Fareed Zakaria: 'Centrist Voice' and 'Spokesman for a Post-American World'?

From the insular liberal media world, David Carr reported that the "centrist voice" of Newsweek's Fareed Zakaria was jumping to Time magazine - even as Zakaria feistily returned a prize to the Anti-Defamation League in support of the Ground Zero mosque effort.

The Times is remarkably insular when it covers its own friends and colleagues in the liberal media. Consider Newsweek editor Fareed Zakaria's defection to Time magazine. Media reporter David Carr earnestly presented Zakaria as a "centrist voice" in foreign policy - even as Carr noted he feistily returned old prize money to the Anti-Defamation League in an outraged protest at their anti-"freedom" opposition to the Ground Zero mosque.

Born into a Muslim family in Mumbai, India, Mr. Zakaria received a secular education and has been a centrist voice in a period of extensive debate over Western attitudes and policies toward the Muslim world. After the attacks of Sept. 11, Mr. Zakaria published an influential essay titled "Why They Hate Us."

This month, Mr. Zakaria returned a First Amendment award presented to him five years ago by the Anti-Defamation League, citing the group's opposition to a community center including a prayer room that is set to be built two blocks away from ground zero, the site of the World Trade Center attack.

But Fareed's not merely a "centrist," he's a world-class intellectual star and a "spokesman for a post-American world," as if that's a plus:

"Fareed is one of a small handful of global public intellectuals, and he has proven how important his thinking and writing is, over and over, especially since the attacks of Sept. 11," [Time editor Richard] Stengel said. "He is a kind of a spokesman for a post-American world, and we think he represents an important piece of the puzzle for us."

It must not be that much of a plus: Carr dropped that sentence out of the Times story that appeared on B-3 Thursday. Instead, we get another shot at liberal-media insularity:

Asked about when the recruiting began, Mr. Stengel said "I've never not talked to Fareed. We know each other, our kids go to school together, and this was a discussion that evolved over time."

Below that is an Elizabeth Jensen story on how a "former manager of mixed martial artists and distributor of instructional television programs" named Mykalai Kontilai was buying the PBS-distributed program "Nightly Business Report" from PBS station WPBT in Miami.

Rick Schneider, WPBT's president and chief executive, said the program was not for sale when Mr. Kontilai made the approach, but that the sale made sense for WPBT. "They are committed to what 'N.B.R.' does, and they have the ideas and resources and potential to take it to the next step," he said. "It is at a point where they as a company can do more things with it than we as a station could."

The program will continue to be produced at WPBT.

The price of the program was not disclosed, but Mr. Schneider said: "Is it a huge windfall and that's why we did it? No."

Mr. Kontilai, 40, declined to say how the acquiring entity, NBR World Wide, was paying for the program.

If we were to read that sentence cynically with a sensitivity to Clintonesque parsing, it's possible that Mr. Schneider wasn't denying a "huge windfall," only that it wasn't the reason for the sale.

Perhaps Jensen will be able to follow up on this purchase, which raises questions about transparency in the PBS world as to the murky divide between the fractions of "public-private partnership" on this. Are taxpayers funding stations at the same time they're making "huge windfalls," or would WPBT forego some federal funding?

Leftists are more likely to be upset at this shift toward "privatization" of a public-broadcasting staple, although they tend to be upset that PBS even has a show devoted to capitalists and "business."