Best of 2008: Jane Kim

Kim picks her top stories from 2008

1) Vulgus, Schmulgus Bill Kristol used precious column space in the NYT to write unproductively and misleadingly about a Peggy Noonan column critiquing Sarah Palin. We wanted to set the record straight.

2) News Hog(wash) Michael Tomasky’s essay in the New York Review of Books on the presidential candidates’ respective media strategies was sharply written, and we didn’t want it to get lost in the fray.

3) Arab or Decent? This was an important point to make, because it took the media a long time to catch on to the nuances of McCain’s comment, which seemed to pit being Arab against being a decent family man. McCain was speaking off the cuff, but the news cycle tossed around the quote without pointing out the blaring misconception it carried.

4) Sarah vs. Sarah The press’s coverage of the vice presidential debate by-and-large focused on Sarah Palin’s showdown with, well, Sarah Palin. It allowed the focus to be on Palin’s ability to outshine herself, and that was letting image dominate issues.

5) What’s in a Name, Part 2 Several black commentators took issue with the fact that Obama didn’t directly mention MLK in his nomination acceptance speech. Ta-Nehisi Coates had an eloquent response to that, and it remains valid for the conversation about race going forward from here.

6) What’s Rich? When Joe the Plumber burst onto the scene during the election, both parties rushed to wave around categorical “not rich” wands. We wanted to advise the press to not fall into that trap, and to be careful about what it terms “middle class,” “working class,” etc.

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Jane Kim is a writer in New York.