With Donald Trump just 39 days away from being inaugurated as the 45th president of the United States, newspapers are hanging out the “help wanted” sign as they struggle to find pro-Trump columnists to write for their editorial pages.
According to The Washington Post’s Paul Farhi, traditionally Republican-supporting newspapers like the Des Moines Register and the Arizona Republic are having as much trouble as their more liberal counterparts, The Washington Post and New York Times, in locating writers willing to pen pro-Trump columns for their respective op-ed pages.
Farhi says the papers have conservative writers, but few if any of them are Trump supporters:
“’We struggled to find voices that could advocate for Donald Trump’s ideas,’ said James Bennet, the Times’ editorial-page editor. ‘It was really unusual. It didn’t help that the conservative intelligentsia lined up against him.’ But Bennet says Trump’s campaign contributed to the imbalance: ‘He didn’t have the people around him who were prepared to put together his arguments’ for publication.
Lynn Hicks, the Des Moines Register’s opinion editor, found a parallel at his newspaper, the largest in the swing state that wound up going for Trump. ‘Given that almost all of our Republican leadership in Iowa supported Trump, I kept waiting for [supportive op-ed] pieces to arrive,’ Hicks said. ‘I’m still waiting.’”
USA Today has bucked the trend, carrying columns by Instapundit founder Glenn Reynolds, Trump running-mate Mike Pence and campaign surrogate Rudy Giuliani. But they are the exception rather than the rule.
This has left the papers in a bind, according to Farhi, since they try to present a rough balance between right and left opinions on their op-ed pages. Balance? Really?
They say karma is a—well you know what—and that seems to be biting the newspapers in their collective asses as their all-out effort to defeat Trump backfired miserably, leaving them with a stable of writers who are out of touch with the new reality that Trump will be the president, and that the old rules no longer apply.
That doesn’t mean that they won’t still try to find pro-Trump columnists, according to Farhi:
“The Washington Post’s editorial-page editor, Fred Hiatt, said the paper is as committed ‘as ever’ to offering readers ‘a range of smart, independent thinking, and we are always thinking about whether there are new voices we should be adding’ as Trump takes office.
Said the Times’ Bennet: ‘We owe it to our readers to help them hear the voices that were supportive of Trump. .?.?. I’m proud of the work we did, but we could have done better.’”
Far better, as it turns out.