OLD Media Moves

The spirit that animates The Wall Street Journal

January 8, 2013

Posted by Chris Roush

William McGurn, who is leaving The Wall Street Journal editorial page to become editorial page editor of The New York Post, writes Tuesday about the business newspaper and what makes it special.

McGurn writes, “At its heart, the spirit is simply confidence in the ability of ordinary men and women to better themselves if given the freedom to do so. Every Journal newspaperman for whom I have labored shared this disposition: Bob Bartley, Seth Lipsky, Gordon Crovitz, George Melloan, Dan Henninger and now Paul Gigot, the editor who so graciously invited me to write this column.

“Thus one of my earliest Journal memories is of Mr. Lipsky assigning me to read a speech by Robert McNamara. Here was a man whose disastrous handling of the Vietnam War as secretary of defense was perhaps exceeded only by the damage he would later inflict as president of the World Bank. When Robert Strange McNamara looked out at the poor, he saw menace. In language soaked in the imagery of nuclear holocaust, he predicted global doom unless governments addressed the “mushrooming cloud of the population explosion.”

“My editors made it clear they were guided by a very different idea: that human beings ought to be seen as minds rather than mouths. The more I read while at the Journal, the more I appreciated that some of the most hopeful writing about human possibility was being done by economists—from Adam Smith and Friedrich Hayek to Milton Friedman, Gary Becker and Julian Simon.

“Put it this way: When China transformed itself by moving from Mao to markets, the Journal’s editors were as dazzled by the results as anybody. They just weren’t surprised.”

Read more here.

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