Plain Dealer Right Winger Kevin O'Brien is Taking a Buyout

Right-wing Plain Dealer deputy editorial page director Kevin O'Brien, he of the strenuous climate change denials and assorted jingoisms too dim and troglodytic to bother summarizing, will soon be gone.

PD Editor and President George Rodrigue confirmed by email that O'Brien was one of "a handful" of managers to take a voluntary buyout.

"I’ll miss him as a colleague," Rodrigue wrote. "He’s a very capable editor, a forceful writer, and a great human being."

(Perhaps we would do well to recall the odd-couple friendship between Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Antonin Scalia: “If you can’t disagree ardently with your colleagues about some issues ... and yet personally still be friends, get another job, for Pete’s sake,” Scalia once remarked. Maybe that's as true in the newsroom as it is in the courthouse?)

O'Brien has long been the paper's older white male screaming his "opinions" in the direction of the deepest, dumbest suburbs, opinions so wrongheaded and destitute of logic and citation that Scene, in the mid-aughts, began a column devoted to his work. "The O'Brien Factor," it was called: We read Kevin O'Brien so you don't have to.

Our derision of O'Brien — much like the mockery by other outlets of tuneless racists and corporate goons who dot the editorial pages of mid-market dailies around the country — has been a staple of Cleveland's alternative media for years. So in the respect that we'll be losing a piece of very low-hanging fruit, we, too, will miss him. In general, we share the view of attorney Richard Herman, who respected O'Brien's First Amendment rights to rant and rave, but questioned the Plain Dealer's motives in publishing him.

“Would you publish an Op-Ed by L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling that explained why African Americans are inferior to others,” inquired Herman in 2014, after an unsavory column by O'Brien about illegal immigration, “simply because he believed in this viewpoint?”

O'Brien was joined — dangling on the leeward branches of conservatism's outermost trees — by former "Reader Representative" Ted Diadiun. Diadiun will continue his Forum section crusades, though it's unlikely that even he will adopt O'Brien's favorite position: Climate Change is Fake Because Today it's Cold Outside.

"[O'Brien] is not our only conservative columnist," George Rodrigue wrote, when questioned about potential issues of editorial balance in the wake of O'Brien's departure. "We will continue to offer that local conservative point of view through other writers."
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About The Author

Sam Allard

Sam Allard is the Senior Writer at Scene, in which capacity he covers politics and power and writes about movies when time permits. He's a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and the NEOMFA at Cleveland State. Prior to joining Scene, he was encamped in Sarajevo, Bosnia, on an...
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