A New York Times reader from Vermont used the “Talk to The Editor” feature at nytimes.com to ask the op-ed page editor, Andrew Rosenthal, the following question:

Q. I love the editorial page; it is the first thing I turn to in the morning. My question is as much of a comment as a question. I find it a bit peculiar that the two women columnists, Maureen Dowd and Gail Collins, are satirical and humorous. I adore their writing, and generally think they are spot on, but it is almost like you cannot get a “serious” woman columnist. Do you agree?

In other words: Where’s your Babs Herbert? Your Paula Krugman?

Doesn’t it sound like Rosenthal, in his very brief (defensive?) response, is answering a different question?

A. O.K., so I admit. I’m answering this because it’s a slow, hanging ball…I would be the last person alive to suggest that Maureen Dowd and Gail Collins are not serious columnists. They are indeed, very serious.

(h/t, Romenesko)

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Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.