Bill Keller

A debate has been raging for 50 years or more over whether journalists should try to be “objective” in reporting events or describing controversies. It flared up recently in an exchange in The New York Times between former editor Bill Keller and uber-journalist Glenn Greenwald. And even thousands of miles away, I haven’t been able to avoid it.

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Six months ago, it seemed like a good bet that religion would be a significant factor in the 2012 presidential election. No one ever thought it would be the biggest issue driving votes, of course—the economy still has a lock on that distinction.

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Bill Keller's anti-Twitter column is taking enormous abuse on, naturally, Twitter. But I think he has at least half a point here: As a kind of masochistic experiment, the other day I tweeted “#TwitterMakesYouStupid. Discuss.” It produced a few flashes of wit (“Give a little credit to our public schools!”); a couple of earnestly obvious points (“Depends who you follow”); some understandable speculation that my account had been hacked by a troll; a message from my wife (“I don’t know if Twitter makes you stupid, but it’s making you late for dinner.

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Generation Gap

Jon Huntsman, former governor of Utah, ambassador to China, and potential presidential contender, used to play the keyboard in a prog rock cover band called Wizard. In fact, he dropped out of high school, temporarily, in favor of music practices in a warehouse on the outskirts of Salt Lake City.

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Bill Keller takes note of David Leonhardt's "build your own deficit reduction" feature, which he sees as a model for the bipartisan "Gang of Six": Nearly 9,000 readers worked the puzzle. Individually, they were all over the map. But as a group, they accomplished the goal by splitting the difference: almost exactly half the savings came from tax increases, half from spending cuts.

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Secrecy and Safety

Bush's Law: The Remaking of American Justice By Eric Lichtblau (Pantheon, 384 pp., $26.95) I. In May 1940, defying a congressional ban, President Franklin D. Roosevelt secretly authorized warrantless wiretapping inside the United States. His attorney general, Robert Jackson, had ordered a halt to the wiretapping a few months earlier, after the Supreme Court made clear that the Communications Act of 1934 prohibited it. But when J.

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Bill Keller responded to reader questions yesterday about the Times' McCain bombshell. Since the story broke Wednesday night, advisers to Senator McCain have asserted that TNR's piece might have influenced the Times to get their piece into print before we ran with our story. This is what Keller said on nytimes.com: Yes, Mr. Cleary, we were aware that a reporter for The New Republic was working on some kind of "back story" about our work on this story. No, it did not affect the timing of publication.

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The Long Run-Up

Last night, around dinnertime, The New York Times postedon its website a 3,000-word investigation detailing Senator John McCain’s connections to a telecommunications lobbyist named Vicki Iseman.

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Via Andrew, another conservative Christian makes the case against voting for Romney based on his Mormon faith (though not nearly so colorfully as evangelist Bill Keller did). I think this, and not Mitt's dazzling array of flip-flops and panders, is what's really going to kill his candidacy in the end. It's still incredibly early, but when the sub rosa Mormons-are-agents-of-Satan campaign really gets going as the primaries approach, it's going to be incredibly ugly. --Christopher Orr

Full Court Press

Bill Keller can't sleep. It is four o'clock on a sticky morning in the summer of 2007, and the executive editor of The New York Times is pacing his home, cursing Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. Here is the root of his insomnia: A few months earlier, the Democrats recaptured the House.

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