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The Backstory To The Putin Op-Ed Article In New York Times

September 13, 2013

Interesting.

Mr. Rosenthal agreed to review the article and quickly decided to publish it. It was posted on the Times Web site by Wednesday evening.

“I thought it was well-written, well-argued,” he said. “I don’t agree with many of the points in it, but that is irrelevant.”

“Syria is a huge story and Putin is a central figure in it,” giving the piece great news value, he said. It has created a major stir, including plenty of criticism. Richard Murphy of Fairfield, Conn., wrote to me Thursday with harsh words for The Times’s decision to publish it. He described himself as “horrified” and said that The Times was “aiding and abetting a long-term foe of the United States.”

Mr. Rosenthal rejects that argument.

“There is no ideological litmus test” for an Op-Ed article, he said. In addition, he said, it is not the purpose of the Op-Ed pages to help or hurt the American government. It is to present a variety of interesting and newsworthy points of view, at least some of which will be contrary to The Times’s own point of view, expressed in its editorials.

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