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Jewish World Review April 25, 2003 / 23 Nisan, 5763

Bill Steigerwald

Bill Steigerwald
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Consumer Reports


Newsweeklies starting to lose interest in Iraq war


http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | The war is officially over.

No star-spangled announcement from Washington, D.C., mind you. But Time magazine subtly signals Iraq is done, news-wise, by putting out the first non-war cover story -- women and heart disease -- since fighting began.

Newsweek and U.S. News & World Report still are picking through the rubble of Saddam's vile regime. But until we find him or his DNA, news from Iraq has entered the long, boring, nation-building phase.

Meanwhile, our brave war journalists are returning home. In an issue or two we'll be reading about the wild adventures of superstars Christopher Hitchens (in Vanity Fair) and P.J. O'Rourke (in Atlantic Monthly).

Both of them laughed and drank their way across the Iraqi theater, no doubt embedded deeply in the rear lines. But Karl Zinsmeister, the intrepid editor of conservative The American Enterprise, pulled his journo duty the hard and dusty way.

As he recounts in his cover story, "How America's SWAT Team Helped Swat Saddam," Zinsmeister left his soft and safe life in America and traveled with the 82nd Airborne.

Providing everything from sweeping historical and political perspective to accounts of street fighting in Samawah, he does a solid "you-are-here" job. He even took the good photos.

Zinsmeister dedicates his war journal to the fighting men and women of our armies and to much-loved Michael Kelly, "the truest journalist of his generation," who was killed in a Humvee accident April 3 while embedded with U.S. troops.

Kelly's death received a lot of media attention when it happened, for good reason. A tough, hard-writing Washington Post columnist and editor at large of Atlantic Monthly, he had made his name covering the first Gulf War's fighting from inside Iraq as a freelancer.

In the 1990s, Kelly edited the New Republic until his relentless anti-Bill Clintonism earned him a sacking from his publisher. He deserved all the posthumous praise he got, as former New Yorker and Talk magazine editor Tina Brown explained:

"Mike Kelly was one of those rare writers who could do all three things an editor craves: report, think, write. This might seem an obvious trio of gifts, but in fact they are a combination that is extremely hard to come by.

"Great essayists are often no good at describing a scene; great reporters are often deaf to ideas and themes. Kelly could do all of it, as I discovered with delight when he joined me at The New Yorker as Washington correspondent."

On a more brainless note, we citizens of Fly-Overia are oblivious, but the New York-L.A. axis of evil is abuzz about Radar, the long-awaited chronicler of pop culture. Its editor, ex-Talk sub-editor Maer Roshan, is not hobbled by humble aspirations.

He aims to tap into "the voice of an ascendant generation" and make Radar one of those rare titles -- like Rolling Stone in the '60s, Spy in the '80s and Vanity Fair in the '90s - "that captures a cultural moment by getting there first."

The premiere issue is dense and crazy with good stuff and bad. A piece from pre-war Baghdad is obviously dated. Radar -- which covers pop, politics, scandal and style -- might die young, as so many new mags do, but it'll die smart and sassy.

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JWR contributor Bill Steigerwald is an associate editor and columnist at the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Comment by clicking here.

04/21/03: There's bias, and then there's bias
04/11/03: Planning future of Iraq, world
04/04/03: Newsweeklies come back with graphic look at war
03/28/03: Newsweeklies try to keep up with TV war coverage
03/26/03: Wen Ho Lee whistle-blower says beware of China
03/21/03: America's ready for war ... and peace
03/18/03: Baseball limping, not dead 10 minutes with author Andrew Zimbalist
03/14/03: Vanity Fair gets us ready for month's big event
03/11/03: A road map for Iraq's liberation devised by James Madison? 10 minutes with James S. Robbins
03/06/03: Iraq war will come and go before we know it
02/28/03: America takes time out for swimsuits
02/26/03: 'We shall be seen as liberators' .... 10 minutes with noted Brit commentator David Pryce-Jones
02/21/03: Terrorism one of many losing battles
02/14/03: Editors planning for the day after Gulf War II
02/12/03: The 'religiosity' of Ronald Reagan 10 minutes with author Paul Kengor
02/10/03: Should the shuttle crash be the end of NASA?
02/06/03: Dear Joan ...
01/31/03: Newsweek, Nation ponder pros, cons of Gulf War II
01/24/03: 'Original' ideas follow New Deal philosophy
01/22/03: When handicapping 2004, watch the economy: Ten minutes with Charlie Cook
01/17/03: New Republic fans hatred for SUVs
01/14/03: 10 minutes with Santorum on ... taxes, steel and Lott
01/10/03: Newsweeklies move on to latest menace
01/07/03: The best of the Q&As
12/30/02: Rosie's demise tops list of 2002 highlights
12/23/02: GOP must stick to its principles: 10 questions for ... Bill Kristol
12/20/02: Lott fiasco uncovers bigger problem
12/18/02: Free markets king in Sweden, at least for a day: Ten minutes with . Donald Boudreaux
12/13/02: Corruption of Indian casinos no surprise
12/06/02: Giving credit to young philanthropists
12/02/02: Ten minutes with . Chris Matthews
11/26/02: It's critical to memorialize communism's victims: 10 minutes with Lee Edwards
11/22/02: JFK's secret health woes are revealed
11/19/02: “It's best to contain Saddam”: Ten minutes with Col. David Hackworth
11/15/02: Brushing up on the affairs of a wild world
11/12/02: Make Dems filibuster 10 minutes with Robert L. Bartley
11/08/02: National Geographic: Urban overpopulation is good
11/05/02: The bloody consequences of a broken INS: Ten minutes with Michelle Malkin
11/01/02: Going to pot; thank heaven for media overkill
10/29/02: It's all about federalism: Ten minutes with Jonah Goldberg
10/25/02: Frank Sinatra, Kurt Cobain, Mad Magazine will never die
10/22/02: Here's why Orwell matters: Ten minutes with Christopher Hitchens
10/18/02: The sniper knocks Iraq off the covers
10/15/02: Iraq, oil and war: 10 minutes with ... economist/historian Daniel Yergin
10/11/02: England's gun-control experiment has backfired
10/04/02: Buchanan the media baron?
09/27/02: Analyzing Esquire, GQ is not for the squeamish
09/20/02: CEOs: The rise and fall of American heroes
09/13/02: Skeptics remind U.S. to calm down
09/10/02: 'A failure to recognize a failure': 15 minutes with ... Bill Gertz
09/06/02: Rating the 9-11 mags
08/30/02: Bad trains, bad planes, and bad automobiles
08/28/02: Baseball, broken, can be fixed: 15 minutes with George Will
08/16/02: 9-11 overload has already begun
08/13/02: Tell us what you really think, Ann Coulter
08/09/02: A funny take on a new kind of suburb
08/02/02: It's not the humidity, it's the (media) heat wave; the death of American cities
07/12/02: Colombia's drug lords are all business
07/09/02: If capitalism is 'soulless' then show me something better: 10 minutes with Alan Reynolds
06/25/02: Origins of a scandal: 10 minutes with Michael Rose
06/21/02: 9/11 report unearths good, bad and ugly
06/18/02: The FBI is rebounding 10 Minutes with Ronald Kessler
06/14/02: U.S. News opens closet of Secret Service
06/11/02: 10 minutes with William Lind: Can America survive in this 'fourth-generation' world?
06/07/02: America, warts and all
05/30/02: FBI saga gets more depressing
05/13/02: The magazine industry's annual exercise in self-puffery
04/30/02: 10 Minutes with ... The New York Sun's Seth Lipsky
04/26/02: Will the American Taliban go free?
04/23/02: 10 minutes with ... Dinesh D'Souza
04/19/02: Saddam starting to show his age
04/12/02: Newsweek puts suicide bombing in perspective
04/09/02: How polls distort the news, change the outcome of elections and encourage legislation that undermines the foundations of the republic
04/05/02: Looking into the state of American greatness
03/25/02: The American President and the Peruvian Shoeshine Boys
03/22/02: Troublemaking intellectual puts Churchill in spotlight
03/20/02: 10 minutes with ... Bill Bennett
03/18/02: Suddenly, it's cool again to be a man
03/12/02: 10 minutes with Ken Adelman
03/08/02: TIME asks the nation a scary question
03/05/02: 10 minutes with ... Rich Lowry
02/26/02: 10 minutes with ... Tony Snow
02/12/02: Has Soldier of Fortune gone soft?

© 2002, Bill Steigerwald