Mar 2, 2015, Vol. 20, No. 24 • By THE SCRAPBOOK
In an earlier life, The Scrapbook worked at the Washington Times under the storied foreign correspondent Arnaud de Borchgrave, whose long career at Newsweek was already the stuff of legend when he became editor in chief of the Times in 1985. As an underdog, upstart, scrappy competitor of the Washington Post, the Times had an eccentric newsroom in those days. There were some solid professionals surrounded by the very young (including this writer), and the very old, wannabes and has-beens, oddballs, obsessives, and even a brilliant crackpot or two.
The ideal newsroom dynamic, in The Scrapbook’s experience, can be compared to a nuclear reactor, with a little bit of fissile material, typically the aggressive young reporters out to make a name for themselves, surrounded by a lot of control rods, to keep the thing from blowing up or melting down.
Arnaud turned this relationship on its head: He was pure energy. If there was danger ahead, his instinct was to step on the accelerator, hard, and never hit the brakes. This could make for interesting editorial meetings, with the subordinate sometimes trying to figure out some politic way to rein in the boss.
The Scrapbook particularly remembers when Arnaud, in early 1989, scored an interview with the just-inaugurated President Bush and solicited questions from a few of us. Our ideas were so boring we don’t recall them now; Arnaud, on the other hand, with a twinkle in his eye, said he was going to ask the president about German reunification. At the time—almost a year before the Berlin Wall fell—this struck us as pure fantasy, if not science fiction, and a waste of valuable time with the new president. We may even have rolled our eyes. Arnaud, being Arnaud, of course went right ahead.
After the Wall came down that November, we reminded him of his prescience, but he deflected all credit. He confided that Vernon Walters—an old friend of Arnaud whom Bush had named ambassador to West Germany—suspected that the East Bloc was about to come unglued and that the administration was not sufficiently prepared for such a momentous event. He had suggested to Arnaud that he ask Bush the question, in hopes of provoking more imaginative thinking within the national security apparatus about scenarios that, as it happened, became reality sooner than almost anyone had anticipated.
That was Arnaud to a tee—unbelievably well-plugged-in, with access to the highest levels of government, putting his access to maximum use. He died last week, at 88, not the last of a breed, as some of the obituarists put it, but one of a kind.
1:49 PM, Apr 29, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
The Newsweek/Daily Beast owner, Barry Diller, shared his regrets today on Bloomberg TV:
Before Tina Brown, there were problems at ‘Newsweek.’Jan 21, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 18 • By NAOMI DECTER
Once upon a time, not so very long ago in the 1960s and early 1970s, the late newsmagazine Newsweek was a different, not-so-nice place, and Lynn Povich and 45 other “good girls” who worked there had no choice but to sue to make it (or at least their careers) better. So they did—twice. And they prevailed.
10:44 AM, Aug 24, 2012 • By THE SCRAPBOOK
Plagiarism is not a crime in any legal code, but among people who make their living with words, there is no deeper offense. The plagiarist has not just stolen the work of another writer; he has used it to disguise his own inadequacy. It is a symptom of -laziness, to be sure; but above all, it’s a crime of arrogance.
12:38 PM, Aug 21, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
Newsweek's cover this week is decidedly not favorable to President Obama:
And, so today, President Obama is giving an exclusive interview to Newsweek's main rival, Time magazine.
3:13 PM, Jun 20, 2011 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
Gallup's latest poll of American adults asks: "Between now and the 2012 political conventions, there will be discussion about the qualifications of presidential candidates -- their education, age, religion, race, and so on. If your party nominated a generally well-qualified person for president who happened to be a Mormon, would you vote for that person?"
4:00 PM, Oct 26, 2010 • By PHILIP TERZIAN
A few months ago the Wall Street Journal ran a splendid essay by Allen Barra that could only be described as therapeutic. Entitled “What ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ Isn’t,” it was a calm, clear-headed, even humorous, evisceration of a novel that seems to be universally admired, required reading in every classroom--and a sickening repository of every enlightened cliché about American life, with particular emphasis on the segregated South.
8:30 AM, Oct 25, 2010 • By GARY ANDRES
This Newsweek poll released over the weekend found some surprisingly good news for Democrats. But it probably doesn’t mean much for President Obama and his party: the sample includes too many Democrats, at least based on a lot of other recent polls.
2:59 PM, Oct 24, 2010 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
Newsweek has just released a likely-voter poll showing Democrats leading by 3 points (48 to 45 percent) on the generic congressional ballot.
1:54 PM, Sep 30, 2010 • By PHILIP TERZIAN
Sometime in the mid-1980s a pop cultural landmark was reached when Baby Boomer journalists started writing columns complaining about the current state of rock music.
The FAA denies it.6:39 PM, Jun 11, 2010 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Two weeks ago, Newsweek's Matthew Phillips reported that some photographers and other journalists were being "blockaded" from reporting on the oil spill by the government and BP:
5:20 PM, Mar 2, 2010 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
So says Newsweek:
Bush's rhetoric about democracy came to sound as bitterly ironic as his pumped-up appearance on an aircraft carrier a few months earlier, in front of an enormous banner that declared MISSION ACCOMPLISHED. And yet it has to be said and it should be understood—now, almost seven hellish years later—that something that looks mighty like democracy is emerging in Iraq. And while it may not be a beacon of inspiration to the region, it most certainly is a watershed event that could come to represent a whole new era in the history of the massively undemocratic Middle East.
The elections to be held in Iraq on March 7 feature 6,100 parliamentary candidates from all of the country's major sects and many different parties. They have wildly conflicting interests and ambitions. Yet in the past couple of years, these politicians have come to see themselves as part of the same club, where hardball political debate has supplanted civil war and legislation is hammered out, however slowly and painfully, through compromises—not dictatorial decrees or, for that matter, the executive fiats of U.S. occupiers. Although protected, encouraged, and sometimes tutored by Washington, Iraq's political class is now shaping its own system—what Gen. David Petraeus calls "Iraqracy." With luck, the politics will bolster the institutions through which true democracy thrives.
In case you missed it, veteran David Bellavia recently wrote a moving piece on the fight for Iraq and democracy.
9:55 AM, Feb 8, 2010 • By JONATHAN V. LAST
A lot of people have been looking to find someone to blame for President Obama's failures: the Constitutional order, the right-wing noise machine, the dull, dim-witted American people. Funnily enough, one person rarely seems to get fingered.
‹‹ More Recent