< Back to front page Text size +

Kinsley on Newsweek -- and on Time's editor

Posted by Christopher Shea  May 22, 2009 02:10 PM

E-mail this article

Invalid E-mail address
Invalid E-mail address

Sending your article

Time magazine dumped Michael Kinsley as a columnist? This is the first I've heard of it. I rarely see Time, and so never get to read Kinsley there -- but someone needs to be publishing him, always.

Kinsley's outlet this week is the New Republic, his old haunts: he eviscerates Newsweek's much-talked-about (by itself) reinvention.

Kinsley is quite aware that bashing the No. 2 newsweekly after you've just lost your perch at No. 1 is not the wisest career strategy. But he does slip in a word of praise for Newsweek's editor, Jon Meacham, along with a characteristically arch dig at Rick Stengel, Time's editor:

Meacham -- a very smart and thoughtful guy, which in my experience is not necessarily true of all newsmagazine editors (all two, that is) …

Nicely played: Not too bitter, but still a dagger (aimed at a fellow Rhodes Scholar, no less).

Anyway, as Kinsley sees it, here's the basic problem with Meacham's goal for Newsweek:

He says he wants "provocative (but not partisan) arguments." Which would be what? "Let's paint the Capitol dome dark brown"? Or, "Try cooked carrots--they're not too bad"? It's not easy to be provocative if you're looking over your shoulder for the partisanship police.

There's no need to speculate about what these provocative-but-nonpartisan arguments will look like, since newsweeklies have been making them for ages. In fact, these arguments are never remotely provocative. They're safe, centrist, even pandering: "Memo to politicians: Time to stop the mudslinging -- and solve our fiscal problems." "Prayer: It may be better than a prescription, doctors say." If Meacham can break that mold, more power to him, but there's little evidence of it so far.

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

E-mail this article

Invalid E-mail address
Invalid E-mail address

Sending your article

 
About brainiac Brainiac is the daily blog of the Globe's Sunday Ideas section, covering news and delights from the worlds of art, science, literature, history, design, and more. You can follow us on Twitter @GlobeIdeas.
contributors
Brainiac blogger Kevin Hartnett is a writer in Columbia, South Carolina. He can be reached here.

Leon Neyfakh is the staff writer for Ideas. Amanda Katz is the deputy Ideas editor. Stephen Heuser is the Ideas editor.

Guest blogger Simon Waxman is Managing Editor of Boston Review and has written for WBUR, Alternet, McSweeney's, Jacobin, and others.

Guest blogger Elizabeth Manus is a writer living in New York City. She has been a book review editor at the Boston Phoenix, and a columnist for The New York Observer and Metro.

Guest blogger Sarah Laskow is a freelance writer and editor in New York City. She edits Smithsonian's SmartNews blog and has contributed to Salon, Good, The American Prospect, Bloomberg News, and other publications.

Guest blogger Joshua Glenn is a Boston-based writer, publisher, and freelance semiotician. He was the original Brainiac blogger, and is currently editor of the blog HiLobrow, publisher of a series of Radium Age science fiction novels, and co-author/co-editor of several books, including the story collection "Significant Objects" and the kids' field guide to life "Unbored."

Guest blogger Ruth Graham is a freelance journalist in New Hampshire, and a frequent Ideas contributor. She is a former features editor for the New York Sun, and has written for publications including Slate and the Wall Street Journal.

Joshua Rothman is a graduate student and Teaching Fellow in the Harvard English department, and an Instructor in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He teaches novels and political writing.

archives

Browse this blog

by category