Dan Blatt recalls his classmate David Shipley.

When I first read that my Williams classmate David Shipley had taken over as Op-Ed editor of the New York Times, I saw it as a sign of improvement on the editorial page of the Old Gray Lady. Even though David had worked in the Clinton Administration, I had always known him as an even-handed, level-headed kind of guy. At college, he never showed any particular disdain for conservative ideas — and this in the heyday of the Reagan Revolution.

Indeed, I assumed it was David’s doing when the Times tapped such thoughtful conservatives as David Brooks and William Kristol to write regular columns for its Op-Ed page. He is the kind of guy who would welcome diverse viewpoints, including conservative ideas intelligently expressed.

At Williams, David was well-liked among his classmates, at least those of us who knew him. He kept a pretty low profile on campus. I recall he was soft-spoken. We rowed together freshman year.

But, David wasn’t one of those angry left-wingers (yes, we even had them on college campi even in my day), railing against the latest action by the Gipper. He may have had left-of-center political views, but he kept them pretty much to himself, at least in his conversations with me. And I was a pretty outspoken undergraduate, particularly during my sophomore and junior years.

Thus, I was surprised to learn that he had personally rejected (or at least written the e-mail rejecting) presumptive Republican nominee John McCain’s column for the New York Times.

The David Shipley who so readily listened to his Williams peers was now dictating how one party’s candidate should write about our nation’s Iraq policy. I want to believe David’s distinction between accepting Obama’s piece and rejecting that of his Republican rival, that the Obama essay “offered new information.” Given the increasingly biased record of the Times, I am skeptical, even of a man whose even-handedness I have long respected.

I hope David still shows the same respect for conservatives he did at Williams and in our 1993 lunch. His failure to publish this editorial shows the decline of the paper whose Op-Eds he now edits.

Read the whole thing. Previous discussion here. I was surprised at how dismissive some of our commentators were of McCain’s argument. It is reasonable to believe that McCain was (and is) wrong about the best policy for Iraq. But, if you assume for a moment that McCain’s policies are correct (as at least 20% of US citizens believe), then his op-ed piece seems to make a perfectly reasonable argument for them. If you disagree, what specific lines would you change?

Shipley also gets a mention in the American Thinker.

Newsflash to David Shipley: McCain’s editorial was a rebuttal, not a Time Life Books® companion piece. And as the New York Times’ readership is reputed to be intellectually savvy, I don’t think there would be much danger of them confusing McCain’s views with those of the left-leaning Times editorial board.

By the way, the New York Post snapped up what the Times rejected and published McCain’s op-ed. The decision by the Times to reject McCain has turned into a major publicity nightmare. Better tell Pinch that’s not exactly good news for stockholders.

Of course, every news outlet has the right to reject content based on editorial standards – our right to free speech does not translate to an obligation for a newspaper or other media outlet to publish us. But in this instance, the Times risks being labeled as lopsided.


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