David Brooks talks to Katie Couric about what it was like to be hired by The New York Times, only to find out that thousands of your readers hate your guts. Unlike most of us, Brooks didn't have to put up with having his feelings hurt for long.
July 4, 2014

From this Tuesday's Aspen Ideas Festival, New York Times columnist David Brooks explains to Katie Couric how's he's managed to isolate himself from having to hear from his critics. This explains a lot, doesn't it?

What it's like to be a conservative columnist at the New York Times:

David Brooks says he's 'hated on a mass scale' by readers — not that he's complaining

ASPEN, Colo. — New York Times columnist David Brooks gets a lot of hate mail. And he doesn't read the comments section.

"I used to read them, but it was just too psychologically damaging," Brooks said in an interview with Yahoo News' Katie Couric at the Aspen Ideas Festival on Tuesday. "So then I would ask my assistant to read them."

Brooks was shocked at the volume of "punishingly negative" comments when he joined the Times in 2003.

"It was the worst six months of my life," he said. "I had never been hated on a mass scale before."

The conservative columnist received more than 290,000 emails during his first six months at the left-leaning paper. "The core message was, 'Paul Krugman is great; you suck,'" Brooks recalled.

But on the street, Brooks rarely hears from haters. "I think in my whole life I've had two people come up and be nasty to me," Brooks said. "Once I was at the Museum of Modern Art and this astoundingly good-looking woman came up to me and said, 'I hate you.'"

Hot haters aside, there are plenty of reasons for the 52-year-old to stay at the Times: He has unprecedented freedom and job security. Times columnists, Brooks said, are treated like "hothouse flowers."

"I've never attended a meeting at the Times," he said. "We can write about anything. I've been at the Times for over a decade, I've never had a performance review. We can go anywhere we want. And we are just left alone."

Stubbornly, Brooks does not have a Twitter account. "I don't have a lot of ideas, so I'm not going to waste them on Twitter," he said. Read on...

Here's more from Wonkette: David Brooks Too Delicate To Read Internet Comments:

If you’re a top-flight columnist, you get some perks in addition to a flattering photo next to your byline, like interns and assistants and stuff, people who can take care of the boring details that might get in the way of your creative genius. Or if you’re David Brooks, they take care of the boring details that get in the way of writing whatever blandly conservative-tinged both-sides-need-to-be-reasonable twaddle you’re slopping together today. And thanks to an interview with Katie Couric on the Yahoo News, we learn today that Our Mister Brooks doesn’t read the online comments on his columns, because they’re just too painful: Read on...


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