What Digital Divide?

Summaries of what's in Time, Newsweek, etc.
Feb. 4 2000 9:00 PM

What Digital Divide?

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New Republic, Feb. 14

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An editorial warns against inflating the importance of the New Hampshire primary, which always shakes front-runners because the Granite State is "politically weird." Its citizens are less ideological, better educated, and richer than most Americans. The cover story spins the sad tale of Leon Smith, a NBA rookie who recently attempted suicide. Smith grew up in orphanages, but when word of his talent spread, the neglected youth was surrounded by greedy courtiers. He couldn't handle the crush of expectations. A piece deflates hysteria over the digital divide. As broadband makes the Web "less a medium of education, and more a medium of entertainment," the poor will need less encouragement to get online.

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Economist, Feb. 10

An article explains how Bill Clinton changed American politics. Balanced budgets and a booming economy broke "the automatic association of Democrats with profligacy." Micro-initiatives and devolving power to the states quelled hostility toward government. The cover editorial hopes that John McCain, the "knight-errant of American politics," will succeed in moving his party toward the center. 

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Brill's Content, March 2000

The cover story applauds the TV drama West Wing for presenting "a truer, more human picture of the people behind the headlines" than Washington journalism does. An article exposes how misreporting ignited Gore-bashing. When Al Gore mentioned that a kid's letter about a Tennessee toxic dump prompted him to hold hearings on Love Canal, New York Times reporter Katharine Q. Seelye incorrectly claimed that Gore asserted: "I was the one who started it all." Many journalists cited Seelye's misquote as evidence of the vice president's mendaciousness. A piece argues that the Western press presents a one-sided view of the war in Chechnya. The Russian attack is a response to rebel terrorism and the invasion of Dagestan.

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New York Times Magazine, Feb. 6

The cover story applauds "the computer-game playing, New Economy-minded" King of Jordan. Abdullah II intends to transform Amman into the Internet capital of the Middle East. The American-educated ex-wrestler is so "fluent in the language of American pop culture" that he expresses his distaste for Jordan's bureaucracy by referring to an episode of Dharma & Greg. An article predicts the comeback of bacteriophages as an incredible weapon against antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The microscopic predators were discovered in the diarrhea of locusts and developed in Stalin's Soviet Union. Whoever patents them will become a billionaire. A profile of National Book Award-winning novelist Ha Jin marvels at the yawning gulf between the Chinese émigré's marvelous written English and his shaky spoken English. 

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GQ, February 2000

The magazine asks, "Which candidate would make the best-dressed president?" Pat Buchanan's "saucy-riverboat-gambler look" suits his rhetorical flamboyance; George W. Bush's padded shoulders complement his corporate image; John McCain's wraparound shades symbolize his maverick nature; and Al Gore's three-button suits ameliorate "his tendency toward huskiness, a hallmark of the Clinton administration." An article champions the anti-circumcision movement and its radical "foreskin restoration" wing. (It involves rubber bands. Don't ask.) "Anti-circers" assert that shedding the foreskin is not a hygienic necessity and that women prefer sex with uncircumcised gents.