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Articles by Walter Shapiro | Email the Author

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The best political listening tour

“Ordinary person” quotes in political stories can be banal. But when reporters invest the time, they can hear so much more

It is the paradox of political journalism: The most important aspect of a presidential campaign—how flesh-and-blood voters make up their... More

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Why did Mitt Romney really go to Israel?

Despite what you read, it probably had little to do with wooing undecided Jewish voters

With Mitt Romney in Israel last weekend, it seemed like the irresistible sidebar. So news organizations like The Washington Post... More

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How to handle oppo research?

It’s simple: If your scoop got a helpful boost from a campaign, let readers know

For the political cognoscenti, the dominant story line in July has been the Barack Obama campaign’s mastery of the subterranean... More

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The good old days of the Nixon campaign

A look back at a 1968 classic shows just how inaccessible candidates have become

Maybe it’s the summer doldrums, or the Barack Obama campaign’s continual pain-from-Bain refrain, or the speculative no-news-here if-clauses surrounding Mitt... More

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Why is ‘issue coverage’ so boring—and often wrong?

Slavish fidelity to campaign position papers and official statements short-changes voters

As we sipped red wine in Washington last week, Republican pollster David Winston suddenly asked me, “Why doesn’t the media... More

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Embracing the myth of the campaign wizard, again

The Jim Messina profile industry is part of a long tradition

Maybe it began with the lionization in the press of the Irish Mafia that helped elect John Kennedy in 1960.... More

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Why can’t the press let politicians have principles?

Plus: HuffPost’s good work on campaign consultants, and a better way to cover gaffes

No one—not even the love child of Horatio Alger and Ayn Rand—rivals campaign reporters when it comes to worshipping ambition.... More

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Romney’s Religion

What should journalists do with the Mormon thing?

“Surely, secularists are wrong when they ask believers to leave their religion at the door before entering the public square.”... More

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Things that go Trump in the night

The Donald’s birther circus recalls McCarthy’s “card-carrying Communists”

On February 9, 1950, a back-bench Wisconsin senator named Joseph McCarthy delivered an unheralded political speech to a Republican women’s... More

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Out of the living room, onto the trail

To gauge what’s really happening in the TV ad war, reporters need to talk to voters

The Living Room War was launched this week—the ferocious bombardment of attack ads that will make turning on a television... More

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Mapmaker, mapmaker, make me a map…

A glut of “swing-state” stories risks inspiring false certainty about the coming election

For a newspaper that believes that a decent fraction of its readers know that Kurt Weill wrote the music for... More

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In an age of walled-off candidates, longing for LBJ

Caro’s latest opus offers a strong case for the enduring value of journalistic access

The pivotal chapter on the 1960 Democratic Convention in The Passage of Power, the just-published and justly heralded fourth volume... More

From Etch a Sketch to Hilary Rosen

The new Rule Book for reporting on outbreaks of feigned outrage

Unless you are voraciously waiting for the final tabulation of the write-in votes from the Delaware primary, these are the... More

The Campaign-Finance Stories That Don’t Get Written

Consultants and insiders feed the fundraising frenzy. How much do they make, anyway?

There was something comically self-evident about the headline on the story that led the April 13 print edition of The... More

The Heartbeat-Away Derby is Under Way

Treating the veepstakes like another political horse race produces lame conclusions

Now that Mitt Romney is the de facto Republican nominee, the political press corps can indulge in a compulsion as... More

Who Got The Fox News Vote?

In hours of pre-primary coverage, Rick Santorum was hard to find

Judging from the lopsided tenor of most of the coverage during the broadcast day on Fox News on the Monday... More

Why is the Press So Ready to Count Santorum Out?

Voters think their primary choices still matter

The front-page story in the March 18th New York Times seemed a case of political life imitating art. A revival... More

Newt and the Age Gap

What young reporters don’t understand

In this topsy-turvy political year, Newt Gingrich has exhausted every resurrection metaphor from the world’s great religions and undoubtedly,... More

How Forbes got to $475 million - That’s what a Hong Kong investor has agreed to pay for a firm that two years ago had trouble paying its rent

Are female journalists up to the job of a Jill Abramson interview? - Reporters avoid unflattering discussion about her firing

How to check if that viral video is true - Journalists don’t always verify user-generated content, so readers need to learn how to verify what they see online

The Grand Dame of Florida reporting has retired twice, but she’s still causing trouble - A conversation with the Tampa Bay Times’ Lucy Morgan

Brick by brick - After years of shrinking ambition at The Washington Post, Jeff Bezos has the paper thinking global domination


The 10 worst New Yorker longreads (Gawker)

“[A]pparently [Adam] Gopnik did not know you could bake fancy breads from France and other cultures. So he got his mom to teach him how to bake them. A fine anecdote, maybe, to tell a friend or a therapist. But in this case he wrote about it for the New Yorker, a magazine.”

Insufferable parenthetical asides, ranked (The Hairpin)

18. (strictly for the mise-en-scene)

You are now entering the demented kingdom of William T. Vollmann (TNR)

“Franzen tells a hilarious story of being a young writer in New York, meeting Vollmann, becoming fast friends, and inaugurating a draft swap. A while later, they exchanged work. Franzen gave Vollmann a dozen chiseled pages. Vollmann gave Franzen an entire novel.”

Bloggingheads

Greg Marx discusses democracy and news with Tom Rosenstiel of the American Press Institute

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