Everyone Is Mad at Bret Stephens, So He Must Not Be Doing the Right Thing

There is a tendency among certain high-minded journalists to believe that when all sides take issue with their work, they must be doing something right. If no one is satisfied, the reasoning goes, then the piece must be onto something. But it often seems as if this logic is employed as a kind of deflection to avoid reckoning, in any meaningful way, with criticism.

Daniel Okrent, the first public editor of the New York Times, addressed this idea in a 2004 column in which he quoted a very wise dictum he had picked up from the paper’s Jerusalem bureau chief at the time, James Bennet: “Just because everyone is mad at you doesn’t necessarily mean you’re doing the right
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