The liberal St. Louis Post-Dispatch has bowed to the "Fire George Will" folks and discontinued his syndicated column after he wrote about liberal universities now being pressed to stem an alleged tide of campus sexual assault. They're switching to big-government conservative Michael Gerson, the former chief speechwriter to President George W. Bush.
"The change has been under consideration for several months," they claimed in a note from editorial page editor Tony Messenger, "but a column published June 5, in which Mr. Will suggested that sexual assault victims on college campuses enjoy a privileged status, made the decision easier. The column was offensive and inaccurate; we apologize for publishing it."
"We have heard from both conservative and liberal readers asking for new conservative voices," they insisted, and "We believe that Mr. Gerson’s commitment to 'compassionate conservatism' and his roots in St. Louis will better connect with our readers, regardless of their political bent."
They pitched the switch as a blow for more diversity and more vibrancy, instead of dumping something too "vibrant" for their liberal tastes: "We believe Mr. Gerson’s addition to our op-ed page will be a refreshing and revitalizing change. In coming weeks, we plan to bring more diverse voices to this page, and to connect our print readers with some of the other vibrant conversations taking place in the digital universe."
[HT Dan Gainor]