Praxis Circle’s Newest Contributor: Ross Mackenzie, Genuine Journalist!

Praxis Circle

is a nonprofit that helps its members build their worldview primarily through courses and thought-provoking interviews of our many contributors. We are delighted to welcome our newest Expert Contributor Ross Mackenzie, former editorial-page editor of The Richmond Times-Dispatch!

As the editor of the Editorial Page for almost forty years and as a syndicated columnist, Ross wrote over 22,000 editorials and columns. The Washington Post even once called him “the most feared journalist in Virginia” due to his “fearless” style.

Our interview with Ross is wide-ranging and insightful, moving from his education and the influences on his life and work, through his views on everything from communism to the impact of the 1960’s on the U.S. today, and closing with the revelation of whether he is optimistic or pessimistic about America’s future. For those of you who are worried that America is going over a cliff, Ross offers comfort with his observations about how things really haven’t changed much in certain important ways since the 1980’s.

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On the other hand, he also believes that we might be at a critical tipping point, if not negotiated well, as the nation has from other tight spots in the past, that could lead to true big government “fascism” (our word) . . . and what that might be like.

Of particular interest is his commentary on traditional journalism, the state of journalism today, and the newspaper industry in the past and at present. Ross isolates the exact point in time over the last ten years that led to the sea changes we see today in journalism and in reporting in all American media. His deep experience in professional journalism allows him to provide insights that many others do not have—below are links to three featured clips from his interview on the topic:

What about journalism today?

How did the old newspaper model work?

What changed in journalism and when?

Still a master wordsmith, even off the cuff, Ross describes his graduate study under the famed Dr. Leo Strauss as their effort to “reconcile how to have order without oppression” with “liberty that is not license.” He also provides an especially cogent explanation about how we form our worldview and how he attained his.

Ross’s life is not only centered on his journalistic career, but also on his family life and the importance of “home.” He explains how a “concept of place” is so important in determining “how our lives are going to unfold,” not unlike another of our Expert Contributors, Roger Scruton, who coined the term “oikophilia,” or “love of home.”

Ross provides a delightful description of Rivendell, his family’s cabin in Michigan, where they spent part of every summer. No running water, no electricity, and accessible only by boating or swimming across a small river, the Mackenzie family was able to develop strong ties both to nature and a profound sense of place in it. It is also the location of Ross’s recent death-defying experience—an amazing story he also shares in his interview.

To watch Ross’s full interview with Praxis Circle, click here. You can also find our other interviews and worldview resources by visiting our website at

This content was sponsored by Praxis Circle.

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21 responses to “Praxis Circle’s Newest Contributor: Ross Mackenzie, Genuine Journalist!”

  1. Peter Galuszka Avatar
    Peter Galuszka

    Mackenzie was anything but an “objective” journalist. He was an editorial writer with very strong conservative views.
    Amusing that he talks about the “lack of objectivity’ at the NYT and WaPo but leaves out Fix News and Breitbart. One thing the media started doing is reporting that if Trump tells yet another outrageous lie, they label it as false.

    1. LarrytheG Avatar

      yep, pretty apparent in that video and then googling him.

      but the whole idea of having a group of “smart” people “help”one better understand the world with their views doesn’t strike me as particularly useful. One can do that on their own and not be limited by others curating opinion.

      And the selection of this guy demonstrates why IMHO.

      I’m not sure he really understands what happened to print news when he says people started getting their “news” on the internet which is more of a consequence of the failure of the Ad model than a reason why folks abandoned print news for onilne , again IMHO.

      So no, I don’t need him “helping” me “understand” things… sorry…

    2. vicnicholls Avatar

      There’s a difference between ‘lack of objectivity’ and telling the truth/facts that others want to label ‘misinformation’ because it doesn’t fit the narrative/world view.

    3. Hmmm…
      I guess you and Larry have the same rigid only approved sources for news?
      Journalist vs editor? Opinion columns are to express opinion. Frontpage news is supposed to be accurate – who what when where why… (or something like that)
      Please list Trump’s “outrageous lies”
      Then apply the same standard to the Puppet President currently in office, such as being at Tree of Life synagogue, his academic performance, his wife was killed by a drunk driver (not true and it tormented the truck driver until his death)…. I think America is back deleted “on its” from the election and post-election narrative…
      Meanwhile, how come your “approved” sources fell for an ivermectin killing people story that ranked as big a hoax as Duke lacrosse and UVA Phi Psi gang rape?
      Isn’t it “strange” how the incredibly wrong stories all support a Leftist narrative?
      Here is the Rolling Stone article, which I am sure the “approved” sites haven’t spent a lot of time on…

      And look how many “blue check” “real” journalists repeated a 100% false story –
      One phone call could have verified this. Would Mackenzie have allowed such an error?
      Yeah…those are objective journalists, not Leftist tools…

      Meanwhile, how come Alex Berenson got a 5th strike from Twitter for his Covid reporting, and the first 4 strikes have been proved true (wanna take a bet on the truth of Strike 5?)?

      1. LarrytheG Avatar

        well, no, the whole idea of “approved” or “curated” is bogus and really is a problem for some folks who gravitate to who they think are “smart people” in the first place.

        I’m not saying ignore “smart people” but for gawd sake don’t use them to form your own views… geeze..

        1. You have a point? Whom or what do you use as a basis for making decisions (besides your blind and misplaced trust of the CDC)?
          If a smart person makes comments or writes essays, we are to ignore those and form our own views first? Then deny or suppress anyone asserting a different view?
          Quid est veritas?

          1. LarrytheG Avatar

            No misplaced trust in the CDC, I’ll choose them anyway over the “smart people” who have no academic knowledge or actual experience in a field or even over one guy who does have credentials but 9 others with credentials don’t agree with him.

            No suppression. Just ignore.

            If you tell lies and spew disinformation and if violates terms of service, then you got what you deserve. No one has to give you a platform to spew lies.

          2. Larry – not trying to be mean. You comment repeatedly and say nothing.
            On what do you base your decisions? Do you have a worldview outside of repeating what the mainstream media says? Can you ever answer a substantive comment with substance, or do we have to just become used to to “I trust the experts and not the wacadoodles and anybody saying anything else is spewing misinformation and should be censored?”
            Smart people once said the world was flat.
            Galileo was put under house arrest for concluding that the Earth circled the Sun…contrary to Catholic doctrine at the time. It takes one person to ask a hard question. Questions are good. If you can’t answer the question posed, then people (like me) conclude what you are saying isn’t true.
            I think it safe to say your “religion” is whatever MSNBC says to believe that day. That’s a false religion.

        2. Matt Adams Avatar

          “I’m not saying ignore “smart people” but for gawd sake don’t use them to form your own views… geeze..”

          So ignore the entire premise of formulating an educated opinion? Are we to conclude you formulate yours based upon your own dogmatic principles alone? Ironically, that would coincide with how often you’re wrong.

          So thanks for the insight.

          1. Larry is right. He has shown me the error of my ways. Throughout my entire professional life I have allowed a “smart person” to influence, nay, control, my views and ideas about physics.

            Instead of relying on my own brain, instead of developing my own models and equations for estimating the effects of mass, force and acceleration on the objects in the world around us, I have spent my career as an engineer using the models he developed.

            What a waste; and what a fool I have been to allow the views of just one man, Sir Isaac Newton, to have such an influence on my life…

          2. Matt Adams Avatar

            That Newton fella sure has been a bane on my existence as well. He ranks right up there with Georg Ohm, I also now see the error of my ways.

          3. There are a lot of “smart people” whose ideas civil engineers should ignore in favor of our own. These include Archimedes, Robert Boyle, Osborne Reynolds, Blaise Pascal, Henri dePitot, Antoine Chezy, Giovanni Venturi, Henri Darcy, Julius Weisbach, Robert Manning, William Froude and Lewis Moody, to name just a few.

            Those guys were all smart. They had their own ideas and thoughts about accurately modeling physics and fluid dynamics in the real world. The work these “smart people” did based on their ideas led to some amazingly accurate models and methods for describing some complex processes.

            But all that is irrelevant. I see now that I should never have allowed their “smartness” to influence me. I should have stood on my own, using my thoughts and ideas to develop methods and methodologies which work for me

          4. Matt Adams Avatar

            I’d venture that without Wikipedia our intrepid “science” fella wouldn’t know who have those chaps are.

  2. Peter Galuszka Avatar
    Peter Galuszka


    (1) I never said I disrespected Mackenzie.He was formidable.

    (2) There are many forms of journalism. You list only two — straight journalism101, the five questions and an inverted pyramid style, and opinion. One of one is useful but old. There is analysis. In 1986 I started writing for a news magazine and had to learn another form. Stories had to have a “story line” or line of reasoning so they didn’t go all over the place. You had to write to very specific lengths.
    (3) Trump’s lies? Thirty thousand? Where to start?
    (4) Ivermectin? I know little about and have written nothing about it. Please show me where I used “approved” sources. I don’t know much about the Duke guys and I have written critically about the Rolling Stone story at UVA.

    1. So what is wrong with an opinion that you disagree with?
      Story line journalism? Did that become the “narrative?”
      Just give me 10 Trump lies and apply the same standards to Joe?
      Ivermectin is the recent Rolling Stone hoax. All the blue checks ran with it. Obvious hoax. One phone call would have confirmed that. Sort of like when I read the UVA rape story. If she was raped by 7 guys on top of broken glass…how could this NOT be known? Anyway, you may disagree with Mackenzie, but I will bet you as editor nothing so egregious as UVA rape or the Rolling Stone ivermectin would have made it out.
      As to approved sources, I thought you were heading into Larry’s usual trusted sources routine…
      I’m glad you are back commenting. Not sure I agree with the concept or idea of story line journalism…that sounds more like blogs… I would like some source that was scrupulous about being being accurate.

      1. LarrytheG Avatar

        re: “trusted sources” and “smart people”

        Sources that don’t have a reputation for lying or promoting misinformation and individuals who have the appropriate academic background and work experience consistent that are part and parcel of their opinions and thoughts.

        There are also “smart people” who have no academic background or work experience behind what they are offering their opinion about.

        I do differentiate between those who have the academic background, work experience, don’t have a reputation of lying or spreading disinformation and others in the same field consider them authoritative and trustable.

        Every person, every source should be vetted along these criteria.

        Even folks who have background and experience can be and sometimes ARE wrong and that’s why you want to know what others in that same field with appropriate credntials think.

        The phrase “smart people”describes people who are known, may be personalities, may actually be “smart” and/or even have credentials but not in the field for which they are opining and offering their views.

        e.g. a guy with a PHD in plate tectonics or even an MD commenting on COVID… etc…

        Vett the sources.

        1. Which you do not do.
          Remember Dr. St. Fau(x)ci, current medical czar?
          If The Intercept gets FOIA docs showing Dr. St. Fau(x)ci funded gain of function research in Wuhan, will you believe it now?
          You don’t vet the CDC – you lap it up and pretend to be a neutral arbiter.
          How come the (totally false) Ivermectin overdose filling Oklahoma hospitals came out after Joe Rogan’s podcast where he beat back Covid in a few days using the ivermectin protocol? Why are we wedded to vaccines only? When they aren’t working as originally sold? Ever heard of regulatory capture? Is it possible Dr. St. Fau(x)ci is owned by Big Pharma like SlowJoe is owned by China? Is it possible Afghanistan wasn’t incompetence, but intentional? Is it wrong of me to ask questions?
          How came hospital systems and pharmacies are extremely reluctant to prescribe HCQ and ivermectin? Are they saving lives or killing people? (That one is not just rhetorical – they are killing people.) Did you know the FDA recently amended the PREP Act (we have too many agencies and ability to hide things) to not provide a liability shield to medical systems/doctors who do not follow FDA officially approved remedies for Covid? The effect of this is to chill doctors using a therapeutic approach. WHY? I am to believe the CDC when it tweets out to quit taking a horse de-wormer, when the WHO has labeled ivermectin an essential drug and is just as much a medicine used on humans? How come the Pfizer pill has a protease inhibitor? You wanna know what else is a protease inhibitor? It begins with an “i” and ends with “mectin.”
          Back to Ross Mackenzie – he was a real journalist. Opinion was stated as opinion. News was kept as news – no false stories. We need to return to that.

          And I was a history major, so I don’t know squat, right Larry?

          1. LarrytheG Avatar

            Pubius, Fuaci is a real doctor with real credentials and which most others in that field consider him to be an authority.

            It does not mean he is perfect or has not made mistakes but he is far superior to the folks who would not believe him but instead believe folks who have little or no background including folks who spew anti-govt , anti-science rhetoric and conspiracy theories and the like.

            You might be a history major – but you seem to know more about conspiracies and disinformation and what-about-isms on steroids than facts and realities, IMHO. It sounds a lot like the echo chamber to be honest.

  3. DJRippert Avatar

    Interesting that this column was apparently sponsored content. Nothing wrong with that in my opinion. However, it’s the first time I remember seeing an article labeled “sponsored”.

    1. If there’s anyone else out there willing to pay for sponsored content, let me know!

      1. LarrytheG Avatar

        this is the Front Page of the Free Lance Star with a banner for a sponsored concert series:

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