Memo To: Website Browsers, Fans, Clients
From: Jude Wanniski
Re: A Brand New Website
If you don’t read The Wall Street Journal -- and I must assume few of you do, if only for the expense -- you don’t get a chance to read its editorial page, one of the most influential in the world. Remember my bias: When the Journal in January 1972 tapped Robert L. Bartley, then only 34 years old, to take over the editorial page, he asked me to leave the Dow Jones’ National Observer, where I was writing the column “This Week in Washington,” and join him in New York to write editorials. That’s where we ushered in the “supply-side economics” which provided the foundation for the Reagan Revolution. I left the page in the summer of 1978 to found Polyconomics, Inc., where I would be free to engage directly in the political process -- which journalists are not supposed to do. Bartley stayed on and is now in his 29th year as editor of the editorial page. Always the entrepreneur, Bob now has the very first on-line editorial page of any major newspaper in the land -- which means The New York Times is sure to follow if it does not want to be left behind. That is, you can go to the Times or Washington Post or Washington Times and locate their editorial columns, but the Journal editpage now has an exclusive website.
The innovation also gives Bartley more elbow room than the other papers, as the website offers links to his favorite websites -- and I thank him and his staff for including this site on that list (even though I am frequently critical of the page’s opinions). Better yet, every day they will link to the ten best pieces of news or commentary which they can locate on the world wide web. The effect of this interchange, I predict, will energize the editorial page itself. When there are only a few minds at work on producing valued insights and perspectives on the world around them, the result could display a tendency to staleness, and I have been no slouch in criticizing the Journal editpage on those grounds. By casting their net in this fashion, Bartley & Co. quickly will begin to find material and minds they should recognize as being fresh and vital, worthy of being drawn onto the printed page.
There is also more room for regular columnists, and the website will offer several whose work has been superior in the past. Check out Tom Bray, Seth Lipsky, Susan Lee, Mark Helprin and Peggy Noonan. The list is top heavy with neo-conservatives, which is Bartley’s favorite flavor, but he assures me he is looking around for different, quality thinking and writing, from different political, cultural and racial corners of the opinion world.
On its first day, I especially enjoyed Bartley reaching back to a speech delivered two years ago at the CATO Institute by Richard B. Cheney, which offers a good look into the thinking of the fellow who will be No. 2 on the Republican ticket when this GOP convention week in Philadelphia is concluded. http://www.cato.org/speeches/sp-dc062398.html
Another favorite of the inaugural issue of the website is Peggy Noonan’s advice to George W. Bush on how he should approach his acceptance speech in Philadelphia. Remember it was Peggy who wrote GWB’s father’s acceptance speech in 1988, “Read My Lips, No New Taxes.” She does not mention that line in her advisory, which you can find at http://www.opinionjournal.com/columnists/pnoonan/
If you forget to make a bookmark for this website, you will always be able to find a link to it at this page, in the pull-down tab in the upper right-hand corner, where we list our favorites.