Michael Kinsley on politics

By Christopher B. Daly

Thanks to fog-cutter Michael Kinsley, who always manages to write in a way that is fresh, direct, and to-the-point. His latest: a review in the Sunday NYTBR dissecting the reporting, thinking, and writing in “Double Down,” the latest presidential campaign account by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann. The review includes this wonderful paragraph, which captures a lot about the perils of “straight” political reporting:

Halperin and Heilemann tell it pretty straight. You cannot guess, from reading the book, whom they voted for. But you can sense their devotion to a higher creed, that of the political journalist. Two provisions of that creed stand out in particular. First, no detail is too trivial to report. Blame Politico, the newspaper about politics and its accompanying Web site (for which I used to work), for this. It has built an empire on the droppings of less-successful publications. Item 2 in the creed is respect for professionalism, however it manifests itself. Political advisers ought to know when and how to lie, cheat and steal for their candidates. That’s their job, and they should do it well. It is the journalist’s job to expose them if she can. And if we all do our jobs well, we don’t need to worry about things like, well, lying, cheating and stealing. 

Thanks, Mike.

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