Frankly Rich

PM Carpenter reacts to the news of Frank Rich's departure from political-cultural commentary on the NYT op-ed page:

We are in trouble. And from what I could gather from what you observed this morning, Mr. Rich -- with which I wholeheartedly agree -- we're largely in trouble because absolute nincompoops dominate public debate, that corrosive trend is getting even worse, and you, for your part, are outta here.

I don't buy the premise of this. I think Rich's departure is probably what he says it is: an understandable desire to move on after 17 years. But it also reflects the fact that in the age of the web, Rich's readers and fans will only have to click a mouse once to find him again. New York's print circulation is around 400,000 - less than a third of the Sunday NYT's, but nothing to sneeze at, and its online circulation is at a slowly growing 5 million unique visitors a month. Its editor is one of the best in the world, Adam Moss, and he has a long, fruitful relationship with Frank. The website and magazine have won so many awards you have to wade through an ocean of metal elephants to find the editor.

In other words, I don't think it matters much to those under, say, 50, where Rich writes. The NYT op-ed page is like every other page on the web. Click once and you're there. The same will be true of any page at, already a booming, innovative site. What matters is his voice. It's going nowhere.