The New Yorker, Sept. 22 An article profiles Echo of Moscow, an independent Russian radio station that, at its inception in 1990, was a lone beacon of "fair and balanced" news and commentary in the Soviet world. After Putin's media crackdown, the station is "the last of an endangered species." The Kremlin is reluctant to suppress Echo because of its reputation and its example of free speech, but Putin has informed the station's producers that they are being watched. Still, Echo's personalities refuse to parrot his talking points. … An article surveys the political landscape of Alaska, which was as sensational and tumultuous as Alaskans had ever seen it before John McCain selected its governor as his running mate. Most of the discussion, of course, involves Sarah Palin's governing style: unorthodox in tone but substantively in keeping with Alaska's nonpartisan, economics-focused political culture.
Weekly Standard, Sept. 22 In the cover story, senior writer Matt Labash takes a trip to Wyoming to profile Dick Cheney the fly fisherman. Cheney granted the interview request only because he "wanted to see what kind of reporter had the cojones to convince his editors to pay for him to come up to fish the South Fork." Labash spends a day practicing in the new environment before his contest with Cheney, then loses by a wide margin. "In several decades of watching him," Labash writes, "I've never seen him smile this big."… An article relates the founders' debate over political aristocracy to skepticism about Sarah Palin's qualification for office. "The issue is not whether the establishment would let … Palin cross the bar into the certified political class, but whether regular citizens of this republic have the skill and ability to control the levers of government without having first joined the certified political class."
Newsweek, Sept. 22 The cover story compares women's response to Geraldine Ferraro's vice-presidential nomination in 1984 with their reaction to Sarah Palin's two decades later. Women didn't like Ferraro; they found her threatening to their stay-at-home lives. Palin is a different story: "Republican women, who have long been loath to vote for mothers of small children, are suddenly defending the right of women, or a woman, rather, to return to work three days after giving birth, and to seek higher office with five kids."… A column by Fareed Zakaria compares the foreign-policy views of John McCain, who focuses on the abstract enemy of Islamic extremism, with those of Barack Obama, who focuses on specific enemies like al-Qaida. Zakaria considers Obama's view more optimistic and closer to reality: "We live in remarkably peaceful times. A University of Maryland study shows that deaths from wars … are lower now than at any point in the last half century."
New York, Sept. 22
The cover story profiles Ron Galella, the famous paparazzo whom Jackie Kennedy Onassis once restrained with a court order. "His art was a corrective to the artifice of the star system. … Only by seeing someone shocked and spontaneous can you tell if their charisma is genuine." What does Galella think of today's ubiquitous amateur paparazzi? "They're unskilled. It's terrible."… A column posits that "Wal-Mart moms"—downscale white women with weak party allegiances—will decide the presidential election. Sarah Palin's first interviews indicated she's out of her depth, but that doesn't matter if her strongest appeal is emotional. She may be the Wal-Mart moms' perfect excuse to reject Obama, to whom they weren't warming in the first place. … This week's approval matrix loves "PMS Buddy," a Web site that alerts men when it's that time of the month.
Atlantic, October 2008
The cover story chronicles how John McCain's involvement with past wars has shaped his understanding of the way future conflicts should be fought and won. McCain insists that he doesn't overthink Vietnam, but close friends say it is always on his mind. He believes his detailed knowledge of failed strategy in Vietnam can prevent the same mistakes from happening in Iraq. McCain doubts the United States will ever fight another war in which victory is clear-cut, but national defense and American honor, which he sees as inseparable, is the one realm in which he is truly "unbending."… An essay by Ross Douthat cautiously argues that the immediacy of modern pornography has made the experience "much closer to adultery than … most porn users would like to admit." Porn isn't the society-eroding disease its loudest critics claim, but it is something we should consider before trading our sense of decency for "sophistication."