I Know How to Fix the Washington Post!

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Everyone's a critic of The Washington Post opinion page. The latest armchair editor is Slate's Jack Shafer who wants more "outside the beltway" writers. He's not the only one full of tips on how to fix the newspaper's opinion section:

  • Hire More Unconventional Writers, writes Jack Shafer at Slate: "Instead of discovering America's next great pundit, I'd rather the Post give its op-ed page some breathing room by undiscovering a few of its current chin-strokers and recruiting unconventional writers (John Ellis, James Altucher, and Heather Mac Donald, just to get the conversation rolling) to fill the space with a few ideas we haven't heard 25,000 times before. (I'm talking about you, Richard Cohen.)"
  • Publish Fewer Politician Op-Eds, writes Ezra Klein at The Washington Post no less: "I don't really understand why my op-ed page, or all the other op-ed pages, waste so much real estate publishing talking points from politicians. These carefully vetted bits of politi-speak are not interesting op-eds (and the least interesting, I should say, are those written by members of the White House), and they are frequently misleading. They also make the op-ed page a confusing place: Pieces written by writers and experts are published for a different reason, and written for a different purpose, than those written by political actors."
  • Fire Richard Cohen, writes Wonkette, who routinely lambastes the left-of-center columnist:
It’s been a while since we last checked in on the Washington Post op-ed stable’s elderly “left-center” know-nothing Richard Cohen,the Worst Writer in the World. After a profound month-long streak of weekly 800-word diarrhea baths earlier this year — climaxing with the legendary, “What if Dick Cheney is right?” — Cohen laid low for a while, talked about how nuts George Bush’s Iraq War was for a couple of weeks, safe stuff.
    • The Publisher Is the Problem? Vanity Fair's Michael Wolff took a deep look at the Post in October and wrote some unflattering words about Katharine Weymouth, the paper's publisher:
    She could be a newspaper’s worst nightmare: the attenuated scion, full of cost-cutting and business-model zeal, with almost no sense of the soul of the enterprise, but ready with biz buzzwords (the new strategy was her idea: “Being about Washington, for Washingtonians, and those affected by it”).
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