Weekend Reading

Last night Fox News treated the U.S. Defense Secretary’s resignation as a wonderful little holiday “retirement,” as much as possible gliding past the stark policy differences General James Mattis spelled out in his resignation letter. Normally this kind of thing makes me mad. But MSNBC and CNN were just as busy advancing their own agendas. Their coverage, first and foremost, framed the president as dangerous and unhinged, gliding over in their own way whether removing 2000 troops from Syria might be a reasonable idea. Conor Friedersdorf makes this point better than I can, here:

” … disdain for Trump and excessive deference to the foreign-policy establishment has caused much of the news media to err in their coverage—to treat the risky, costly, unconstitutional policy of maintaining a troop presence in Syria indefinitely as though it is obviously best, and to fail to treat the withdrawal of troops as a legitimate, reasonable position, even though it fulfills a campaign promise, enjoys popular support, remedies ongoing illegality, and has many plausible arguments that recommend it over quite unappealing alternatives.”

Andrew Sullivan strikes the same note this morning, calling it “astonishing”

” … how the Democrats and much of the liberal Establishment now supports an unending occupation of yet another Middle Eastern country.”

The point to be borne in mind, always, is that the media are not in this just to produce an informed electorate.


Around here, it seems like every weekend’s activities lately are restricted to indoors because of rain or snow. Which fits for the winter solstice, and which sets up another ideal weekend for absorbing reading. Here are a few suggestions:

– I thoroughly enjoyed a long travelogue titled A Week In Xinjiang’s Absolute Surveillance State by Vadim Mikhailov.
– As a photographer with 20,000 or so photos online, I’m at a momentary loss as to what to think of These Portraits Were Made by AI: None of These People Exist by Michael Zhang. Astounding.
Babylon Berlin, The German Capital at a Crossroads by Lars-Olav Beier, Hilmar Schmundt and Volker Weidermann
– What to read by African authors: My year of reading African women by Gary Younge
– A whole bunch of words about the BBC: Can’t Afford to Tell the Truth by Owen Bennett-Jones
– And finally, Good, the bad and the unknown: what a no‑deal Brexit looks like from the London Times.

Happy holidays to you and yours. See you next week.

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