As a journalist and a reader of the New York Times, I find the whole Blair Affair to be maddening and sad. My wife, who like me started her career as a fact-checker at Forbes, keeps muttering that Blair wouldn’t have lasted three weeks under that rigorous regime.
But all the gleeful Times-bashing obscures the fact that by standards other than conservative political correctness, the Times remains not merely the best newspaper in the country, but the best by a large margin.
Unfortunately that speaks not only to the depth and intelligence of (most) Times coverage, but to the general crappiness of other major US papers. If you travel around the US and read the local rags, the lack of quality newspapers in big cities like, say, San Francisco is startling.
The Washington Post distinguishes itself in political coverage and is clearly a serious newspaper. Philly and Los Angeles and a few other big cities have good second-tier papers. The Wall Street Journal does great work on a limited range of subjects. But for consistent, serious coverage of real news, the Times is unchallenged.
Which is what makes this Blair thing -- for which some senior editor's head should roll -- so upsetting to those of us who aren’t gleeful over it.
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Paul Wolfowitz on our kind of democracy.
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The Salam Pax backlash begins.