The Courier-Journal has replaced its lone conservative columnist with three men, including a former White House staffer and former state House member.
Pam Platt, The C-J’s editorial page editor, announced the changes this weekend in the paper.
The new columnists are:
Scott Jennings, a former deputy White House political director who worked on the George W. Bush presidential campaigns and the Romney campaign. He’s not a public relations executive.
Bob Heleringer, an attorney who formerly represented an East End district from the state House.
Brad Cummings, an advertising executive and former chairman of the Jefferson County Republican Party.
In February, John David Dyche, a Louisville lawyer and a conservative, quit the column he’d written for The Courier-Journal since 2003 after editors chose not to publish a piece criticizing the paper. Dyche’s reject column suggested several reforms. They included:
Make the current editorial page (i.e., the page on the left) into a “Left Page” and there continue presenting hopelessly liberal columns, cartoons, and letters. Convert the op-ed page (i.e., the page on the right) to a “Right Page” and present conservative/libertarian columns, cartoons, and letters now largely absent from Louisville media. Give each page equal resources, and let the competing philosophies battle it out in the marketplace of ideas. The community would benefit from real, vigorous debate, and subscribers who deserted the paper due to its liberal bias might return.
The C-J doesn’t appear to be going that far. But, in announcing the new columnists, Platt writes:
The modern-day institutional, editorial voice of this organization is unapologetically progressive on numerous, but not all, issues. That’s our DNA.
But so is this:
To uphold the marketplace-of-ideas mission for the editorial pages (not to mention America), it is incumbent upon us to present other, differing views and voices on a regular basis.
That we do, in letters to the editor, longer, locally written guest columns and syndicated columns and cartoons. The local conservative column was and is a commitment to that principle too.
(In disclosure, I wrote for The C-J’s news department for several years before coming to WFPL.)
A column from Jennings, Heleringer or Cummings will appear each Wednesday, Platt writes.
The Courier-Journal’s other regular editorial page columnists are Platt and Al Cross, director of the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues and a former C-J writer. Mariam Williams also writes columns for the newspaper.
Dyche recently began writing opinion pieces for WDRB.com.