Tuesday, September 28, 2021
Miles from the Mainstream
D. R. ZUKERMAN, proprietor

Note to LPR Visitors

May 5, 2021 --

On April 25, American Thinker publlshed criticism from this writer of the Op-Ed page at The New York Times. Two days later, the Tines informed readers that i would no longer use the term Op-Ed.  LPR sent a follow-up to AT,  As the follow-up was not printed at AT, LPR posts it here.

A Writer's Affirmation He Had No Advance Word The New York Times Was Retiring the Op-Ed Concept -- Which, Effectively, It had Retired Long Ago
 
Holy-moley.  Precisely two days after this writer's criticism of the Op-Ed page of The New York Times appeared at American Thinker,  this headline appeared over a statement in a box on the editorial page from Opinion editor Kathleen Kingsbury, April 27:

"Why We're Retiring the Term 'Op-Ed."

This writer hastens to assure the Times and AT that he was given no advance knowledge that the Gray Lady was about to end its charade of the Op-Ed page, given that it has strayed about 180 degrees from its assurance, the day the page first appeared, September 21, 1970, that it would serve diversity of opinion and be an intellectual forum.

Nor does this writer dare claim that the Op-Ed term was itself retired because  David Zukerman, writing in American Thinker, called attention to the fact, apparent to anyone of sentient capabilities, that The New York Times twisted the raison d'etre for the Op-Ed page out of all meaning to its original intent.

Alas, Opinion editorial Kingsbury, explaining (hah) the need for the change offers specious, not accurate, reason, it appears.  This writer did not expect her to have told readers that "given David Zukerman's American Thinker piece that we have reneged on our original commitment that the Op-Ed page would be an opportunity for diversity of opinion and an intellectual forum, we were forced to the conclusion that the cat is, indeed, out of the bag, and we could no longer, in good conscience, by retaining the Op-Ed term, pretend otherwise."  Perhaps, someone of conscience, at the Times,  realized, at some point during the Trump presidency, that the page no longer was hospitable to diverse political or cultural thought, and finally prevailed on...the family Sulzberger(?) to end the pretense that the Op-Ed page continued to practice traditional liberalism.

This writer suggests that the Sulzberger family made the decision to bury the term Op-Ed page because it was likely a product of the days when the Ochs branch of the ruling family still held some sway at the paper. Indeed, Ms. Kingsbury names a member of the Ochs branch in her fatuous explanation why the term Op-Ed is no longer relevant to the journalism as propaganda mindset at  The Times.

Five paragraphs into her comments, this appears: "[I]n the words of John B. Oakes, a longtime predecessor of mine who drove the creation of Op-Ed, 'Diversity of opinion is the lifeblood of democracy.... The minute we begin to insist that everyone think the same way we think, our democratic way of life is in danger.'"    Mr. Oakes served the paper, and the public, as editorial page editor for many years.
His surname, Oakes, is but a variation of the original Ochs, as in Adolf Ochs, progenitor of the Sulzberger branch that is now in charge.

The late John B. Oakes, this writer strongly believes, would be appalled at the depths to which his paper has sunk.   (This writer comments on the basis of one pleasant encounter with Mr, Oakes at a counter-big publishers convention in Washington, in 1973 or 1974, and on the fact that his letters to Mr. Oakes were, more often than not, answered.).  And it might just be that had the Ochs branch ruled The New York Times, it would not be the insult to free, open, and honest inquiry that it now represents,

Ms. Kingsbury declares of her deceptive quote from John B. Oakes, "That remains true...."  The test is simple enough.  When did the Times print its most recent defense of President Trump in a January 6 melee context, or, indeed, publish an Op-Ed piece explaining how the Bidenistas stole the 2020 election -- or even:  "Why 'Climate Change' is Anti-Science"?

In place of the Op-Ed page, Opinion editor Kingsbury points to "the new Guest Essay label," going on to suggest that this will help the paper be far more inclusive in explaining how and why we do our work." 

She next asserts that "institutions -- even ones with a lot of esteemed traditions-- better serve their audiences with direct, clear language."  Yet, the language of her epitaph for the Op-Ed page is opaque, disingenuous with the aim of obscurantism, not clarity of thought.  (She also strained to contend that the "digital world" makes the Op-Ed term outmoded.  What errant nonsense.)

In her penultimate sentence, Ms. Kingsbury implies that this is "a time when the scales of opinion journalism can seem increasingly titled against the free and the fair, the sober and honest."    First, what can she possibly mean by the oxymoron "opinion journalism?"  She concludes, "We work every day to correct the imbalance."

This writer would simply respond to that bald-faced claim with this question:  "Kathleen Kingsbury, would you state your ending assertion under penalty of perjury?"