Monday, October 19, 2009

Michael Calderone asks a good question

And gets an interesting non-answer from the new management of my former employer:
Brett Decker, the managing editor of the [Washington Times] editorial and opinion pages, has been fulfilling [editorial page editor Richard] Miniter's duties the past few months, said staffers.
When reached for comment, Decker did not discuss Miniter, but commented more broadly about the opinion pages in a statement to POLITICO:
"The Washington Times has been putting a new Opinion team in place incrementally this year," Decker wrote. "We're plugging different people into different slots to see what works best. That process is still ongoing as we fine-tune our lineup."
Miniter was at the The American Spectator's Pig Roast three weeks ago, enjoying some fine Virginia whiskey and a Dominican cigar, but the one thing we did not discuss was his job at the Times. Richard reportedly had a heart attack shortly after he took that job, and I don't envy him. I've often remarked that if I ever told the story of my 10 years at the paper, the title of the book would be I've Served My Time in Hell.

The Washington Times is arguably one of the world's most important newspapers, and during Wes Pruden's tenure as editor-in-chief, there were times when there wasn't really much argument about it. The job of the Times, as Mr. Pruden conceived it, was to cover the stories that the liberal media tried to ignore -- and to cover those stories with such accuracy and relentlessness that the liberal media was forced to pay attention.

To work for Wes Pruden was not always an easy job, but it was a job to be proud of -- kind of like playing football for Bear Bryant. Even if you cussed the Old Man sometimes, when all was said and done, there was a genuine pride in being part of his team.

Since they changed editors in January 2008, the Times has gone through what 'Bama fans might call their "Ray Perkins Era" and, if you believe some of the gossip, it's sometimes gotten perilously close to the Bill Curry brick-through-the-window stage. But I never burn my sources, so I'll invoke my Miranda rights here.

Brett Decker's got a very impressive resume -- he once worked for Bob Novak, that "Unpatriotic Conservative" == so I reckon he knows his stuff. With no effort at all, I could name a dozen people who'd be qualified to run that editorial page (hello, Jed Babbin), and another three dozen who think they'd be qualified (hello, Tucker Carlson).

It's a coveted and prestigious job, and plenty of people would crawl half a mile through broken glass to get it (which may explain whatever problems Richard Miniter has experienced in the job). So we'll see what happens "incrementally."

Perhaps Decker will consult Mr. Pruden, who's still a regular columnist with the title of editor emeritus. Maybe the managing editor of Human Events could offer some useful personnel advice. Or ask Scott Rasmussen who he'd recommend for the job. Just sayin' . . .

(Via Memeorandum.)

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