Alex Massie

Media Spotlight on Kamloops Blogs? It Ain’t Nothin’ But a Zen Thing

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So The Chicago Sun-Times is to start running signed editorials. TAPPED's Dana Goldstein thinks this is a "good move" and wonders why more newspapers don't do this. I imagine she's in favour of this on the usual grounds of "transparency" and "accountability". But it's still a silly notion.

Clearly, Ms Goldstein can't have written many newspaper editorials. If she had, she would know that it's rather unfair to make individual leader writers put their names to editorials they've written but do not necessarily agree with. This is not, despite what you may think, a rare phenomenon. Even when one is fortunate enough to write a leader relatively free from interference it's rare for it to express the editorial writer's own opinions. Then again, it's not supposed to. You're not speaking or writing for yourself.

The reason for unsigned editorials is that they're supposed to have institutional heft - something that's diluted if you slap a byline on them. Then they'd be just another opinion. Now, of course, in one respect they are just another opinion, but editorial writers have a fine conceit that they're that little bit above the common herd of opinion. Plus, as the old line puts it, someone has to come down from the hills after the battle to stab the wounded. A job best done anonymously, frankly.

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

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