I’m sure I’m not the only one who has been chagrined by some of the things we’ve seen in the past several years from newsweeklies like Time and Newsweek. Last week’s Obama cover story in Newsweek was only the most recent case in point for the broad decline in standards (and if Andrew Sullivan didn’t jump the shark with his Iraq War coverage – on both sides! – or his Palin Derangement Syndrome, then he surely did with this fawning story. Will Wilkinson’s excellent piece on Sullivan’s Obamaphilia seems to nail part of Sullivan’s problem and reminded me a bit of Bellow on Bloom in Ravelstein).
But this isn’t a Time or a Newsweek specific problem even though Tina Brown probably best represents this era. There has been a widespread decline in general news and opinion journalism.
That all being said, Newsweek brings us a blast of fresh air this week with an adult issue that deserves our praise. Most impressively, it has a fascinating cover story on the multiverse that is an example of the kind of general interest journalism that doesn’t pander to its lay readers’ baser desires or affections but appeals to their loftiest intellectual needs. That article alone would merit our attention and kudos. But there is also an informative piece on Cronkite (with nuggets of information I’d never heard before), a sobering discussion of the high suicide rates in the GWOT military by none other than Jarhead‘s Anthony Swofford, and more.
Three cheers for Newsweek – this week!