Update (February 14, 2022): The “Children Editors” at the Washington Post and the New York Times

February 14, 2022

Because of the “Children Editors” who have been left in charge of the online editions of the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and the Washington Post, the most authoritative and timely articles related to the Ukraine are not always prominently displayed, or even findable, in the digital or online editions of these newspapers. The fact that it is hard to find Michael R. Gordon’s authoritative account of the Russian forces encircling the Ukraine, even with the listing of Max Rust as an additional auth since the original version was published, dramatically makes this point. While Gordon’s article is listed as one of five links below another story with a different headline, tge fact that it is not prominately displayed with a headline indicating its importance only underlines the fact that the “Children Editors” in charge of the layout of the online edition have no clue as to what is important, virtually no ability to distinguish between “the latest” and “the significant”.


Michael R. Gordon Max Rust, “Russian Buildup Near Ukraine Features Potent Weapons Systems, Well-Trained Troops; The forces give Moscow the means to attack Ukraine from multiple directions but aren’t sufficient to occupy the entire country,”
Wall Street Journal, February 14, 2022 (1:58 pm ET).

Journalists like James Reston, Anthony Lake, and Tom Wicker at the New York Times, and David Broder at the Washington Post, must be turning over in their graves.


January 30, 2022

The “Children Editors” at the Washington Post digital edition did not see fit to publish any story today on the current situation regarding Russia’s threatened invasion of Ukraine, and the U.N. Security Council meeting convened for tomorrow to take up the issue. The only Ukraine story is a background piece–like a front-lines TV dispatch–about the residents of Kharkiv and soldiers on the frontier not far away.

The Washington Post and the New York Times are newspapers on which decision makers rely for up-to-date information to assist them in making foreign policy decisions.

One cannot avoid the conclusion that the digital edition of the Washington Post has been left to the unchecked caprice of its “children editors”.

With the world entering a crisis comparable to the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, there was not one op-ed opinion on Ukraine in the digital edition, as of 5:00 p.m ET on Sunday, January 30, 2022.

If the editors at the Washington Post cannot discern what is significant and important, how can we expect citizens or even government officials to do so?

The original article, published on December 20, 2021 and updated on January 15, 2022, is reproduced below:



David Ignatius, “The Biden administration weighs backing Ukraine insurgents if Russia invades,” Washington Post, December 19, 2021

The “Children Editors” at the Washington Post and the New York Times, who are apparently now in charge of their digital editions and Opinion content, can’t distinguish between what is important and what simply appeals to their own uneducated minds.

A prime example is offered today by the Children Editors at the Washinton Post.  David Ignatius, one of the leading opinion writers in the country on foreign policy and intelligence matters, with unparalled access to inside government sources, wrote a highly informative article describing the thinking in the Biden Administration about how to deter Vladimir Putin and Russia from invading Ukraine. The article includes consideration of potential steps by the U.S. and its allies to deter Putin that are under active consideration.

The article was posted on the Post’s website at 5:57 p.m. on December 19, and presumably published in today’s December 20 paper edition.

But after a few hours, it was no longer to be seen on the Post’s digital edition.

The Children Editors probably don’t know who David Ignatius is, or what all the fuss about Russia and Ukraine is all about.

The Children Editors are in charge of the digital edition, and presumably none of the senior editors at the Washington Post are aware of what’s going on, or care.  Maybe the Children Editors have taken over the positions of some of these senior editors.

This problem has become even more acute at the Washington Post since the death and absence of Fred Hiatt, who for many years did an admirable job managing the Post’s opinion page.

What is the point of having an outstanding opinion writer like David Ignatius, if the Children Editors are left free to discard his valuable reporting and insights?

The Trenchant Observer

Recent examples and updates:

1) January 15, 2022

An excellent overview of the Ukraine crisis and NATO relations with Russia by Steven Erlanger, the chief diplomatic correspondent of the New York Times in Europe, was published in the paper on January 14, 2022.

Unfortunately, it was not prominently displayed, and is nowhere to be found in the January 15 digital edition. The Observer reads the Times closely every day, and in these times with a particular eye out for news about Ukraine. I didn’t see the article yesterday, and only found it today through an Internet search for “Ukraine”.


Steven Erlanger, “Fear of Russia Brings New Purpose and Unity to NATO, Once Again; After years of drift, Trumpian ridicule and failure in Afghanistan, Russian demands for a new Iron Curtain in Europe have created unity in the alliance, at least for now,” New York Times, January 14, 2022.

Subscribers to the NYT like me deserve access to an exact replica of each printed daily edition, preferably the e-edition, at no additional cost. France’s Le Monde offers this service. The New York Times should too.

The Times needs to put editors in charge of the digital edition who understand what is truly significant in each day’s news, including in particular the international news.

The Times used to be a newspaper which had some claim to its motto “All the News that’s fit to Print”. This is no longer the case. It has become a kind of general interest magazine. At least they ought to print–AND DISPLAY IN THE DIGITAL EDITION–the salient news dispatches from their own reporters.

The Trenchant Observer

About the Author

James Rowles
"The Trenchant Observer" is edited and published by James Rowles (aka "The Observer"), an author and international lawyer who has taught International Law, Human Rights, and Comparative Law at major U.S. universities, including Harvard, Brandeis, the University of Pittsburgh, and the University of Kansas. Dr. Rowles is a former staff attorney at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) of the Organization of American States OAS), in Wasington, D.C., , where he was in charge of Brazil, Haiti, Mexico and the United States, and also worked on complaints from and reports on other countries including Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Guatemala. As an international development expert, he has worked on Rule of Law, Human Rights, and Judicial Reform in a number of countries in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, and the Russian Federation. In the private sector, Dr. Rowles has worked as an international attorney for a leading national law firm and major global companies, on joint ventures and other matters in a number of countries in Europe (including Russia and the Ukraine), throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, and in Australia, Indonesia, Vietnam, China and Japan. The Trenchant Observer blog provides an unfiltered international perspective for news and opinion on current events, in their historical context, drawing on a daily review of leading German, French, Spanish and English newspapers as well as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and other American newspapers, and on sources in other countries relevant to issues being analyzed. Dr. Rowles speaks fluent English, French, German, Portuguese and Spanish, and also knows other languages. He holds an S.J.D. or Doctor of Juridical Science in International Law from Harvard University, and a Doctor of Law (J.D.) and a Master of the Science of Law (J.S.M.=LL.M.), from Stanford University. As an undergraduate, he received a Bachelor of Arts degree, also from Stanford, where he graduated “With Great Distinction” (summa cum laude) and received the James Birdsall Weter Prize for the best Senior Honors Thesis in History. In addition to having taught as a Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School, Dr. Rowles has been a Visiting Scholar at Harvard University's Center for International Affairs (CFIA). His fellowships include a Stanford Postdoctoral Fellowship in Law and Development, the Rómulo Gallegos Fellowship in International Human Rights awarded by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and a Harvard MacArthur Fellowship in International Peace and Security. Beyond his articles in The Trenchant Observer, he is the author of two books and numerous scholarly articles on subjects of international and comparative law. Currently he is working on a manuscript drawing on some the best articles that have appeared in the blog.