The future of the WSJ editorial page
David Warsh of Economic Principals examines the recent history of The Wall Street Journal editorial page and offers up a successor to current editor Paul Gigot.
Warsh writes, “Those who write the editorials seldom display signs of having gotten wise to themselves. I’ve read those pages every day for nearly fifty years, and, with the exception of regular forays into the microeconomics of particular situations, on which they (and Holman Jenkins, in particular) remain sharp, today the editorials seem so cautious and hamstrung by their inconsistencies as to be interesting mainly when they contradict themselves.
“No amount of back-channel complaints by professional economists, much less carping by the likes of me, is going to change things. There is, however, a solution. When old Man Murdoch finally loosens his grip on the newspaper he bought, in 2007, to serve as his flagship, his sons should hire back Bret Stephens, 44, to replace editorial page editor Paul Gigot, 62.
“Stephens quit the WSJ last spring to become a columnist for The New York Times. For months he had become ever more critical of Donald Trump’s candidacy – and of the surprising tolerance of it shown by his fellow editorialists. Melloan judges Stephens to have been ‘no longer comfortable with the Journal’s traditions.’
“In fact, the WSJ’s post-Royster traditions of innovative reform have deteriorated from their peak to the point of self-parody. Stephens at one point defined conservatism as ‘a principled commitment to limited government, free markets, constitutional rights, equal opportunity, personal responsibility, e pluribus unum and Pax Americana.’ But Stephens, at least as I read him, is no originalist. My guess is that he would renew the newspaper’s commitment to intelligent true conservativism – that is, defending the state of things as they are.”
Read more here.