A note to our readers


WHEN A columnist misses his usual spot in the rotation, we normally run a short note explaining his absence. Today, Robert Scheer’s column will not appear. Consider this a longer-than-usual note of explanation.

Scheer’s impassioned prose has graced these pages for 13 years. Last week we announced a new roster of 10 columnists that will appear on this page every week, and Scheer’s name was not on it. Hundreds of readers called and wrote to protest. We are grateful -- humbled -- that readers care so deeply about the content of these opinion pages and the columnists who appear on them.

Assessing the merits of a column, like assessing the merits of a movie, is a subjective exercise, so readers can agree to disagree over the wisdom of our decision. It’s inaccurate, however, to ascribe ideological motives to our decision to stop running Scheer’s column.


Some readers have complained that The Times is conspiring to silence liberal voices on the Op-Ed page. Others have gone so far as to suggest that Scheer is being punished for opposing the war in Iraq. But that is hardly a badge of shame around here -- the newspaper’s own editorial page opposed the decision to invade Iraq.

The truth is that we now publish more Op-Ed columnists -- early in 2004 we featured only three regular columnists -- than ever before, including more liberal voices (and conservative ones) than ever before. It’s also true that some of our columnists are not easily labeled on either side of the ideological divide, which we think is healthy. The goal, as always, remains to offer readers a lively exchange of opinions from across the political spectrum.

Several of the writers in the new lineup are familiar to you, as they have been appearing on our pages for a few months; others are brand new to the page. Together, they represent our commitment to inform and enlighten the public debate by offering a provocative mix of voices on local, national and foreign affairs.

You will be reading more about our columnists in the weeks ahead, and we urge you to develop a relationship with them. We appreciate the hurt and anger that many readers feel over Robert Scheer’s absence. We fervently hope to be inundated by a similar outpouring when one of our new columnists ends his or her run.

Below is the schedule for our new columnists.

Monday: Niall Ferguson

Tuesday: Joel Stein

Wednesday: Max Boot,

Erin Aubry Kaplan (as of Dec. 7)

Thursday: Patt Morrison,

Jonah Goldberg

Friday: Rosa Brooks

Saturday: Meghan Daum

Sunday: Gregory Rodriguez,

Jonathan Chait


- Andres Martinez

Editorial Page Editor