Brian Williams

Right now you’re probably wondering: What possessed Mitt Romney to insult the Conservative Prime Minister of Britain—on a foreign trip meant to demonstrate Romney’s supposedly superior ability to manage foreign affairs—by criticizing the U.K.’s handling of the Olympic games on the eve of their commencement? This blunder catches Romney in an exquisite trap of his own making. On the one hand, he seems to have genuinely angered David Cameron, a rare European ally in the lonely fight against European-style socialism.

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  Right now you're probably wondering: What possessed Mitt Romney to insult the Conservative Prime Minister of Britain--on a foreign trip meant to demonstrate Romney's supposedly superior ability to manage foreign affairs--by criticizing the U.K.'s handling of the Olympic games on the eve of their commencement? This blunder catches Romney in an exquisite trap of his own making. On the one hand, he seems to have genuinely angered David Cameron, a rare European ally in the lonely fight against European-style socialism.

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Cheers and Jeers

It was an ugly moment at the September 7 Republican debate when the discussion turned to the death penalty. “Governor Perry, a question about Texas,” moderator Brian Williams began. “Your state has executed two-hundred thirty-four death-row inmates, more than any other governor in modern times.” Suddenly, Williams was interrupted by an outburst of applause and cheers from the audience. The point being made by the Republican spectators could not have been clearer: The death penalty was not just a policy they favored. It was something to celebrate.

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Strategy is a strange beast. Up close—as it is unfolding—even a good strategy can appear muddled, confused, and indecisive. Its logic only becomes clear over time. President Obama’s Libya strategy demonstrates this. It has drawn howls of criticism from across the political spectrum, most of the “muddled, confused, and indecisive” variant.

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Fascinating exchange today between Andrew Sullivan and Alex Massie about Republican presidential debates, which are coming way sooner than you think -- just a few months from now, in fact.  In response to Hugh Hewitt’s suggestion that conservative talk show hosts act as moderators for the first debate, Sullivan was unimpressed: “It’s like Stalin being grilled by the Politburo.” Massie, however, thought it might be fun, besides that it would be a good chance to see candidates fail to stand up to Rush or Hannity, and the resulting obsequiousfest would mean that Hewitt’s notion could produce a de

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Earlier this week, I criticized the kickoff of NBC’s Education Nation, a series of events and programs focusing on what ails U.S. public schools. On the surface, it seems like a fine idea—but what took so long for NBC to cover education? Will the attention last? And will it become more in-depth? On Thursday, I sat down with Steve Capus, president of NBC News, and put those questions to him directly. He says Education Nation was actually just a start—going forward, the network will be covering education more consistently.

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Not long ago, Tavis Smiley did something I would not have expected, which is rare. He announced that he was discontinuing his annual State of the Black Union conferences. These have been powwows where the Usual Suspects are invited to make the usual points: roughly decrying racism while genuflecting to the radical idea that people are responsible for repairing their own culture too.

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The news media has a lot of biases, but the most pronounced is a bias in favor of fiscal conservatism. I mean the term in its old fashioned sense -- the belief in the primacy of balanced budgets. Indeed, this point of view is so widespread among elites, including the news media, that they fail to recognize it as a point of view at all. Take a look at Brian Williams' interview with Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles, co-chairman of the new debt commission.

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