For an easy op-ed column, write this!


Gail Collins is disappointed: Like her troubled colleague, Frank Bruni, Gail Collins is upset about the sexy-time candidates, Weiner and Spitzer.

For an easy op-ed column this week, you just type scripted piddle like this:
COLLINS (7/11/13): Time after time, we hear a scandal-tarred politician vow to go away and make amends. Time after time, we envision a stint as a missionary or a hospital volunteer. Time after time, we are disappointed.

Consider the example of former Congressman Steve Driehaus of Cincinnati, a person who, I should point out immediately, did not do anything wrong whatsoever except lose a race for re-election in 2010. He then packed up his family and went off to join the Peace Corps in Swaziland. “He’s working with folks with H.I.V./AIDS. He loves it,” reported his sister, Denise.

In this week’s TV tour, Spitzer failed to address the question of why he was not in Swaziland. He said on “Morning Joe” that during his five years in exile, “I’ve tried to do things that matter in a small, quiet way.” This seemed like a strange way to describe multiple stints hosting political talk shows.
What Bruni Said! Like Bruni, Collins feels that Spitzer hasn’t made sufficient amends.

She finds herself disappointed by this troubling conduct.

We couldn’t help wondering when Collins plans to start making amends. In our view, she engaged in a trifecta of shame through the years, starting in October 1999.

We won’t even count her years of clowning about Mitt Romney’s dog. But turning to the most recent example, when does Collins plan to make amends for the conduct she put on display with her book about Texas last year?

For earlier posts about Collins' book, click here, then continue to click.

Has any “journalist” ever been so misinformed about a major topic on which she pretended to write a book? Collins was clownishly uninformed about the public school issues to which she devoted so much attention. Soon, she was on her book tour, where she created a raft of absurdly false impressions.

Has any “journalist” ever known less about such a topic? Ever created more misunderstanding? When does she start to make amends? For that matter, when does she even plan to offer corrections?

This morning, Nicholas Kristof is writing from Mali on that same Times op-ed page. No, it isn't Swaziland! But he is discussing public health practices which could save hundreds of thousands of lives every year.

Meanwhile, in a paint-by-the-numbers column, Collins is diddling herself again. When will this most fatuous journalist attempt to make her amends?


  1. The hope is that happily with the Guardian just about catching the NYTimes on the Internet, the Times will find a need to compete with more decent journalism and commentary again.

    The only Times op-ed columnist who is readable is Paul Krugman. Sorry, but Kristof is not readable.

    The Guardian though provides competition for the Times finally and I could not be happier.

  2. Who besides Collins envisions a scandal tarred politician
    doing a stint as a missionary or hospital volunteer? And not once, mind you, but "time and time again."

    Perhaps Switzer did not answer the question of why he was not in Swaziland because nobody besides a crackpot would ask it.

  3. TDH could have covered former spy (and TDH fave) Walter Pincus' recent article on Snowden.

    and maybe Greenwald's energetic response.

    But the powers that be at TDH decided we needed another useless rant about Collins. Who's writing easy columns?

    1. I'd say Greenwald's "energetic" response was as much of a rant as this post.

    2. Again you miss the point. TDH doesn't focus on news it focuses on media. The debate in the Guardian is not problematic but Collins is because The New York Times is our paper of record and is supposed to be doing better because of its prominence in our social discourse.

    3. I believe Mr. Pincus and Ms. Collins are in the same profession, and the Washington Post is a close to the NYT in prominence as any other paper in this land o' lore.

      Perhaps Mr. Somerby felt no need to discuss it not out of love for Pincus because, as is always the case with anything written about Greenwald, whether by prominent columnist or lowly blog commenter, Mr. Greenwald himself will respond at length with vigor.

    4. Glenn Greenwald is an example of the finest of fine journalists and columnists. Greenwald has set a standard for journalism of these coming years or decades and TDH should be writing about Greenwald and the Guardian.

      I could not admire Greenwald more, and have come to deeply appreciate the Guardian.

    5. Nobody could have written that comment with any more sincerity than Glenn Greenwald himself.

      I am not, of course, accusing you of sock puppetry. He would have managed to cram his name in the three sentences at least once more.

    6. Anon 121,

      I don't think I missed the point. Collins writes a column, Pincus writes a column. One is breezy, light and unsurprising, one is speculating about one of the biggest issues of the day. Collins' column will generate no discussion outside of TDH, Pincus' will will be debated around the world in many forums.

      TDH decided to stick with the flyweight media material. Sadly, we're probably better off that way.

  4. I always appreciate TDH, but still what Glenn Greenwald and the Guardian have accomplished is startlingly fine and should be written about.