Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The Power of op-ed

This is partly why op-ed writers are much better known to the public.

In the article linked above - which discusses the President’s blatant mistruth on the future of now former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld - Richard Cohen ends by writing:

This is not a matter of vengeance or, God forfend, politics, but of restoring the people's faith in their government. How dare these people lie to you and me and send Americans to die in Iraq for reasons that turned out to be wholly nonexistent? One way to return to the truth is to find the liars. I ask this not for myself but -- and I mean it -- for the troops.

For someone to try and belittle this statement and Cohen’s op-ed in whole, it would take a very sycophantic mindset in favor of President Bush. I say sycophantic because even the President’s excuses – as Cohen illustrates – don’t provide adequate reasoning. In terms of the lie about Rumsfeld, I think it would have been much better if he simply stuck to the reasoning of: I lied about Rumsfeld’s future to ensure that any change in his position would not be seen as a political/campaign ploy. But the president instead lied about the lie.

And the only “reporting” I’ve seen on this is from op-ed columnists. The president spoke a blatant mistruth about the now former Secretary of Defense who has been a key facilitator to the Iraq War, how is that not news?

One reporter I like to make note of is Charlie Savage, whose reports don’t towards opinion very often, is a reporter of note who doesn’t let everything go. As Dan Froomkin (see: “Signing Statement Watch”) many times has mentioned in the past, Savage is one of the few reporters who has continuously followed up on our president’s use of signing statements. He’s not an op-ed writer, yet in terms of the president’s use of signing statements, Savage has been quite thorough in his reporting.

There is one caveat in promoting op-ed writing, and that caveat is to admit the obvious fact that many of these writers are not objective, per se (although much of that is in the eye of the beholder), and as I had realized that, I was forced to understand that it was important to read op-eds from other writers with whom I did/do not agree.

Also, as you'll note from Greg Mankiw specifically, he most often has no problem picking out other economists or politicians with whom he does not agree, and discussing the relevant topic. That is truly part of what makes an author relevant and fun to read.
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