Magazine

TWM

All magazines aspire to be factually accurate. Beyond that, their goals vary. Some claim and even actually try to be totally “objective,” eschewing all opinion or, as Newsweek used to claim years ago, separating fact from opinion. This is a futile goal (are you going to be objective and avoid any opinion about child molesting?),… Read more »

TWM

The problem with the more subjective elements in journalism today, in my view, is not inventiveness per se but cynicism. During the ’80s it became extremely unfashionable to believe in anything or anyone who had anything to do with political life. It was as if the slightest taint of hope or admiration, or of in… Read more »

TWM

Washington, December 7, 1941 – Ever since last week’s disclosure of wheelchair-bound President Roosevelt’s dalliance with social secretary Lucy Mercer, the President has been seeking to keep the country’s attention on the mounting threat to America’s overseas allies. Today was no exception to this public relations strategy, advisers say. Even though it was a Sunday,… Read more »

TWM

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 »

TWM

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 »

TWM

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 »

TWM

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 »

TWM

As an occasional participant in big-think conferences bemoaning the downward drift of contemporary journalism from its former Olympian heights, I can furrow my brow, sadly shake my head and invoke the sainted memory of Walter Lippmann and Edward R. Murrow with the best of them. But as adept as I am at the public rituals… 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 »

TWM

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 »