So if there’s little evidence that presidents can shift the public on high-profile issues, why do they continue to believe they can? It’s probably because presidents tend to be charismatic, successful and—to put it politely—confident people, used to persuading others and getting their way. They’re also surrounded by intelligent, ambitious aides who are ready to believe they’ve found the new strategy or technique that will succeed where others have failed. And why does the press play along, anticipating bold results and then carping when they fail to materialize? It may be that, for all our skepticism and readiness to find fault, we’re also hoping for some white knight to come along who will sweep away the hard, grubby, relentless grind of politics.
07:00 AM - August 31, 2009
The People Have Spoken
Can presidents sway public opinion on divisive domestic issues?
Fox News not outraged by retailers’ War on Thanksgiving - As giant stores commercialize the last holdout, Bill O’Reilly & Co. shrug
BuzzFeed’s all-positive books section - It doesn’t make sense to pledge positivity if your aim is to provide readers with critics’ takes on new books. It makes more sense if your aim is to cultivate a thriving community.
Disappointing Deadspin - It broke the Manti Te’o story, but then stopped reporting and resumed trashing
Healthcare in Great Britain vs. healthcare in the USA: part one - A conversation with Chris Smyth, health reporter for The Times of London
Asperger’s, pedophiles, and questionable motivations - A dart to the Daily Beast, for its ill-informed speculation on Adam Lanza’s psyche
Email blasts from CJR writers and editors
The problem with viral videos
The NYT’s obituary for the South African leader, written by Bill Keller
How two alienated, angry geeks broke the story of the year
In magnificent defense of snark
Timelapse of a photo-realistic painting of the actor being done on an iPad
Who Owns What
A report from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism
Questions and exercises for journalism students.