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PILOT ERROR

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By Michelle Malkin  •  November 24, 2004 11:55 AM

Lots of readers are asking me to comment on the Virginian-Pilot’s decision to drop my syndicated column.

The most amusing thing is that the paper’s decision was news at all. I’ve been nationally syndicated for five years now, and papers come and go routinely. I’ve been fortunate over the years to have gained far more than I lost.

Another amusing thing was Editor and Publisher’s decision to run a little story on the Pilot’s announcement (without, by the way, contacting me for comment). Was it a slow news day or what? And will E&P be running a feature the next time a paper picks up my column? Among syndicated columns launched during the past half-decade, mine has been one of the most successful. Why isn’t that a story?

The Pilot‘s various rationales for dropping my column were similarly entertaining.

Dennis Hartig, the paper’s editorial page editor, dismissed me as “too stridently anti-liberal.” Not any more so than Maureen Dowd and Paul Krugman (both carried by the Pilot) are “stridently anti-conservative.” As I’ve noted before, “stridency” and shrillness are in the eye of the liberal media beholder.

Op-ed editor Roger Chesley attempted to argue that I wasn’t as “strident” when he first picked up my column. But anyone who peruses my column archives during the past five years will see no substantial change in my tone or style. I was just as “anti-liberal” five years ago as I am now.

Editorial writer Don Luzzatto tried another angle: “I was really put off by her penchant for name-calling and ad hominem attack. I think we can do much better.”

“Much better” is apparently represented by Luzzatto’s colleague Bronwyn Lance Chester (e-mail: bronwyn.chester@pilotonline.com), who proceeded to attack me as an “Asian Ann Coulter.” This is the same writer who recently opined: “Derision is the last refuge of those with no argument.” You got that right, hon.

The Pilot is free to do whatever it wants with its op-ed pages. Next time, though, it should avoid making such a stridently sanctimonious show of it.

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