President Barack Obama pauses during a health-insurance reform rally in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari)
Barack Obama spent much of last year's presidential campaign trying to shake off the "elitist" label. He took pains to play down his Ivy League education and play up the more working-class elements of his background: "I wasn't born into a lot of money. I didn't have a trust fund. I was raised by a single mother with the help of my grandparents." Michelle Obama told the public that her husband snored and forgot to pick up his socks. At a photo-op in a blue-collar bar in Pennsylvania, the candidate ordered a Yuengling and asked, "Is it expensive, though? ... Wanna make sure it's not some designer beer or something."
As Sen. Edward Kennedy was put to rest this weekend, cable news networks filled airtime by exhausting every angle of his life. They waxed poetic about his leadership style, debating who would be the Senate's next "lion." They delved into the history of America's most beloved and, many would argue, most doomed first family. They looked forward, wondering how the senator's death might serve as motivation in the ongoing debate over health-care reform.
The Clintons have long been America's Rorschach test for married life and all its complications -- infidelity, money, power-sharing, partnership, support, and yes, blow jobs. In the latest chapter of their very public love story, Hillary's political career, Bill has been asked to do something potentially even more difficult than keeping his pants on: zip his lip. Sometimes he's failed miserably. More often than not, he's done a decent -- albeit not great -- performance as the adoring husband. In fact, the image of his teary, red-faced standing ovation for her at the Democratic National Convention struck me as refreshingly authentic.
Journalism, as we've known it, has been mourned deeply over the last few years. The Internet has changed everything. "Citizen journalism," a phrase that still inspires dirty looks at most journalism conferences, has blurred the lines between objectivity and subjectivity, paid and unpaid labor, news and opinion. It gives veteran journalists agita to imagine totally untrained people messing around in their exclusive, albeit hardscrabble, club.
With all this reshaping and shifting of our industry, all this talk about changing financial models and publishing structures, now is an opportune time to question one of the field's most defended values: objectivity.
Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin answers questions after signing three budget bills into law in Anchorage, Alaska in this June 29, 2007, file photo. (AP Photo/Al Grillo, File)
I almost heard the crinoline and ruffles crunching as Alice Paul turned over in her grave when Sarah Palin jubilantly shouted, "Life is about choices!" during her resignation speech a couple of weeks ago. It's not that "choice" was a framing device embraced by the suffragists -- really, it was more of a second-wave buzz word -- it's that the feminism Paul propelled with her starvation campaign and years on the picket line seems to have been reincarnated in a very strange form.