The curious shyness of ‘Wall Street Journal’ op-ed writers


As I trekked to my gate at the Orange County Airport in California not long ago, I stopped briefly at a newsstand to pick up a copy of The New York Times. I was accosted there by a well-heeled, white-haired busy-body who barked at me that I should also buy a Wall Street Journal. Why? Because, he barked again, the Wall Street paper would counter the lies of the Times.

Yeah — with its own whoppers.

The Journal’s editorial page has always been a cheerleader for corporate power, but now that it’s in the grip of Rupert Murdoch, it’s become a pom-pom-waving, journalistic strumpet for the Republican Party. Particularly glaring in recent months has been its propensity for publishing op-ed pieces that pound President Barack Obama on everything from his health care reform to foreign policy issues. That would be fine — except the editors have chosen not to disclose to readers a rather important credential that each of the pounders share: They’re all top advisors to Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign.

For example, the Journal published op-eds by Max Boot in February, April, June and August — each of them ripping Obama for alleged failures in dealing with Afghanistan and China. Boot was identified simply as a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. That established him as an expert — without mentioning his glaring partisan conflict-of-interest as Romney’s defense policy advisor. The watchdog group, Media Matters, reviewed all of the op-eds in Murdoch’s paper during this campaign season and found that 20 so-called “expert opinion pieces” had been written by nine Romney advisors, with not even a whisper to readers that the nine are directly tied to the Republican’s campaign.


This opinion column does not necessarily reflect the views of Boulder Weekly.