Casting my eye over The Washington Post’s obituary page the other day, I came across this rather striking opening paragraph:

William Ringle, a chief Washington correspondent for Gannett News Service who nimbly covered foreign policy and national affairs and who was known for taking a dim view of opinion writing, died Sept. 5 at a retirement home in Davidson, NC. He was 88.

Odd, that. Imagine being a journalist of some distinction and having it put in the lead paragraph of your obituary that what you were “known for”—what, in a sense, your life amounted to and thus why you are afforded an obituary in one of the nation’s leading newspapers—was (a) your (presumably) figurative nimbleness and (b) your dim view of opinion writing. We can guess what the author, Adam Bernstein, was getting at. It was another if not very elegant way of saying that Mr. Ringle had...


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