US political theater as riveting as the debt-default negotiation doesn’t come along very often. The Senate Watergate hearings, in 1973. The House Judiciary Committee impeachment proceedings, in 1974. The Army-McCarthy hearings, in the summer of 1954. The Clinton impeachment shenanigans of 1998 and their anticlimax in 1999 never came close to this level.
EP spent the weekend with the newspapers and magazines.
It is true that developments nowadays break first on the Web and quickly acquire significance there; true, too, that nothing is more powerful than live television when it occurs (the budget negotiations are being conducted behind closed doors, the parties go before the cameras afterwards).
But it’s when the news has been ratified by the finitude of print that developments acquire their real meaning. Then the 24-hour cycle begins anew.
After experimentally getting by with the digital version of The New York Times for two weeks, I’ve subscribed – under protest – to home delivery. And recognizing the increased scrutiny that the Rupert Murdoch media empire deserves, I’ve added the paper edition of The Wall Street Journal as well. The WSJ editorial page that the late Robert Bartley revitalized, starting in 1972, still sells newspapers. How has it changed under Muroch? It’s worth reading the paper more carefully to find out.