10/14/2005 05:42 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Now They Tell Us--and Don't Tell Us

Editor and Publisher tried to answer the question being asked by so many media-watchers--why have the NYT op-ed writers been so consistently silent on the subject of Judy Miller and the outing of Valerie Plame? E&P talked to four of the eight op-edders (the others didn't call back), and no four people have ever done a better job of denying the existence of a company line while simultaneously maintaining the exact same reason for not writing:

"I didn't just want to sit and suck my thumb and write," said Nicholas Kristof.
"If I had something to say about it, I'd write about it.", said Thomas Friedman.
"A column really works best when you really have something to say about something. I haven't had a great original thought on this," said John Tierney.
"Essentially, I want to know the facts," said Frank Rich.

Half of the stable of people the NYT wants us to pay to read, supposedly based on their superior access to factual information, and on their willingness to tackle a range of subjects domestic and foreign, fess up to the same malady--don't know 'nuff. Rather than be irate, I choose to be charmed by this sudden embrace of the demure refusal to be stampeded into opinionating. It should mean a lot more white space on the Op Ed page from now on, maybe even another quarter page for ExxonMobil to buy...