. I don’t want to make too much of this, since Abe could have renounced Communism at some point (though the article doesn’t say if or when he did), but it’s just not shocking that the Times had at least a former Commie on its staff.
Do you want to talk about your father’s unlikely party affiliation?
That was quite a revelation. My father was a member of the Communist Youth Party, or whatever it was called at the time.
This was a letter that you found from your aunt?
It was a letter from my aunt Ruth, who I never met, to her husband, George Watt, who was fighting in the Spanish Civil War in the Abraham Lincoln brigade. And they corresponded. She wrote one day that she had gone down to youth headquarters. Because it was “Sonny’s” first day as a party member.
And we’re sure Sonny was Abe?
There is no other Sonny. That was him.
There is one surprising part in that: That a NYT writer’s affiliation with Communism would be seen as “unlikely.”