We (Steve and Karen) were devastated to learn today about Frank Rich's decision to stop writing for the New York Times and accept a position as a monthly essayist for New York Magazine. It has become a ritual in our house each Sunday to read Mr. Rich's weekly column out loud. As Karen has said, his writing helps us to see that the insanity that so often is taken for normal in the political world these days is really not normal at all. His writing has given us a perspective on this world that says it doesn't have to be this way and that it won't continue to be this way when people like him and us speak up.
Frank Rich has communicated with clarity and vigor about the most important issues of our time and has done so, almost without exception, from the perspective of someone who is genuinely worried about the least privileged and the most oppressed people among us. He has exemplified a form of political advocacy that is challenging, compelling, and compassionate. We cannot imagine how he can be replaced, but there is one thing for sure. First thing Monday morning we're renewing our lapsed subscription to New York Magazine.
One other thing. In this final column, Mr. Rich spoke about his wholly positive affiliation with the New York Times, how the paper never interfered with his column, regardless of how controversial his opinions became. He remains an undiminished admirer of the "Paper of Record," a view this blog especially appreciates. To read his praise of the Times after all these years, seems completely right and immensely reassuring at the same time. Let's give him the last words on this point:
"I leave The Times feeling as reverent about it as I did when I arrived. Neither it nor any other institution is infallible, as was illustrated most recently during the run-up to the Iraq invasion. But The Times is our essential news organization, and more so now than ever, when so many others have dwindled in size, ambition and scope. Should anyone have even an iota of doubt about The Times’s crucial role in helping its readers navigate the tumult of the 21st century, just revisit its reportage from the roiling tempests of the Middle East in recent weeks. There is nothing like it in American journalism, and that will still be the case whether you read The Times on paper or get it beamed directly into your brain once Apple unleashes that app."