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Showing posts from January, 2024

Is Nikki Haley Working on a Take-Down of Trump?

  Every now and then I like to engage in a bit of speculation. Not prediction, mind you, but something hopefully less presumptuous. In this case, I’ve been musing about Nikki Haley’s path forward, if she has one. Not whether she’ll win the nomination, which is unlikely. I’m more interested in her potential as an irritant, as a person ideally positioned to tamper with Trump’s fragile psyche. She now has the unmistakable opportunity to attack Trump from inside the Fox media bubble, something few have been able to do. Haley just might be the focus of a novel strategy that does two things at once: It holds the door open for the slim chance she has of winning the nomination this summer, while at the same time, it lays the groundwork for a 2028 run at the presidency. Given the debased state of today’s Republican party, this is surely as good a strategy as any, though it risks doing more for Joe Biden than for her. More on this later. For now, let’s presume that ther

The Mainstream Media Continues to Disappoint

  Since I began this blog in 2020, one of my obsessions has been the culpability of the press in our current political predicament. Given the stakes we face this year, I feel we all need to be reminded that these mainstream news organizations are necessary, but not sufficient. Accordingly, I am revisiting this piece, which I wrote last May, because it’s particularly illustrative of the problem, especially in its depiction of The Washington Post’s shameful spinning of the final Durham Report.   The awkward term "both-siderism" has, at long last, stepped into the limelight, thanks to the graceful gravitas of CNN icon Christiane Amanpour (full disclosure: our dog used to play with her dog). In one brilliant commencement address , to the Columbia School of Journalism, she dope-slapped her own profession and, indeed, her own boss, both of whom richly deserved it. That takes guts, not to mention a reputation for integrity. Both of which she has in abundance.

Between Now and Labor Day, It’s All Mostly Noise

  This year, it will be really hard to separate the signal from the noise. Between the day-to-day hunger for breaking news and the controversy required to feed it, the noise will be deafening and the signal faint. It will be up to us to tease out the real from the fake, the relevant from the immaterial, the rational from the make-believe. We won’t get much help from the press, who are busy working the noise for all the eyeballs they can grab. But those of us who pay attention would do well to remember that most voters won’t be thinking about any of this until September. Most voters will go into this election underinformed, misinformed, and disinformed about almost everything — as always — but most of that won’t start taking hold until Labor Day. When they finally tune in, I think — or hope — they’ll have perceived, albeit dimly, some sense of what’s at stake. They can’t help but notice that the differences between the candidates — and between their parties — a

How the Media Makes Good News Feel Bad

  Economics is not everybody’s favorite subject. That sentence alone could send readers running for the exits. Not that they don’t think economics is important, just that it’s too arcane to get their brains around, and too boring to want to try. Sort of like epidemiology. But in a year as consequential as this one, it’s worth paying attention to economics, at least tangentially. Because as the election approaches, a deluge of both misinformation (another word for ‘wrong’) and disinformation (another word for ‘lying’) will be competing for our attention. Both parties will be trying to leverage the economy to their advantage — Democrats by touting it, Republicans by trashing it. The most pain-free way I know to follow economic issues — and their effects on politics — is to read Paul Krugman in The New York Times. Few Nobel Prize winners are as adept as he at making complex subject matter readily digestible to mere mortals. I do not hold him responsible for the si

Robert Kennedy is Not in Touch with Reality

  At the urging of a friend, I recently listened to an hour-long interview with Robert F. Kennedy Jr. I’m not sure why she wanted me to hear it, but she seemed both alarmed at, and intrigued by, some of the points he was trying to make. Given how he has insinuated himself into the next election — the wildest of wild-card presidential candidates — I felt obliged to listen. Mostly, I found it sad. To start with, it was on the podcast of Danica Patrick. Yes, that Danica Patrick, whose iconic status as a race car driver does not readily translate to an unrelated field like, say, presidential politics. Rather, she reveals herself to be quite the plastic ditz, with absolutely nothing meaningful to contribute to what amounted to a Kennedy monologue. She did manage some less-than-seamless editing, including a few clumsy non sequiturs that inserted Formula 1 racing, shamelessly, into the conversation. But as for Kennedy himself, all I could think was how far down he’d