Surfing the Space Web

Summaries of what's in Time, Newsweek, etc.
Nov. 12 1999 9:30 PM

Surfing the Space Web

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New Republic, Nov. 29

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A pair of cover stories on campaign staffers. One piece affectionately profiles Al Gore's campaign jester/press secretary, Chris Lehane. Lehane's greatest contribution to the campaign may be a sense of humor: His pranks include ordering a hotel to remove all furniture from a fellow staffer's room. Another cover article skewers George W. Bush's communications director, Karen Hughes, as too controlling. By tightly managing Bush's interactions with the press and public, Hughes "allows her candidate to peddle his backslapping bonhomie" without revealing his lack of "basic knowledge and experience." An editorial condemns the bombardment of Chechnya as "grudge genocide." The Russian offensive is "Milosevic-like," but the Clinton administration won't intervene because it "does not defend human rights in big countries."

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Economist, Nov. 13

The cover editorial advocates breaking Microsoft into two or three competing operating-system companies and an applications company, which would encourage innovation without harming interoperability. ... An article ridicules interplanetary plans for the Internet. A consortium including NASA is planning to create a separate Internet to ease communication among spacecraft. The first interplanetary Net-equipped craft won't launch till 2005. Spaceweb surfers would have to use domain names such as--no joke--www.slate.com.earth.sol.

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Brill's Content, December 1999

The cover story questions whether the conglomeration of media outlets will corrupt journalism. Corporate honchos are "cultural strangers" to the news business. Michael Eisner, for example, believes that ABC should not cover Disney. Don't worry too much: The proliferation of news outlets ensures that media conglomerates will be covered aggressively. An article describes how presidential contenders kowtow to New Hampshire's press. The campaigns lavish Manchester's WMUR-TV with political ad buys and the Steve Forbes campaign calls weeks ahead to secure an interview with a 7,000-subscriber newspaper.

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The New York Times Magazine, Nov. 14

A special issue about what clothing reveals. A chronicle of one woman's flirtation with a personal shopper laments the decline of posse shopping. Teen-age girls shop in groups, but as women slip into middle age, shopping becomes a solo sport. Personal shoppers are a poor substitute for the communal pleasure of hunting down the perfect sweater with pals. ... An article heralds the increasing importance of the department-store buyer. As stores merge, buyers for titans such as Saks change the course of fashion by telling designers what sells and demanding practical adjustments to runway designs. The magazine solves some enduring fashion mysteries. Bob Guccione's open-necked shirts are a reaction to his buttoned-up, private-school youth. Mr. Rogers' mother loved to knit him sweaters.

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Time  and U.S. News & World Report, Nov. 15

The newsweeklies agree that Microsoft is in big trouble. Time's cover story argues that Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson's findings of fact could not have been worse for Microsoft and could be used against Microsoft by competitors in private antitrust actions. U.S. News' cover says the proliferation of small computer devices and the ascendance of Web-based applications are eroding Microsoft's dominance. U.S. News notes that Microsoft is no longer just a software business. The company branched out into e-mail services, an online broadcasting tool, and a Web-based travel agency. (Read " Moneybox" for Slate's take on Jackson's findings.)

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