May 16, 2017

Gary Younge

The shortlist for the 2017 Orwell Prize for political writing was announced yesterday. Honorees include Tim Shipman’s All Out War, John Bew’s Citizen Clem, and Gary Younge’s Another Day in the Death of America. The winner will be announced next month.

New York Times deputy publisher A.G. Sulzberger will now be in charge of the paper’s opinion section, which was previously run by his father, Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr.

After the tronc-owned Chicago Tribune announced plans to buy the Chicago Sun-Times, the Department of Justice has opened an antitrust investigation into possible acquisition.

BuzzFeed has revealed Tablet columnist Paul Berman’s “blackmailer” as Eric Alterman, a columnist for The Nation. Alterman maintains that he did not write the emails to threaten Berman. “They arose from a deeply personal matter between us,” Alterman told BuzzFeed. “Paul omits all the relevant details because they reflect so poorly on his character.”

Politico’s Shane Goldmacher reports on the strategic use of news articles by White House staff. Goldmacher writes that “a news story tucked into Trump’s hands at the right moment can torpedo an appointment or redirect the president’s entire agenda,” and traces Trump’s recent promotion of tax reform to an op-ed in the Times that was mysteriously brought to the president’s attention. In another incident, deputy national security adviser K.T. McFarland gave Trump two Time magazine covers, one from 2008 about global warming, and a hoax cover supposedly from the 1970s about the impending ice age. The two magazines had Trump “lathered up about the media’s hypocrisy,” but staffers were able to avoid any ill-informed tweets about them. “The episode illustrates the impossible mission of managing a White House led by an impetuous president who has resisted structure and strictures his entire adult life,” writes Goldmacher.

At the Times, Jennifer Szalai reviews Republican Senator Ben Sasse’s new book, The Vanishing American Adult. Sasse warns that young Americans have been coddled to the point of helplessness, and “that it isn’t merely the well-being of a younger generation that’s at stake, but the very future of the Republic.” Szalai writes that beyond the “highly specific” suggestions like assigning “your 2-year-old to get your socks every morning,” the strangest aspect of the book “is how it takes the easy way out: Sasse, a Republican senator and history Ph.D. who holds actual power during a particularly fraught moment, decided that now was the time for him to publish what ultimately amounts to a self-help book for well-to-do parents.”

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