Why is "Tiger King" on Netflix the biggest hit so far for the vast audience created by the coronavirus lockdown? For starters, it contains every weird and therefore addicting trope that tabloid TV ever imagined.
It also seems to connect in unexpected ways with the side of America that ever since childhood has wanted to run away and join the ...Read more
A few decades ago, I noticed that my aging father, who loathed all jewelry besides his wedding ring, was wearing a copper bracelet.
"It's supposed to be good for aches and pains," he muttered, sounding a bit less than convinced of its alleged powers.
"Y'know that's probably not going to do you any good," I said, seizing this golden opportunity...Read more
More than 3,000 Americans had died in the coronavirus pandemic as of Tuesday, but President Donald Trump appeared to have his eyes glued to another set of numbers: his television audience ratings.
"Because the 'Ratings' of my News Conferences etc. are so high, 'Bachelor finale, Monday Night Football type numbers' according to the @nytimes, the ...Read more
When I heard that President Donald Trump was getting antsy to reopen the economy barely more than a week into national restrictions to contain the spread of the new coronavirus, my mind raced back to early March and a cruise ship called the Grand Princess.
Remember that story? While the cruise ship sat off the coast of San Francisco earlier in ...Read more
Here's one of the great journalistic questions in our age: If a politician does something scandalous in plain sight, even on purpose, is there still a scandal?
President Donald Trump has raised that question in my mind many times. The latest came in an over-the-shoulder photo that Washington Post photographer Jabin Botsford caught of the ...Read more
I was more delighted than usual to see that my 2020 census form arrived in the mail the other day. It gives me something else to do at home while waiting for the novel coronavirus storm to pass.
Not much to do, fortunately. It only took about 10 minutes to fill out, not including the extra time I have spent pondering what I call the most ...Read more
In a break from his usual claims of expertise on just about everything, President Donald Trump occasionally admits to learning something that he did not know before.
Such a moment notably came during his visit to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta where, wearing the bright ...Read more
Since perceptions are about 90% of politics, former Vice President Joe Biden's campaign for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination appeared to be dead in the water after he lost all four of the early contests, including a fifth-place finish in New Hampshire.
But South Carolina primary voters turned that around by voting overwhelmingly ...Read more
With the suddenness of a Hollywood drama, MSNBC commentator Chris Matthews went out with his own Howard Beale moment.
Beale, you may recall, is the deranged news anchor played by Peter Finch in the movie "Network" who famously leads his nation of viewers in shouting, "I'm as mad as hell and I'm not going to take this anymore."
Beale's ratings ...Read more
As I watch the deeply divided Democrats try to unify around a presidential candidate who can beat President Donald Trump, I find myself longing surprisingly for the days of the smoke-filled room.
No, children, it's not just because I'm getting old and cynical, although that helps.
For most of my adult life, I have been a "goo-goo." That's a ...Read more
Remember how President Donald Trump said this country could not absorb any more immigrants, legal or illegal?
"Our country is full," he declared during a visit to the border, among other occasions, a year ago. "Can't take you anymore ... so turn around."
That was then. Imagine my surprise when The Washington Post reported last week that Trump'...Read more
President Donald Trump could hardly contain his glee.
"WOW, BLOOMBERG IS A TOTAL RACIST!" he tweeted in all caps to his millions of followers early Tuesday, the day of the New Hampshire presidential primary.
The tweet leaked audio from 2015 in which Michael Bloomberg, former New York mayor and current Democratic rival for Trump's job, strongly...Read more
If I may revive a wonderful word from the days of President George W. Bush, don't "misunderestimate" President Donald Trump.
That thought came to mind last week as I watched teleprompter Trump deliver this year's State of the Union address, followed the next day by Twitter Trump and rally Trump.
Like the tireless salesman and spinmeister that ...Read more
First of all, thank you for reading.
I know you have a lot of choices to chew up your time, so I appreciate you spending some of it with me.
I'm being extra nice because I've been reading the much-talked-about book "Why We're Polarized," by journalist Ezra Klein, the founder of Vox, host of a popular podcast and passionately devoted analyst of...Read more
As the presidential race heats up, along with President Donald Trump's impeachment trial, so does the media bashing -- and, like the rest of American politics these days, polls show the public to be more divided than ever regarding whom to bash.
A leading example is the goofy feud between Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and NPR that most ...Read more
Judging by his early polling, Michael Bloomberg is giving election-buying a good name, as long as the money is filtered through the cleansing medium of television ad buys.
As you may know by now, especially if you have seen his ads, the billionaire media mogul and former New York mayor is running for president by sitting out the first four ...Read more
Every so often a book comes along that shakes up the national gabfest in a way that makes all of us talk about an old problem with a new urgency.
Jane Jacobs' 1961 book "The Death and Life of Great American Cities" sparked a movement to preserve urban neighborhood diversity against developers' bulldozers.
Michael Harrington's 1962 "The Other ...Read more
Until recently, Illinois state Rep. Jonathan Carroll, a Democrat, says he has avoided talking much in public about his childhood experiences with isolation punishment.
But he was moved to blog about it after the chilling revelations in a recent investigation by the Chicago Tribune and ProPublica Illinois of the disciplinary policy called "...Read more
Now that Cory Booker has dropped out of the Democratic presidential race, it must come as a relief to some of his critics that white people still have an opportunity to be president.
I'm referring, with my sarcastic tongue firmly in cheek, to the critics who thought the New Jersey senator was being a bit too candid when he complained a few days...Read more
Yes, like numerous other people across the civilized world, I was oddly surprised but not really shocked to hear that Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex, and his American-born wife, Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, have decided to pretty much call it quits on the royalty thing.
Many other observers were far more upset. Suddenly Brexit, the ...Read more