Michael Isikoff

Just in time for Tuesday night's Republican presidential debate, NBC News is out with a story reminding everybody of just how closely the architects of Obamacare modeled their efforts on Romneycare. The story, by Michael Isikoff, cites White House records showing that three key analysts who worked on the Massachusetts reforms met with administration officials at least a dozen times.

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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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The Flack Gap

In the wake of the fired-prosecutor scandal, I have become rather alarmed at the low quality of the pro-administration spin. I may note a supporter of this administration, but I am an American who wants his government to function well in all areas—including lacking, obfuscating, and misleading the public. There was a time when this administration's apologists were the envy of the world.

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Low Clearance

In January 2006, a court in Northern Virginia will hear a case in which, for the first time, the federal government has charged two private citizens with leaking state secrets. CBS News first reported the highly classified investigation that led to this prosecution on the eve of the Republican National Convention. On August 27, 2004, Lesley Stahl told her viewers that, in a "full-fledged espionage investigation," the FBI would soon "roll up" a "suspected mole" who had funneled Pentagon policy deliberations concerning Iran to Israel.

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Correspondence

POPULAR DEMAND Gregg Easterbrook’s hopeful essay on the possibility that warfare is trending toward obsolescence fails to meet the aspirations of its lofty title (“The End of War?” May 30). Warfare may presently be in decline as a result of increased democratization and prosperity, lack of conflict between superpowers, and improved international peacekeeping. But Easterbrook underplays the threat of nations going to war in order to secure scarce resources in the face of booming population growth.

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The Wayward Critic

Howard Kurtz and the decline of media criticism.

Howard Kurtz has been busy. Last year The Washington Post's media reporter wrote over 199 articles—more than the paper's Supreme Court reporter (130) or even its chief White House correspondent (195). Kurtz doubles as co-host of CNN's "Reliable Sources," a forum for reporters to chew over the sins of other reporters. His books on the sad decline of newspapers, talk-show blowhards, and the Clinton propaganda machine inhabit the increasingly crowded "media studies" corner of your neighborhood Barnes and Noble. (The subject covers nearly as much shelf space as philosophy in my neighborhood megast

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Up to Speed

A few weeks ago, Tipper Gore hinted to reporters that the vice president of the United States, the man who is a heartbeat from the presidency, sleeps in the nude. Now, I'm no Michael Isikoff, but I think I've got a scoop of my own concerning the vice presidential undergarments. My troubling discovery came as I followed Al Gore on his presidential announcement tour last week. In Carthage, the normally plodding Gore raced through his speech at such breakneck speed that seven dense pages flew by in just 25 minutes. He spoke with even more haste at stops in Iowa, New Hampshire, and New York City.

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Steele Trap

Ordinarily, a witness who changes her story in a way that makes herself an object of ridicule or disgrace is viewed as more credible rather than more suspicious: the law of evidence calls this a statement against interest.

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Last weekend was the hundredth anniversary of George Gershwin's birth, and, to commemorate the event, while seeking refuge from the obscene cd-rom containing the appendices of the Starr report, I put on the Brooklyn Academy of Music's terrific recording of Gershwin's greatest political operetta, Of Thee I Sing.

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One Bite At the Apple

At the Supreme Court arguments on Monday, January 13, in Clinton v. Jones, the justices seemed inclined to delay Paula Jones's sexual harassment suit until the president leaves office, because the president is a busy man. But even if President Clinton is temporarily spared the mortifying task of answering Jones's complaint, his trial in the court of popular opinion has already begun.

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