missal of abusive priests is proposed daily around water coolers, in bars, and at dinner tables across America.) The byline on the article read, simply, "By a Washington Post Staff Writer."

The issues behind the protest are the usual bones of collective-bargaining contention: pay increases, vacation time, union membership. Did management quake in its Timberlands when it saw that byline-free issue? It is not easy to think so. Nice.

Posted by at June 18, 2002 12:52 PM
Comments

I should add that I'd also include the Atlantic Monthly on my Desert Island subscription list.

Posted by: Matt Welch at June 18, 2002 01:50 PM

The last 2 sentences of the whole Menand article were most interesting. He says: "They (bylines) are little tokens of responsibility. They tell you that a person-not a committee or an institution-produced the words you are about to read, and is prepared to stand behind them."

Perhaps.

My take would be more jaundiced. However, those bylines could serve another purpose. That of markers for bloggers looking to measure, analyse...and rate...those newswriters whose frequency of value judgement statements and suppressed story elements are excessive, i.e. ANY.

And, we would all benefit from the denial of "cover" to many many ideological columnists that would come with more honest news writing.

Posted by: Stephen Skaggs at June 18, 2002 04:15 PM

Stephen -- I'm a fan of the name/responsibility thing, though one of my favorite publications (The Economist) is 95% anonymous. A niggling point -- "ideological columnists" usually have their name on columns, and are therefore outed. I suspect you mean to refer to ideological *reporters and editors*. It's a semantic point, but I have been reminded lately that some people (not you, necessarily) don't make a distinctwelch.com/cgi-bin/mt/mt-comments.cgi?__mode=red&id=77">Matt Welch at June 18, 2002 04:41 PM

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