In-House Items: Mayer and Yahoo, Mondoweiss

In keeping with my Big Tent theory of our publication, I figure that it's usually not my business to weigh in, pro or con, on items by other people in our magazine or online. Except, of course, to urge everyone to Subscribe! The current issue, most famous for Anne-Marie Slaughter's cover article, is in fact wall-to-wall with interesting and extremely well-crafted features. Check it out and then, ahem, subscribe!

Two recent exceptions I want to note, on our web site. First, I agree with Alexis Madrigal's item yesterday hailing Marissa Mayer's selection as Yahoo's CEO, and offering some ideas for her. It will be better for the tech industry, the country, the world, and probably even for Mayer's employer-until-yesterday Google if Yahoo returns to competitive health. I can't think of a better choice than Mayer to give it that chance.

Second, I agree with Robert Wright's objections to an item we ran during the weekend. That item criticized Peter Beinart and his Open Zion site for publishing an article by a writer for Mondoweiss. If you are going to argue that a certain organization, in this case Mondoweiss, is so noxious that anyone associated with it must be barred from mainstream conversation, even if (as in this case) you acknowledge that the specific person you want to bar has not written or said anything you object to, then go ahead and argue it. For me, this is an extremely stiff test, which needs to be taken on directly if you want to assert that a particular person should not be heard. I don't think our item came anywhere close to meeting the necessary standard or making the case.

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James Fallows is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Carter's chief speechwriter. His latest book is China Airborne. More

James Fallows is based in Washington as a national correspondent for The Atlantic. He has worked for the magazine for nearly 30 years and in that time has also lived in Seattle, Berkeley, Austin, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, and Beijing. He was raised in Redlands, California, received his undergraduate degree in American history and literature from Harvard, and received a graduate degree in economics from Oxford as a Rhodes scholar. In addition to working for The Atlantic, he has spent two years as chief White House speechwriter for Jimmy Carter, two years as the editor of US News & World Report, and six months as a program designer at Microsoft. He is an instrument-rated private pilot. He is also now the chair in U.S. media at the U.S. Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, in Australia.

Fallows has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award five times and has won once; he has also won the American Book Award for nonfiction and a N.Y. Emmy award for the documentary series Doing Business in China. He was the founding chairman of the New America Foundation. His recent books Blind Into Baghdad (2006) and Postcards From Tomorrow Square (2009) are based on his writings for The Atlantic. His latest book is China Airborne. He is married to Deborah Fallows, author of the recent book Dreaming in Chinese. They have two married sons.

Fallows welcomes and frequently quotes from reader mail sent via the "Email" button below. Unless you specify otherwise, we consider any incoming mail available for possible quotation -- but not with the sender's real name unless you explicitly state that it may be used. If you are wondering why Fallows does not use a "Comments" field below his posts, please see previous explanations here and here.


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