Winner: The New York Times editorial page, for another in its long series of brilliant torture editorials. This one carefully assesses all that is good and all that is disappointing so far in the Obama administration’s policies on “terrorism, prisoners, the rule of law and government secrecy.”

Winner: Glenn Greenwald, for a laugh-out-loud dissection of this throwaway observation from FCP’s favorite media critic, Howard Kurtz: “there’s such a built-in adversarial relationship between the press and the pols that spending a couple of evenings in a kind of light-hearted cease-fire doesn’t strike me as a terrible thing.” To obliterate this observation, Greenwald gathers evidence from all over, including the wit and wisdom of Howard Kurtz, as reproduced in the pages of The Washington Post.

Sinner: Michael Wolff. The only thing worse than “press critic” Michael Wolff writing about the media is Michael Wolff writing about politics. Assuming his favorite posture of contemptuous envy, Wolff wrote not one but two idiotic attacks on the president.

Wolff apparently thinks it makes him sound hip to use the vocabulary of an under-educated fifteen-year-old girl, so his writing is sprinkled with words like “sheesh” and “shit.” This apparently qualifies him to make incisive judgements like this one: “The true secret of the power of language is in quickness”—and “Barack Obama can’t keep up.”

Every time FCP mentions Wolff, it produces bafflement among its loyal readers. They invariably point out that every semi-sentient person already  knows that Wolff is a fool. So why belabor the point?

They are probably right about that.


Charles Kaiser is the author of The Gay Metropolis and 1968 in America. He has been media editor for Newsweek, a member of the metro staff of The New York Times, and a reporter for The Wall Street Journal, where he covered the press and book publishing. To learn more, visit