Tuesday, November 20, 2007

And they wonder why nobody reads them

Newsday's op-ed section sucks, and a look at their regular op-ed columnists shows why. Mondays, there's faux libertarian Raymond J. Keating. Tuesdays and Thursdays, there's wingnut welfare recipient James Pinkerton, spouting all kinds of tired talking points and wrongheaded silliness. What kind of silliness, you ask? Well, Pinkerton's gone all New Agey on his readership and tried channeling Carl Von Clausewitz, with predictably hilarious results.

Ironically, my biggest single point about war was actually a point about peace: winning the peace. As I wrote, "war is a continuation of politics by other means." That is, if Country A can't get Country B to do what it wants through diplomacy, well, then, Country A might have to attack. War may or may not be just or glorious; that's not my concern. I am practical-minded, albeit maybe a little cold-blooded.

Unfortunately, Bush has not pursued this policy of "war is a continuation of politics by other means." But this fact has not occurred to Clausevinkerton, or whatever this new composite entity calls himself. The result is one of the loopiest op-ed columns since Charles Krauthammer imagined himself talking to Martians. What's next--using astrological charts to predict 2008's elections?

But seriously, people. Newsday is proof positive of why print newspapers are floundering these days. Despite its blue-state readership and the editorial board's generally liberal stance, it has no regular liberal op-ed columnists. And somehow, whoever's in charge doesn't "get" that two right-wingers three days a week is not balance. Nor do they "get" that pandering to the now-discredited right wing won't satisfy the few remaining Kool-Aid guzzlers.

Take this predictable letter to the editor.

The editorial board of Newsday has the audacity to criticize the treatment our returning soldiers receive ["Help them once they're home," Editorial, Nov. 11]. Even the language in the headline implies that our troops need not be supported while they are "over there."

For the past four years, the liberal press, led locally by Newsday, has done everything possible to encourage our enemies in this conflict by undermining our war effort, thus prolonging the hostilities and increasing the number of U.S. casualties, dead and wounded.

Of course, our troops should receive the best care possible, and the debacle at Walter Reed Hospital is inexcusable. However, on this issue the Newsday editors should take a good, hard look in the mirror.

Gregory Florentino
Bay Shore

A few weeks ago, I wrote about Li'l Ricky Santorum's new editorial column. David Sirota was predictably flabbergasted that this in-the-flesh joke even got the gig, given the number of smart, insightful writers that people might actually want to read and discuss. As Temple Stark noted in the comments, "There is a difference between creating controversy from intelligent discourse and hiring a complete fucking whining loser of a wannabe human. People just won't read him."

In other news, Bush has pardoned two turkeys. Strangely, neither is named Scooter Libby.