Opening Act: A Chance at the Bright Lights

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Aug. 5 2013 8:13 AM

Opening Act: A Chance at the Bright Lights

Frank Bruni, the replacement-level columnist for the New York Times, filed a Sunday piece on a topic so few people had the courage to cover. Yes: He wrote about Anthony Weiner. And he made it about Olivia Nuzzi, the young journalist who interned for the Weiner campaign then started writing about it when it collapsed. Despite his access to some of the most powerful words any journalist can ask for when calling a source—"I'm calling from the New York Times"—Bruni lazily described Nuzzi not as a journalist but as a "college student" who "saw a chance at bright lights and went after it, spilling secrets in return for a glamour shot on the front page of a major newspaper."

As Paul Carr explains, Nuzzi actually was told by the New York Daily News that her photo wouldn't make the cover. Then it did. Sarah Lacy makes the most perceptive point, after arguing that Weiner spokeswoman Barbara Morgan temporarily won.

The fact that she kept her job after calling 20-year-old Nuzzi a fame whore, and a twat and a slut bag is amazing. But far worse is that she succeeded in cementing the world’s view of Nuzzi. And she succeeded precisely because Nuzzi isn’t all the things that Morgan alleged. She didn’t want to be the focus of the story, so she turned down multiple offers to go on TV and tell her side of things. She didn’t want to be the fame whore that Morgan alleged. But in doing so, she gave up her opportunity to reframe the narrative. It was almost extortion by the press: Don’t want to be called a fame whore? Then come on TV and make your case!
Advertisement

Terry McAuliffe would be in better shape now if his car company was better at selling vehicles than selling visas.

Kim Strassel keeps up the parallel-universe reporting on the IRS scandal, in which a 501 that only ever ran campaign ads had its rights to tax exemption unfairly challenged by Obama thugs.

The policies from the State of the Union are—hold on to something—not moving through Congress.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

TODAY IN SLATE

Frame Game

Hard Knocks

I was hit by a teacher in an East Texas public school. It taught me nothing.

Chief Justice John Roberts Says $1,000 Can’t Buy Influence in Congress. Looks Like He’s Wrong.

After This Merger, One Company Could Control One-Third of the Planet's Beer Sales

Hidden Messages in Corporate Logos

If You’re Outraged by the NFL, Follow This Satirical Blowhard on Twitter

Sports Nut

Giving Up on Goodell

How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.

How Can We Investigate Potential Dangers of Fracking Without Being Alarmist?

My Year as an Abortion Doula       

  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 16 2014 11:41 AM Klobucharmania: Catch It!
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 16 2014 10:17 AM How Jack Ma Founded Alibaba
  Life
Atlas Obscura
Sept. 16 2014 8:00 AM The Wall Street Bombing: Low-Tech Terrorism in Prohibition-era New York
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 3:31 PM My Year As an Abortion Doula
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Sept. 15 2014 11:38 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 4  A spoiler-filled discussion of "Listen."
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 16 2014 11:40 AM How to Put Things in Your Fridge
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 16 2014 7:36 AM The Inspiration Drought Why our science fiction needs new dreams.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 16 2014 7:30 AM A Galaxy of Tatooines
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.