Jack Shafer

Stop Acting Surprised By Powerful Veeps
January 05, 2013

Nearly every veep since 1976 has been the "most powerful ever."

Where Honey Boo Boo, Barack Obama, and Madonna Meet
December 15, 2012

What we can learn from Twitter and Facebook's year-in-review lists.

Television Anchors’ Reign of Tyranny Over Presidential Debates Must End!
October 11, 2012

Jim Lehrer is a terrible debate moderator, but he's not the only one.

Jonah Goldberg Replies!
June 01, 2012

 My most recent TRB column ("Trite Makes Right") took on Jonah Goldberg's contention that liberals, because they make their arguments less openly, recite clichés more often than conservatives do. Part of the fun in attacking Goldberg is that he is (to borrow a favorite phrase of Reuters press columnist Jack Shafer) a slow-moving target that bleeds profusely when hit. Goldberg has nowreplied to my column in classic Goldberg fashion, i.e. by asserting that his thoughts are too subtle (and too frequently expressed in Latin phrases) to be grasped by mental pygmies such as ...

Jonah Goldberg Replies!
May 31, 2012

My most recent TRB column ("Trite Makes Right") took on Jonah Goldberg's contention that liberals, because they make their arguments less openly, recite clichés more often than conservatives do. Part of the fun in attacking Goldberg is that he is (to borrow a favorite phrase of Reuters press columnist Jack Shafer) a slow-moving target that bleeds profusely when hit. Goldberg has now replied to my column in classic Goldberg fashion, i.e. by asserting that his thoughts are too subtle (and too frequently expressed in Latin phrases) to be grasped by mental pygmies such as ...

Winning The Hour
January 06, 2012

When editing or mentoring overeager young journalists, my friend and former Slate colleague Jack Shafer, now media columnist for Reuters, loves to repeat something Warren Beatty once said to the bombastic screenwriter John Milius. (The source is an interview with the depressive screenwriter Paul Schrader in Film Comment; Shafer has been using Beatty's line since that issue hit the newsstands in March 1976.) Beatty, Milius, and Schrader were having a script meeting and Beatty was trying to convey to Milius what was wrong with his full-tilt, relentlessly unmodulated approach.

How the Giffords Tragedy Made Me Anti-Anti-Anti Political Hate Speech
January 09, 2011

Slate’s Jack Shafer has posted a characteristically irreverent piece on “The awesome stupidity of the calls to tamp down political speech in the wake of the Giffords shooting,” as the piece’s sub-title describes it. I haven’t personally called on anyone to tamp down their political speech since the Giffords tragedy. But had I been moved to comment, I would almost certainly have joined the ranks of the awesomely stupid.  As it happens, I think Shafer’s anti-anti-hate speech position hinges on three analytical mistakes.

Fox News Still Biased; Film At 11
December 09, 2010

Jack Shafer, unlike me, sees no problem with Fox News demanding its hosts stop using the phrase public option: The call to refer to the program as the government option instead of the public option came from Republican pollster Frank Luntz, Media Matters and Kurtz report. But this shouldn't disqualify the new term from the Fox News stylebook. Government option is superior to public option in that it emphasizes that the government—and thus the taxpayers—will be footing the bill.

Covering the Coverage of the 2010 Elections
November 03, 2010

Jesse Singal bravely agreed to watch the cable news coverage of Election Day 2010, in its entirety, and report on it for us. These are the illuminating results: Mine Eyes Will See No Glory I'll be spending the remainder of this afternoon and evening watching election night coverage and blogging about it here. Think of it as an ultra-concentrated reenactment of the Chilean miners' ordeal.

In Defense of TV News
November 02, 2010

Jack Shafer, in what I can only assume is a direct personal shot at me, comes out strongly against election-night TV coverage: [Prior to] projected winners, the network talent have almost nothing to do besides stretch their thin material. They chat with one another, crochet scarves outside of camera view, and switch to those interminable "two-ways" that anchors conduct with correspondents camped out at the "victory" parties of the candidates.

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