Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Love's Leftovers and Veep's Duck & Weave

Valentine's Day Leftovers. Yesterday, I told you about that marvelous National Geographic cover story with the Valentine's Day theme. Here are two more great pieces I saw on the same subject.
One was from the Washington Post's Hank Stuever, who may well be without peers as a daily newspaper feature writer. Another came via a link from the formidable Bookslut: a lovely piece in the Seattle paper about how some enterprising Belgian librarians are using the lure of reading as a way to make libraries hubs for meeting dates. That sure beats getting matchmaker help from your Aunt Betty.

Will Cheney Also Have to Bar WaPo From Air Force II? A couple of years ago, the wider world learned from a Sunday Times Week in Review article what portions of the media no doubt knew for some time before: that New York Times correspondents were routinely barred from traveling directly with Vice President Dick Cheney on his official airplane. That raised lots of eyebrows, but it was also a point of pride with the paper. They just kept on covering him the same way (probably, at least subconsciously, even more thoroughly). But the question hung unspoken in the air: why weren't other papers similarly targetted? Had they been soft on the Veep by comparison?

The Washington Post, its traditional rival for bragging rights as the country's best paper (NYU prof Jay Rosen, prolific author of the influential Pressthink blog has famously argued that the Post is now actually in the lead) was once far more forgiving of this administration, especially in the early stages of its march to war. Lately, the paper that ultimately cooked Nixon's goose has done plenty of catching up about the Bush crowd's similar (or worse) abuses of power. This piece by longtime Post writer and editor David Ignatius puts the issues starkly. After noting some parallels between Ted Kennedy's Chappaquiddick incident and Cheney's failure to notify the world about his shooting, he ends this way: "When critics question the legality of the administration's actions, Bush and Cheney assert the commander in chief's power under Article II of the Constitution. When Congress passes a law forbidding torture, the White House appends a signing statement insisting that Article II -- the power of the commander in chief -- trumps everything else. When the administration's Republican friends suggest amending the wiretapping law to make its program legal, the administration refuses. Let's say it plainly: This is the arrogance of power, and it has gone too far in the Bush White House."

Meanwhile, columnist Eugene Robinson, who has been unmercifully pounding away at the White House's arrogance for months, blasts away again today. I think he draws more blood than most, because of the breezier, more conversational tone he can take as a metro columnist (and also because he's a skilled and brutally honest writer). I just hope the rest of the press continues to pound away on all of this arrogance. The health of the republic depends upon it.


At 2:38 PM, Blogger writelife said...

I like the bookslut, John! Great site, and I'm glad you made reference to it so I could bookmark that sl...

At 2:49 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

It's become a must-read for me almost daily, Kris. A great example of how one person can keep up with hundreds of important things, simply by going to a handful of sources that are truly comprehensive in what they look for (and link to) in their niche. And she finds some amazing stuff pretty routinely. She's a lot like you, in fact: late 20s/early 30s writer, working alone out of her (in her case Chicago) apartment, but increasingly finding a larger audience by paying attention to quality subjects and using her unique writing voice.

At 12:30 AM, Blogger Chris McVetta said...


Did you happen to see the current issue of "New Yorker" magazine with a cover story about blogs-?

Very good stuff!

At 10:27 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Actually, it was New York magazine that I think you're talking about. I'll link to and discuss that piece soon.


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