NY Times Critic: 'Certain Radio and Television Hosts' Fueling 'Terrorism?'

Times critic Deborah Solomon quizzes DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano: "But do you think certain radio and television hosts are feeding intolerance and even terrorism?"

New York Times Magazine critic Deborah Solomon conducted an all-over-the-map interview on Wednesday with Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, alternating between conservative "terrorism," lesbianism and Girl Scout cookies. At one point she wondered, "But do you think certain radio and television hosts are feeding intolerance and even terrorism?"

Solomon's "Questions For" article, which will appear in the August 16 print edition of the Times, also included an attack on Glenn Beck of Fox News. After repeating the host's contention that President Obama "has a deep-seated hatred for white people," the journalist derided, "Do you think a statement like that incites hate crimes?"

Solomonshifted between talking about right-wingextremism and an embarrassingly goofy exchange on Napolitano's cookie preference.

You were a Girl Scout?

I still am!

I was, too.

What's your favorite flavor of cookies?

I like the plain shortbread.

Ah, butter-flavored shorties. Yeah! You can get me either with the thin mint or the peanut butters.

The Times journalist included no less than three questions about the dating habits of the DHS secretary. She began, "Men don't know what to make of women who choose to be single. Rumors of lesbianism have dogged women in politics like you, Condoleezza Rice and Ann Richards." Not letting the subject drop, Solomon continued, "In 2002, during your gubernatorial campaign, you publicly denied rumors that you were a lesbian." After Napolitano asserted that she simply wasn'tmarried, the reporter queried, "Are you seeing anybody now?"

Solomon did ask a few tough questions, but one of them catered to left-wingconcerns about fear-mongering: "As you prepare to face your first 9/11 anniversary as the secretary of homeland security, what do you make of the color-coded terror alert system, which has been criticized for unnecessarily stoking fear?"