The Op-Ed Page

Editorial and Op-Ed Pages

Will asked me what an “OpEd” was—probably because I had used the term in an article that I’d written. It was a good question, because I had been asking myself the same question. Of course, I knew what an OpEd was, just like the Supreme Court knew what obscenity was: I knew it when I saw it. But I didn’t know why it was called that.

I had an idea, though. I thought that “OpEd” was short for “opportunity editorial.” There were two kinds of OpEds as far as I could tell. There were those by columnists like George Will or Paul Krugman. And there were those by people who had nothing to do with the paper like Liz Cheney’s ignorant and vile article in the Wall Street Journal last week.[1]

Because Will asked, I decided to look up “OpEd.” I was surprised to learn that “OpEd” (or “Op-Ed”) is a very recent word: it dates back only to the 1970s. And “Op” does not refer to “opportunity” but rather “opposite.” The term refers to the editorials that run on the page opposite the editorial page. So in the image above, the editorial page is the one on the left and the op-ed page is on the right.

So now we (Will and I) know. I continue to be amazed at how much I stay ignorant about for lack of picking up a dictionary.


[1] She writes the following that is every bit as hysterical and fact-free as the most extreme Tea Partier:

President Obama is the most radical man ever to occupy the Oval Office. The national debt, which he is intent on increasing, has passed $16 trillion. He believes that more government borrowing and spending are the solution to every problem. He seems unaware that the free-enterprise system has lifted more people out of poverty than any other economic system devised by man…

The president has launched a war on Americans’ Second Amendment rights. He has launched a war on religious freedom. He has launched a war on fossil fuels. He is working to nationalize one-sixth of the economy with job-killing ObamaCare. He wants to collect a greater portion of every American paycheck, not for the purpose of paying down the national debt but to expand his governing machine. He doesn’t believe in creating a bigger pie with more opportunity for all. He believes in greater redistribution of a much smaller pie. If you’re unsure of what this America would look like, Google “Cyprus” or “Greece.”

This is shocking coming from a major figure in one of America’s major political parties.

0 thoughts on “The Op-Ed Page

  1. We hear this "Obama’s the most liberal president ever!" garbage a lot. Because any liberalism has to be, by definition, extreme and radical; even if it’s not all that damn liberal.

    Presidents easily more liberal than Obama: Jefferson, Roosevelt, Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower, Johnson, and Nixon. On the "radical" scale Obama ranks up there with Carter, Clinton, and Herbert Hoover.

    I like how "Cyprus and Greece" are used as examples of government gone wild, rather than banks. It’s too bad cyprus has joined the deregulated-bank-hellhole ranks, because there used to be a fun mnemonic device for remembering which countries were screwed the most by bank malfeasance: "PIGS" (Portugal, Ireland, Greece, Spain.) All of which were praised by the business press for making themselves "open to investment." (And all of which are now utterly boned. Iceland did the same, but threw out its austerity government after the crash came, nationalized its failing banks, and now is recovering nicely.)

    How do we fit Cyprus into "PIGS"? Maybe add America to the mnemonic moniker and call it "GI CAP"? Not as elegant . . .

  2. @JMF – I find it very strange. I’ve long know than Liz Cheney is an extremist, but I also thought she was smart. Could she really believe what she wrote? I really don’t know. It is absurd to think such things, and she could be doing it as nothing but agitprop. Then again, people on the right are so cut off from the rest of society that she could really believe it. That’s scary.

    I don’t think we need to include Cyprus. It is really small. Of course, it could bring the Euro to an end, so it is still important. In general, people used the acronym PIIGS to include Italy. I always preferred GIPSI, because I like those countries. If we have to use Cyprus, we could do GIPSI-C or C-GIPSI. Or SICPIG. I think people will like that one!

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