Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Good news from the NY Time editorial pages at last.

They've named John Tierney as new op-ed columnist -- finally. For years he's written many of the best columns in the paper, but they were always buried back in the Metro section or somewhere where far too few read them.

Tierney's not an economist but uses an astute political-economic eye to catch and examine all kinds of counter-intutitive realities about the factual real world like a good columnist should do -- rather than just try to add some cheap personal spin to whatever political meme one's own political side is circulating at the moment. I've thought he should've gotten every op-ed opening in the last five years.

Tierney back in 1996 wrote the one single story in the Times Magazine that's drawn more reader response than any other to this day, Recycling is Garbage. So why didn't he get this promotion long ago? Maybe newspaper bosses are like everyone else, they take what they've got in house for granted and feel compelled to recruit "stars" from outside.

(Tierney has also done wonderful takes on celebrities flying their private jets to Sundance to promote energy and wildlife conservation on that once pristine mountain that Redford turned into a ski resort/media center -- and if the editorial-page people had ever paid any attention to what he wrote about the NYC public schools ... oh, OK, maybe we see why it took him so long to get promoted.)

Anyhow, better late than never. Finally, something on the editorial pages to look forward to reading. Starting in April.

More: Here's a profile of Tierney (provided by QandO) and some of his more entertaining work of the past, such as passing out $20 bills to passing dog walkers in the park. (Imagine any of the other Times op-eders doing that. Imagine asking your boss for the expense account money to do that.)

On his worst day his column at least figures to be the most entertaining thing on the editorial pages -- where all the other writers, whatever their perusasions, visitors or regulars, right or wrong, frankly tend to be full of themselves.

(And if his puckish humor and libertarian tendencies deliver on their potential to drive Herbert and Krugman nuts, he'll be more entertaining yet!