I never read the editorials in The New York Times. I don’t know who writes them, but I find them predictable to a high degree, and boring as well. It’s the news analysis that I value most. For instance, I have long admired Steven Erlanger. In a short space, he is able to capture insights and put them into context with superb clarity and narrative drive. His articles call for rereading, since they are layered and penetrating. To my mind, this is one of the best brief analyses of the jihadist threat that we face today:
It is disturbing to me that most younger people do not read news analysis. They get the news in bits and pieces, but television, cable, online news bites, social media offer little in the way of depth. Unless one is practiced in searching out well-informed analysis from sources like The Atlantic, The New Yorker, Foreign Affairs, etc., the impressions one receives from the news media are dangerously superficial. There are only a few journalists who are able to do the job of an Erlanger, and they are not to be found unless one is willing to search for them. The New York Times has its flaws, of course, but I still find it to be essential daily reading for analysis of the news.
Another somewhat longer article in today’s paper, by the impressive, experienced Adam Nossiter, reports in interesting detail about the problems that now plague the admirable (theoretically, that is) open borders of the European Union. We don’t understand these issues in any depth; we prefer quick, self-righteous dismissals. I hear people every day talking about how stupid the French are, or how incompetent the Belgians are. Those are easy comments to make, and their mere simplicity is comforting to those who want mere simplicity in their opinions, but if we and our European allies are to make any progress, we need to consult people who have a sophisticated and subtle grasp of all the factors involved. The Nossiter article is gripping in its description of failures across the board, and its appeal for “a permanent exchange on the European level” is made in a concise, accessible form. Here is the link to the Nossiter piece: