May 11, 2006

A.M. Rosenthal dead at 84

Rosenthal, who rose through the ranks at the New York Times from reporter to executive editor, was forced out by publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr for his increasingly conservative columns.
As Rosenthal's experience in news-papering lengthened, we have the sense that some of his own views began to change. This became ever more apparent once Rosenthal retired from the executive editorship and took up a pen again for his column, "On My Mind." We don't speak of Vietnam but other issues. His emergence as an emotional and loving supporter of Israel was a beacon for many readers of the time, as was his outspoken voice against the persecution of Christians by communist and other dictatorships overseas.

It would be inaccurate to say that A.M. Rosenthal emerged as a bona fide neo-conservative, but the affection between him and the conservatives, both of the neo- and non-neo variety was warm and genuine and ran in both directions, as we saw one snowy day in December of 2003 when Rosenthal danced a little dance with his cane after being introduced by William F. Buckley Jr. and being presented with the "Mightier Pen" award from the Center for Security Policy.

This had only deepened when he was cast out from the newspaper to which he had given his life. It seemed to us a sign of the paper's having started a decline, a view that may have been hinted at, albeit obliquely, in a comment to the New York Sun's Pranay Gupte yesterday from the chairman emeritus of the New York Times, Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, who said of Rosenthal, "He was a great editor, a great human being, and one of my closest friends. It was the golden age of journalism when Abe was at the Times."

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