Friday, March 11, 2005

Punditpalooza 2005!

Scanning and shovelling through the ranks of punditry, that grand American art form:
  • Tom Shales in the Washington Post - Shales writes a great column eulogizing Dan Rather's career as the anchor of the CBS News. A fair treatment and, most importantly, calls the likes of Walter Cronkite and Mike Wallace for their cheap shots at Rather at the last minute. Way to kick a guy when he's down. Rather was, in my opinion, never made to be an anchor; his strong suit was always reporting (recall the famous 1972 incident with Richard Nixon). He did an admirable job in tough times for network news, the period when network news became all but irrelevant. "Uncle Walter" was never exactly the paragon of good journalism; he hurt the world by making the anchor an authority figure.
  • Sidney Blumenthal in the Manchester Guardian - It is truly unfortunate that we must rely on the foreign press to break stories like this. I guess Michael Jackson and Martha Stewart are more crucial to diplomacy and national security. Anyway, Blumenthal warns of a non-diplomat becoming our envoy to the U.N. We lose a career diplomat like John Negroponte and gain a sleazy North Carolina double-dealer. The Rice/Bush European charm offensive is fading. This guy sounds like he'd kill the possibility of that ever happening again.
  • William F. Buckley, Jr. in National Review (where else?) - It is this sort of collegial admiration and critique is sorely missing in the public discourse today. We are used to the shrill voices from both "sides" espousing and attacking (see Walter Cronkite above). Here is a paragon of the modern conservative movement praising and evaluating the legacy of John Kenneth Galbraith. These two men could not disagree more with each other, but the admiration of academic vigor is apparent. The long term influence of Galbraith and his Keyensian economic theories are undeniable; for Buckley to say this is important. Civility is necessary to democratic debate. Without it, it is mere playground bickering.

No comments: