Nearly twenty years after his death at a less-than-advanced age, Henry Fairlie (1924–1990) is now honored with a generous sampling of the work he did for his last employer, The New Republic. Jeremy McCarter of Newsweek has done a judicious job assembling the contents. He also supplies a biographical sketch of Fairlie, documenting his quick rise through London journalism, the gathering troubles brought on by thoughtless spending, drinking, and philandering, and his assignment to America in 1965. Fairlie never returned to Britain, nor did he change his way of life. His disregard for his own welfare prevented him from gathering in the rewards heaped upon so many American journalists—the fellowships, the lecture fees, the honorary degrees. Fairlie sounded only faintly envious when he tabulated these emoluments in a 1984 article. Indeed, he spent his latter days sleeping in the magazine’s office. But the seediness of his life never seeped into his resplendent writing. He may be best remembered for providing the modern definition of “The Establishment” as the encompassing official and social network that, among other things, protected the British spies Burgess and Maclean. Politically, Fairlie described himself as a Tory, but his earmark was independence. He admired Churchill and FDR, and despised Reagan, or at least Reaganism. He defended big government as a necessity—and en passant, flayed George Will for faux learning. It all remains fresh and reading through it is like attending a circus.
12:38 PM - July 14, 2009
Short reviews of books on campaign bloggers, tabloids, and a collection of Henry Fairlie’s essays
#Realtalk: This isn’t another ‘golden age’ for print - But it is one for media
Social media in smaller markets - How three social media managers deal with smaller markets and more local coverage.
A rally for laid-off Sun-Times photogs - A protest Thursday morning drew about 150 picketers to the newspaper’s headquarters
Reporting, or illegal hacking - Scripps reporters are accused of violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act
Exchange Watch: California Dreaming - Low healthcare premiums on the West Coast were trumpeted as a big, good-news Obamacare story. But: “Compared to what?”
One of the great reporters of his generation died Tuesday at 33. The stories he wrote, and the ones he didn’t live to write
Hastings was fearless and shook things up - especially with his McChrystal expose. The haters in the media couldn’t forgive him
Journalism is about finding flaws and magnifying them, and surely someone who would spill massive loads of state secrets must contain a few broken parts, right?
The inside-the-beltway publication’s go-to phrase
“Michael was angry … he was angry about things that weren’t right in the world. He was angry with war and with loss, and that drove his reporting.”
Who Owns What
A report from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism
Questions and exercises for journalism students.