Ross Douthat's New Perch

More

It's one step back for the Atlantic, but an order of magnitude forward for the country: my colleagues and I learned today that senior editor Ross Douthat will, in short order, become an opinion columnist for the New York Times.

Ross is a late-twenties-year-old public intellectual with the sensibility of a 60-year eminence grise, the range of a Hitchens, the pitch of a conservative AJP Taylor, the conscience of a Neibuhr and the intellectual honesty of his frequent sparring partner, Andrew Sullivan.

It's heretic for a new media pioneer to say this, I guess, but The New York Times remains the most influential journalistic force in the modern world, and its opinion columnists consistently shape policy, government and public opinion. True, the Gray Lady doesn't seem to get orthodox conservatives very well, and in randier precincts of the Right, the suspicion that the op-ed editors recruit reverse-Alan Colmeses to counter their lefty-Sean Hannities is pervasive.  I personally  don't think this is the case; not being able to predict where David Brooks is going to come down on an issue is the reason why I like to read him. Bill Kristol was just a mistake, but boy, talk about the rebound: I think Ross is the sharpest, most innovative heterodox thinker of his generation, left or right.

The Atlantic has been a fabulous perch for Ross, but the Times offers a vantage point that is irresistible. Ross's motive force, whether it be as an editor, as a friend, as a bouncing board for ideas, as a writer, is irrepressible. As the chairman of the Atlantic would say, Ross is in his vertical hour. And now, one of the greatest minds in the country has one of the world's best megaphones.

How great is that?

By the way: it's pronounced dow-that -- with a soft "th." 

Jump to comments
Presented by

Marc Ambinder is an Atlantic contributing editor. He is also a senior contributor at Defense One, a contributing editor at GQ, and a regular contributor at The Week.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

CrossFit Versus Yoga: Choose a Side

How a workout becomes a social identity


Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

CrossFit Versus Yoga: Choose a Side

How a workout becomes a social identity

Video

Is Technology Making Us Better Storytellers?

The minds behind House of Cards and The Moth weigh in.

Video

A Short Film That Skewers Hollywood

A studio executive concocts an animated blockbuster. Who cares about the story?

Video

In Online Dating, Everyone's a Little Bit Racist

The co-founder of OKCupid shares findings from his analysis of millions of users' data.

Video

What Is a Sandwich?

We're overthinking sandwiches, so you don't have to.

Video

Let's Talk About Not Smoking

Why does smoking maintain its allure? James Hamblin seeks the wisdom of a cool person.

Writers

Up
Down

More in Politics

Just In