Weeks away from the election, anxiety stalks the land. Americans are broke, worried about their futures, deluged on an hourly basis with bizarre and surreal news items. How to cope with this national mood is a tricky question for a newspaper: When your mission statement calls for remaining sober and rational, how do you respond to outrage and hysteria? Can the Times interpret events in a way that connects with today’s cynical, weary readers? Let’s find out by looking at some examples. Below is the opening salvo from a recent op/ed attempting to articulate what it all means:
Over decades of writing about politics, I’ve crossed paths with many candidates and office holders who impressed me, but few who blew me away. Chris Christie blew me away.
Yes, that’s Frank Bruni, at one of whose columns you could throw a dart from 50 paces and hit a passage this dumb, and no, they’re not really trying. Below, I examine two closely related lines of argument with which Times writers evade the task of coming up with substantive takes on our current historical moment: It’s Not Fair to the Nice Republicans and It’s All the Democrats’ Fault for Not Being Centrist Enough.