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A Simple Guide To Writing Horrible Op-Eds

Naturally, Jamie Kirchick [1] offers us an example of just how to do this. The most important thing in writing horrible op-eds on Obama’s foreign policy is to misrepresent absolutely everything that he has said and done over the last three months, deliberately ignore any information that would allow a fair and intelligent assessment of his statements (e.g., when Obama referred to European anti-Americanism as “insidious”), and then to use a series of words–feckless, embolden, decline–in almost any way you like to show that you have no understanding of diplomacy or international affairs. If at all possible, in order to write one of the worst pieces one can, one should frequently complain about criticisms of the previous administration’s foreign policy that Obama has never made while in office. It is also useful to take every acknowledgment of the concerns and perceptions of Obama’s audience (e.g., the fear that America is at war with Islam) as character assassination directed against Bush, as if Bush’s own statements to this effect were some sort of coy attack on his predecessor. Above all, it helps to be extremely dense and ideologically-motivated.

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7 Comments To "A Simple Guide To Writing Horrible Op-Eds"

#1 Comment By E.D. Kain On April 28, 2009 @ 8:44 am


I will take this into consideration when I write my next column. Very salient advice, indeed…. 😉

By the by, have you read Ross’s debut?

#2 Comment By Daniel Larison On April 28, 2009 @ 8:49 am

I have. I thought it was interesting. I am just about to start a post responding to part of it in a minute.

#3 Comment By Grumpy Old Man On April 28, 2009 @ 9:59 am

Jamie doesn’t know the difference between “apologecitcs” and an “apology” in the sense of a mea culpa.

[2] would offer kudos for the piece.

#4 Comment By Grumpy Old Man On April 28, 2009 @ 10:00 am

“Apologetics”–my aged eyes aren’t what they were.

#5 Comment By Daniel Larison On April 28, 2009 @ 12:17 pm

I have to apologize–someone submitted a comment to this thread and in the process of moderating other comments I accidentally deleted it. If you want to re-submit it, I will certainly take care to approve the comment next time. Sorry for the inconvenience.

#6 Comment By Bob Weber On April 29, 2009 @ 11:33 am

It seems to me that there are two American Exceptionalisms, at least. One is that America, by very lucky historical and geographic circumstances, has been spared the squalid power politics which has afflicted Europe for hundreds of years. The moral being, don’t blow it. Most paleos would agree to this. Eisenhower’s foreign policy comes closest to this, post WWII.

The second exceptionalism proposes a unique moral authority for America by reason of Providence, The World-Spirit, The Great Idea, or some such nonsense. The moral being, America must change the world! This got full expression in JFK’s Inaugural Speech and Dubya’s 2nd Inaugural Speech. Which shows the bipartisan and idiotic nature of U.S. foreign policy since 1961.

#7 Comment By BarryD On April 29, 2009 @ 12:24 pm

Daniel, that was mine, and I had a $100 bill in it. If you can’t find the $100 bill in your server, could you just send me the money? 🙂