At the major outlets that shape public discussion – The New York Times, The Washington Post, and the big three network news shows, say – the interesting issue may not be “objectivity,” but the simple fact that picking which stories to lead with or put on page 1 is an exercise of enormous and unaccountable… Read more »


Two imperatives in contemporary journalism are at war with one another. One imperative says: Be smart! Be analytic! Be like The Washington Monthly or The New Republic or The Weekly Standard! The other imperative says: Don’t say anything that will make your readers – or, more important, your sources – mad! Don’t lose significant leaks… Read more »


To my mind, the big problem with American journalism is not so much that it is snarky, or that opinions have crept into news stories, or that it is more often about attitude and showing off than about facts – though all of that strikes me as plainly true. Rather, it is that journalism –… Read more »


The problem is not just smart-alecky journalists who grind their axes on the front page. The tendentious numb-brained quality of much American journalism today is largely a product of its forms. Daily journalism is frozen in a set of rituals and conventions that preclude nuance and provide formalistic cover for lazy thinking and reporting. Ditch… Read more »

The Clinton-Lewinsky Obsession

Start with the Sunday morning barking heads, the high church that certifies each week what the political class is and ought to be talking about, issuing self-fulfilling prophecies for inside dopesters. Consider especially ABC’s “This Week,” where Cokie Roberts declared, on Jan. 25, 1998, with the Lewinsky story four days old, “There’s only one real… Read more »


Livingston’s collegial approach to governing, however, is unlikely to change the GOP’s policies of the last four years. Livingston and Gingrich may differ in style, but on political issues they see eye-to-eye: Both are pro-business, pro-defense, and anti-abortion southern Republicans. And if Gingrich often seemed a man at odds with himself, Livingston has his own… Read more »

At Home Abroad

In the early ’90s, American foreign service officers could not get enough of Mexican President Carlos Salinas. They marveled at his free-market economic reforms and vigorous promotion of the North American Free Trade Agreement. They were pleased he had done away with the Yanqu-go-home rhetoric that had long been a staple of Mexican politics. When… Read more »

The Other Side of Henry Hyde

Even those who acknowledge the extremism of his politics – he is, after all, the author of the Hyde Amendment, which restricts federal funds for abortions – have tended to brush it off by citing tributes to Hyde’s personal charm from such leftish opponents as Rep. Barney Frank and Kate Michelman of the National Abortion… Read more »

Lipstick Feminists

That’s a hard thing for me to admit, and a difficult word for me to use. But over the last few months, I’ve been horrified to hear a soprano chorus of “lipstick feminists” crow over the exploits of Monica the Power Babe. In one recent New York Times op-ed, headlined “Monica Lewinsky, Career Woman,” Katie… Read more »

A New Prescription

If, as conservatives and liberals agree, the most basic responsibility of government is to protect the public safety of its citizens, then the failure to treat and train the 1.2 million alcohol and drug abusers and addicts crowding America’s prisons is the nation’s most egregious display of public irresponsibility. In America crime and alcohol and… Read more »