About that NYT article — Jonathan Van Meter’s piece on Anthony Weiner for the April 2013 issue of NY Times Magazine was well received. The story with the headline, “Anthony Weiner and Huma Abedin’s Post-Scandal Playbook,” narrated Weiner’s fall from Congress, his life after and his first steps back into politics. But WaPo’s Erik Wemple argues that the story is now “being blamed for enabling Weiner’s political rehabilitation.” Weiner told Van Meter that he was “eying” the mayor’s race and enlisted the help of pollster David Binder. As many journalists do when writing profiles, Van Meter immersed himself into Weiner and Abedin’s life. But, Wemple argues, immersion wasn’t the key to this story. Instead, skepticism should have ruled his reporting. Van Meter didn’t question Weiner on when he ceased having those online sexy chatfests or phone sex, which we now know he continued having after he resigned.
Why you should read it: The NYT piece drew well deserved praise, even from the likes of Poltico Editor-in-Chief John Harris, when it was first published, but had Van Meter pushed Weiner on whether he had halted the online relationships, it could have been a very different story.
Hindsight is 20/20 — In an op-ed for Scoop San Diego, Doug Curlee says he has covered Bob Filner, San Diego’s pervert mayor, since he was elected to school board in 1979. He says that he and many other San Diego journalists knew how abrasive and abusive he was throughout his political career. Now that Filner is facing a slew charges of sexual harassment, Curlee questions why the media, including himself, didn’t investigate Filner earlier. He doesn’t know the answer, but offers a few suggestions: the media could have been lazy, because Filner had established himself as a Democratic power or because Filner controlled votes and campaign funds of “large and ever-growing organized labor groups, the unions.” None seem like good reasons to not investigate the mayor’s behavior, but Curlee says the media as a whole “didn’t try, or try hard enough” and that San Diego journalists “should be a little ashamed of that,” noting that he is.
Why you should read it: How often does a journalist say he f–ked up? That in itself is a good reason to hear him out. According to Curlee, Filner had been a subject of speculation among San Diego journalists, and he offers insight into why those stories were never pursued.
Prepared for battle — Religious scholar and author Reza Aslan’s interview Friday with Fox News’ Lauren Green has spread around the Internet like Chicken Pox before there was a vaccine, starting with it being posted by BuzzFeed’s Andrew Kaczynski, and labeled as one of the most embarrassing interviews to appear on the network. Green tore into Aslan asking how, as a Muslim, he can write a book about Jesus Christ. But Slate’s Josh Voorhees argues that Aslan knew what he was doing coming into the interview. In battling Green and establishing credibility for himself by listing off his college degrees, Voorhees says that Aslan “highlighted the gaping hole in Green’s line of questioning.” The interview worked out well for Aslan. After the interview, Zealot was at the top of the Amazon and Barnes & Noble best-seller lists.
Why you should read it: Voorhees offers–something different–a look from Aslan’s side.