Wednesday, November 29, 2006

A Few Good Stories

A boring Boston Globe is saved by a fine front page article about the US Army’s efforts to develop new counter-insurgency strategies at the Army’s think tank at Fort Leavenworth. Atlantic Monthly subscribers can get some perspective on the role of Fort Leavenworth in the Army from Robert D. Kaplan’s superb 1996 essay about Fort Leavenworth.

Other goodies of the day:

Leftovers from Victor Davis Hanson’s speech at the Claremont Institute Churchill dinner are served today in Opinion Journal. Note:

And we need not only speak of threats to free speech, but also the tangible rewards from a terrified West to the agents of such repression. Note the recent honorary degree given to former Iranian President, Mohammad Khatami, whose regime has killed and silenced so many, and who himself is under investigation by the Argentine government for his role in sponsoring Hezbollah killers to murder dozens of Jewish innocents in Buenos Aires.

Bostonians will recall that during Khatami's recent tour he was met with adulation in Cambridge. Even when he made a statement of support for the execution of homosexuals, it was politely received without any protest at Harvard and without any mention in the Boston Globe, and the impolite conservative who insisted on asking such an awkward question was not allowed to detract from the foolish giddyness of the moment when the best and the brightest had the opportunity to honor a member of George W Bush's Axis of Evil.

Finally Holman Jenkins in the WSJ (subscription) comments on the current troubles of newspapers, including the Globe:

And what was once the local paper's impregnable strength -- owning a printing press, barrels of ink and fleets of delivery trucks -- has become a mere legacy cost. Now the industry's crisis is palpably accelerating. Various straws on the breeze -- from Jack Welch's bid for the deeply ailing Boston Globe, to the firing of the L.A. Times leadership over refusal to make job cuts, to the Chandler family's call to break up Tribune Co. -- whisper that the day will soon be upon us when a significant newspaper abandons newsprint altogether, except perhaps for a commuter edition providing an abbreviated sample of the main product, to be found online.

The [Chicago Tribune] also led in dealing with what is delicately called the culture problem. Less delicately, the self-image of many journalists is wrapped up in writing about subjects that readers aren't interested in, especially national and international news already available elsewhere. Sadly, this may require a generational culling of newsroom personnel -- making way for younger people who are prepared to believe you can write about a local school board or pizza shop with the same intelligence and insight that you can Congress or Enron.

Jenkins is politely saying that certain journalists are insufferably arrogant.

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