Writing

Some columns, criticism, and articles that I wrote over the last decade or so, and that I still like. In no particular order.

Just How Serious Is Obama’s Crackdown on Media Leaks?

An in-depth look at the Obama administration’s crusade against government leaks, which, on close inspection, isn’t really as bad as all that. Almost no one involved in this issue was entirely happy with this article, which means, I think, that it was dead-on. It ran on TakePart.com, the digital division of Participant Media, the film company behind An Inconvenient TruthGood Night & Good LuckCharlie Wilson’s WarContagion et alia. The full piece.

The cost of Angels in the outfield

A Columbia Journalism Review piece about pathetic coverage of a proposed $7.5 billion (minimum) giveaway to the owner of the Anaheim Angels baseball franchise that’s part of negotiations on a new lease for Angel Stadium. The full piece.

Buck Rogers and the Atomic Education of America

I can’t remember having more journalistic fun than I had writing this review of Atomic Comics, a marvelously well-crafted book that tells the story of the nuclear age through the comic books that made it comprehensible to America at large. The full review.PHOTO-1

The Gadget in the Gray Flannel Suit

A backlash to always-connected is brewing. To support that assertion and counter the notion I might be a technological troglodyte, I offer four flashing signs that digital gadgets and ever-increasing interconnectedness are losing their cool — even with the young people who supposedly are their biggest adherents. The full column.

Deep Throat Meets Data Mining
A new academic and professional discipline known as “computational journalism” comes to the economic rescue of investigative journalism.
The full column.

Why Miller-McCune and Why Now?
Longtime Atlantic correspondent James Fallows helps introduce the premiere issue of Miller-McCune magazine by interviewing me about it. For which I will be eternally thankful. Or in the alternative, thankful as long as I am able to be. The full column.

Barbarism as a Public Relations Strategy
An Arizona sheriff behaves as though he’s in Rwanda, and becomes the state’s most popular official. The full column.

Gambling on Gary
I go back to my roots in the industrial Midwest — that is, to “The Region” — and explain why the mismanaged hellhole known as Gary, Ind., deserves a federal bailout. The full column.

The Change I Almost Couldn’t Believe In
I return to Houston — a legendary center of dysfunctional, corrupt power politics — and am amazed that the Democratic county attorney and Republican district attorney get along and do good together. The full column.

Global Charming
The format of High Country News required that I write an editor’s letter. I thought this one — on California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, his silly/phony “hydrogen highway” and global warming — came out reasonably well. For an editor’s letter. The full column.

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