Stale editorial page: An ongoing Chron series!

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For the past couple of Sundays, we’ve pointed out that the Chronicle‘s opinion pages were a little stale, with all sorts of content previously published in major newspapers.

We were hoping James Howard Gibbons might take the hint and try to freshen up the pages a bit — perhaps even bring in some fresh blood like Mark Steyn, whose columns do not appear in many American newspapers.

Instead, Gibbons seems to have entirely missed the point we were making. Today, plenty of stale content appears. And now, the authors’ bylines contain short notes explaining in which major newspaper their columns first appeared!

Here’s the note following the op-ed from Enrique Krauze:

Krauze, a Mexican historian and writer, is the author of “Mexico: Biography of Power.” (This article originally appeared in The Washington Post.)

It appeared on July 12.

And the op-ed from Pervez Hoodbhoy:

Hoodbhoy is a member of the Pugwash Council and is professor of nuclear and high-energy physics at Quaid-e-Azam University, Islamabad, Pakistan. (This article originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times.)

It appeared on July 10.

And the op-ed from Edward Lazarus:

Lazarus, a lawyer in private practice in Los Angeles, is the author of “Closed Chambers: The Rise, Fall, and Future of the Modern Supreme Court” (Penguin). He is a former assistant U.S. attorney and clerked for Associate Justice Harry Blackmun at the Supreme Court from 1988 to 1989. (This article originally appeared in The Washington Post.)

It appeared on July 10.

And the op-ed from Leon Kass:

Kass, a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, is chairman of the President’s Council on Bioethics. (This article originally appeared in The Washington Post.)

It appeared on July 12.

And the op-ed from David Rothkopf:

Rothkopf, a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, is the author of “Running the World: The Inside Story of the National Security Council and the Architects of American Power.” He was a deputy undersecretary of commerce in the Clinton administration. (This article originally appeared in The Washington Post.)

It appeared on July 11.

Columns from David Broder and Michael Goodwin appeared in their respective “homenewspapers of course, but in Broder’s case, it actually appeared today! So perhaps we can give the Chronicle credit for running the Broder column of Beltway Journalism Conventional Wisdom on the same day as his own newspaper — not that it’s been very hard to figure out what many Beltway journalists think on the matter.

In any case, we think Mr. Gibbons has missed our point the past couple of weeks. The point hasn’t been that we’d like to know what newspapers he’s using to grab stale columns and op-eds. Rather, the point is that a great newspaper ought to aspire to less stale content.

We’d love to see more original content, more focus on local and regional matters, and maybe even a few columnists we don’t see in the Washington Post, New York Times, and LA Times. Those are fine newspapers, but we do have internet access in Houston, and we can read those newspapers easily before the content is stale.

So, we apologize for any confusion we caused Mr. Gibbons. We’re not questioning where he gets the stale content (we’ve got that covered). We’re suggesting he get more fresh content.

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Kevin Whited
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