When newspaper circulation in the U.S. peaked in the 1970s
and '80s, large news outlets could afford to have specialists covering such
fields as science, medicine, legal affairs, environment and religion. At the Los Angeles Times, where I worked for
three decades through 1998, there were always at least two or three of us on
the religion beat.
I'll be giving Christianity and Contemporary Politics to my graduate students and others seeking to become authors and academics. It is a model of the kind of book a scholar should be looking to write.
It's useful to meet the argument that torture works with the facts: actually, there is not much evidence
that it does. In the end, however, the question is not whether torture is ever useful but whether it is morally permissible.
Theories of change vary widely. Does progress arise from
countless participants, working in countless places and ways? Does it require
an organized movement? How critical are public, influential leaders? At what
point is there a need for precedent to be set from the top down?
When broadcaster Edward R. Murrow wrapped up a 1954 documentary on Joseph McCarthy, the demagogic anticommunist senator from Wisconsin, he said that McCarthy “didn’t create this situation of fear—he merely exploited it, and rather successfully.” Murrow added that this was not the time for people who opposed McCarthy’s methods to remain silent. Today no one in the news media today has the stature or the audience that Murrow had in the 1950s. Most reporters and commentators have been reluctant to push back against Donald Trump’s rhetoric and falsehoods, lest they be charged with partisanship. However, when leading Republican figures speak out against Trump, reporters are given some cover for challenging Trump’s claims (Columbia Journalism Review, July 15).