Thomas Friedman is a New York Times columnist whose commentary is distinguished by the frequency with which it bears no resemblance to any kind of external reality.
There's the infamous Friedman Unit, or the F.U., a phrase coined to make light of Friedman's bi-annual contention that "the next six months is critical" to the American war effort in Iraq. And there's his insistence that a policy of placing stiff tariffs on fossil fuels and improving the quality of high-end train service between New York City and Washington, DC enjoys overwhelming support in the nation's heartland but is being squashed by the power of Democratic special interests, when in fact, the opposite is true.
So it was a shocking to see Friedman put himself on Jeopardy!, where unlike the op-ed pages of the Times, being wrong has a price…
By the end of the show, he had amassed a pitiful $1,000 placing him third behind CNN's Anderson Cooper and NBC’s Kelly O’Donnell…
With the category "21st Century Lingo," the answer was, "In 2011, BusinessWeek said European government bonds were this 'poisonous' kind of debt."
Friedman responded, "Sub-prime." I guess he missed the clue in quotation marks "poisonous."
The correct response of course was "toxic."
If only there was a call-a-friend option on Jeopardy!, Friedman could call up the cab drivers and seatmates on international flights who populate his columns and get the answers he needed. As it is, we're left to wonder if a game show humiliation will make Friedman a more careful political analyst.
The next six months will be critical.
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Tags: Anderson Cooper, New York Times, Thomas Friedman