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About My Column

    From July 3, 1994 until May 17, 2003, I wrote a weekly column for The Chapel Hill Herald, a subsidiary of The Durham Herald Sun newspaper. It was a sometimes exasperating experience, but often exhilarating, too. It was an interesting transition from journalism to opinion writing, but I loved it. For one thing, I felt that most columnists are inexcusably bland, giving us what I call “ping pong” opinions. They say on the one hand this and on the other hand that, and meanwhile they draw no conclusions. I took a stand and said some things in my column in the clearest most forthright language I could muster. I made lots of mistakes and admitted them, but I also spoke from the heart on issues that I truly cared about. What I enjoyed most was the exchange with readers, especially those who strongly disagreed with me. It was a genuine dialogue about the issues of our time which is too often missing in the newspapers of our day…and which is so desperately needed in these divisive and polarizing times. I was fired because of the May 17, 2003 column after an editor of the parent Durham paper claimed the column was not “local enough.” Please note, the column was about our senator, John Edwards. Please note, also, that much as I like and admire John Edwards, I fear he is not the man to take on George Bush. Howard Dean now seems the man of the hour; and he had the courage and integrity to speak out against this dreadful war in Iraq when it mattered. Let the record also show that instead of running my column, this Durham editor ran a column datelined “Rocky Mount, S.C.” (Repeat, S.C.) As I have often said of the Herald editors: The problem is not that they are right wing, the problem is that they are dumb.