Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Weird story choices for Newsweek writers

Newsweek has been a steep downhill path for years. They capped off their years of Obama idolatry by finally embracing their real identity as an opinion magazine rather than reporting on the news. And their subscription base has been falling ever since. But this week, they have two online essays that really take the prize. Two reporters offer follow-ups on stories that they had followed earlier.

Jonathan Darman analyzes
"The Quiet Dignity of Rielle Hunter." Darman apparently got to know and like Hunter when he reported on the Edwards campaign. And now he's impressed that Rielle Hunter hasn't been out selling her story to the tabloids or to Oprah or just somewhere like so many other cast-off mistresses have done. Well who knows if she has some sort of monetary agreement with John Edwards buying her silence? Or if she's still hoping that he'll marry her. Or if she's just staying quiet to protect her daughter? But dignity is not the word one would associate with a woman who threw herself at a married man and romped with him in his own house and in front of his own children. Please. To even think of writing such a story is just bizarre except in the context of a reporter who just liked Edwards and Hunter to begin with and wants to wring one more story out of his reporting past.

And also on Newsweek is this sympathetic profile by Susannah Meadows of the poor, downtrodden Crystal Mangum, the woman who falsely accused the Duke lacrosse players of gang rape. She was poor and involved in drugs and crime before she rocketed to national infamy and did her best to ruin the lives of three young men. And she hasn't improved much since. But Meadows reaches into her own apparent guilt for having gone to Duke to sympathize with Mangum and chastise once again the reportedly racist comment made by one lacrosse player.

Sometimes bias is most apparent in what a writer chooses to write about. To take on these two topics - admiration for a mistress who hasn't yet cashed in on her infamy and pity for a poor woman who has a multitude of petty crimes to her biography beyond her role in the reverse racist crime of falsely accusing white men of rape - betrays where these two writers' own sympathies lie.