Claire Hoffman – Under God

Check out the smokin’ picture of Claire on top of her new blog about religion at the Washington Post.

She writes:

I grew up in a fringe religious movement in the Midwest. I started practicing Transcendental Meditation when I was three years old, and my religious background is a swampy-yet-exciting mix of Hinduism, Buddhism, Catholicism, Protestantism and like eight other world views. All of that has left me absolutely convinced that there is no answer. But nothing makes me happier than thinking about how our beliefs about God (or no God) transform and define our lives.

I studied cultural anthropology in college with a focus on religion and later received a masters degree from the University of Chicago’s Divinity School. In between and after, I’ve been a working journalist for such publications as the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, Condé Nast Portfolio, Rolling Stone, and others (I’m currently a contributing editor at Portfolio). I’ve written about education, railroads, the entertainment business, pornography, celebrities, gasoline, and a bunch of other stuff. All of which is to tell you that people fascinate me, and most of all the ability of their religious beliefs to move them to do the incredible, the evil, and the enlightened.

On top of Claire’s picture, is one of Jon Meacham. Wait a minute, wasn’t he the guy who held back Newsweek from publishing some of the biggest scoops of the past decade? How does this guy still show his face? He had the Monica Lewinsky story and he held it (and thus Matt Drudge broke the story). I don’t remember the other stories that he held back (didn’t Michael Isikoff and Newsweek have exclusives on the Valerie Plame affair that he let slip through his fingers?) and allowed others to publish first, but I know there have been some significant ones. Newsweek is the shining exemplar of spineless journalism and Jon Meacham is the role model for spineless journalism.

On his website, Jon describes himself thus: "Jon Meacham is the Editor of Newsweek. He arrived at the magazine as a writer in January 1995, became national affairs editor in June of that year, was named managing editor in November 1998 and was appointed editor of the magazine in October 2006. He supervises Newsweek‘s coverage of politics, international affairs, and breaking news, and has written cover stories on, among other topics, war, politics, religion, and race."

In other words, Jon was the national affairs editor when Newsweek decided not to publish Michael Isikoff’s article on Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky. Jon Meacham is the anti-Ben Bradlee. If he’d been in charge of the Washington Post, the paper would never have broken Watergate and would never have published the Pentagon Papers.

So how does this guy still have a job in journalism let alone run one of America’s two major newsweeklies? Because his spineless approach is the perfect match with his magazine.

At least Meacham had the guts to publish this Isikoff unsubstantiated story: "In the May 9, 2005 issue of Newsweek, Isikoff wrote an article that stated that interrogators at Guantanamo Bay "in an attempt to rattle suspects, flushed a Qur’an down a toilet." Detainees had earlier made similar complaints but this was the first time a government source had appeared to confirm the story. The article caused widespread rioting and massive anti-American protests throughout some parts of the Islamic world (causing at least 17 deaths in Afghanistan). The magazine later retracted the story after enormous pressure, noting that their sole anonymous source could not remember important details."

Jon Meacham – profile in courage.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see Amazon.com). My work has been followed by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (Alexander90210.com).
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