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March 11, 2008

O'Hanlon and the Op-Ed Pages
Posted by Ilan Goldenberg

OK!  So Mike O’Hanlon has another piece in the USA Today.  Ackerman and Yglesias have the breakdown of what is wrong with his latest piece.  But I think there is a broader point here about responsible journalism.  Major op-ed pages such as the NY Times, Washington Post, USA Today and Wall Street Journal seem to have informal policies regarding how often one person should be represented in an op-ed page.  That’s because these pieces of journalistic real estate are very valuable and they don’t want to over-represent any one individual.  Yet these rules apparently don’t apply to Mike O’Hanlon.  Here are his pieces in the four major op-ed pages since he published the notorious piece with Ken Pollack in the NY Times back on July 30, 2007.

NY Times:  3/9/08, 12/22/08, 11/18/07, 9/4/07, 7/30/07

Washington Post: 2/9/08, 1/20/08, 8/25/07

USA Today:  3/11/08, 12/5/07, 10/3/07

WSJ:  2/14/08, 1/7/08

That would be 13 pieces in four of the most influential op-ed pages in the country over the past 7 months.  Basically once every two weeks.  That doesn't even include the fact that he is a regular contributor to the Washington Times.  Unless you are a cabinet level position or higher, nobody deserves this type of representation.  There is nothing special about Michael O’Hanlon.  He has no unique expertise on this issue.  There is no shortage of fantastic Iraq experts, who quite frankly are much more qualified and expert on Iraq, and have a variety of views on the issue (And this applies to both conservatives and progressives).  It’s time for these op-ed page editors to exercise some editorial responsibility and stop over-representing O’Hanlon. There needs to be a diverse set of views appearing on their pages, from a diverse crowd of experts.


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That's overkill, but then Victor Davis Hanson shows up in my local paper more frequently than I'd like too. There's a pipeline somewhere.

BTW, that second NYT link s/b 12/22/07, not 08.

Unfortunately O'Hanlon's positions have been considered the mainstream positon by the media even though most Middle Eastern experts disagree with his position including those in the government such as former commader of the region, Admiral Fallon. O'Hanlon's hawkish stance has been taking up by McCain and until recently Hillary Clinton. By taking his advice it means to the Washington establishment that they somehow have foreign policy knowledge or experience. While Barak Obama's more realistic foreign policy is considered naive.

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