Story, Resurrected

The Atlantic trumps GQ

Last September, GQ killed a piece by Atlantic senior editor Josh Green that detailed—and, it turns out, foreshadowed—internal struggles in Hillary Clinton’s campaign. The move caused a scandal, and rightfully so: the piece was axed because, allegedly, the Clinton campaign had threatened to withhold a cover story with Bill Clinton (naming the former president its “Man of the Year”) if GQ ran the critical piece.

In the current issue of The Atlantic, that story—pumped up with fresh reporting and more current detail—has been resurrected. And, in that, it has amounted to a victory for rigorous journalism (Clinton, campaign-as-troubled) over fawning puff pieces (Clinton, Bill-as-demigod)—and for journalistic interests over commercial ones.

Portfolio’s Jeff Bercovici summed it up beautifully:

Instead of appearing last fall, when a lot of voters were still only devoting partial attention to the election, and fluctuations in the polls didn’t mean much, Green’s story has come out at the most critical juncture of the primaries, with Barack Obama one or two big states away from sewing up the nomination. And instead of appearing in a glossy men’s fashion magazine, it’s running in one of the country’s most respected highbrow publications.

Nice work, Team Clinton.

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Megan Garber is an assistant editor at the Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard University. She was formerly a CJR staff writer.