College Guide


September 28, 2009 2:20 PM Professor Noonan? No Thanks

By Randolph Brickey

She always sounds like this, no matter the subject. Noonan never conveys any actual content. Instead, she communicates a feeling. It’s a droning ambiance, the promise that no matter what happens, everything’s gonna be okay. If whatever issue were really and truly dire, then of course Noonan wouldn’t even be there, because her very presence demonstrates that we’re not taking it seriously. She is simply incompatible with relevance and urgency.

There is certainly a lot for a prospective journalist or political writer to learn from Peggy Noonan. She is a case study on insubstantial journalism and on how to build a successful career as a political flack pretending to be a journalist. But I really can’t figure out what Harvard’s IOP was thinking bringing her on as a teaching fellow. With print journalism in free fall and cable TV news degenerating into a cannibalistic exercise in gimmicky brinksmanship, graduate programs need to think long and hard about how they train incoming generations of journalists. Professor Noonan is not going to cut it.

Randolph Brickey is an attorney in solo practice in Northern Virginia.


  • mars on September 28, 2009 10:43 PM:

    I'd rather chew my own dick off than take a class with this crank.

  • AndrewJ on September 29, 2009 6:51 AM:

    If Noonan were liberal or apolitical, that syllabus alone should have kicked her to the curb. Ostensibly, a college syllabus should focus on the student and their responsibilities, not the instructor and their charmed circle of friends. (And I'm sorry, but if I'd turned in that syllabus as a middle school assignment, my teacher would have circled �What It Is to Write A book?� and written "See me after class" next to it.)

    Harvard has apparently internalized decades of right-wing criticism and said to itself, "We'd better hire a conservative fellow to teach journalism -- qualifications be damned -- lest we seem too much part of the Liberal Elite."

  • BG on September 29, 2009 11:33 AM:

    Thanks Randolph, you nailed her. Listening to her gibberish and pretentious bullcrap on "This Week with GS" is even worse than reading her columns.

  • Wayne Gretzky on July 22, 2010 3:09 PM:

    Thanks Randy. Very insight full.

  • Benno on July 23, 2010 11:08 AM:

    Well said. Noonan is a hack of the highest caliber.

  • Alfred on October 18, 2010 1:57 PM:

    I was reading Peggy Noonan article on Chile`s Miners tragedy and I can say that her writing is deplorable, hard to read and follow. How could the WS Journal approve such an article? Mind boggling!!

  • LOLZ on February 11, 2011 12:24 AM:

    "This is really bad writing." Pot called the kettle black lately?

  • independentthinker on February 11, 2011 9:44 AM:

    Tell us how you really feel Mr. Brickey...or maybe you can tell us what presidential speeches you have worked on or maybe the last book that hit the shelves with your name on it? Sounds like a liberal sour grapes review to me, and a rather immature one at that.