Media Wrap-Up: Moyers, Petraeus, Kaplan, Juneau

1) Just because I enjoyed the show so much, and because I didn't include a program link the first time around, I am daring to mention once again the discussion I had with Bill Moyers, on Moyers & Company, two days ago. You don't often get a chance to talk about American politics, media, and society with a person who's had the role in them that Moyers has. I found it really interesting, and I hope you will too.

2) Fred Kaplan, who was the first person to reveal Paula Broadwell's name as the woman with whom David Petraeus had been involved, had an assessment of the similarities and differences in Petraeus's and Broadwell's backgrounds here. Broadwell, whom I have met, is a recognizable type among high-flyers in the modern military. Kaplan explains a particular part of that culture, the "sosh" department at West Point. The easiest non-military analogy might be to the image created by Paul Ryan during his years of favorable press coverage leading up to his vice presidential nomination. Among admirers he was seen as super-intellectual ("brainiac on the budget" "I wouldn't have time to get into the details") and also super-disciplined and high-performing in physical attributes ("same body fat as an Olympic athlete" etc). A similar combination was part of the image and influence of David Petraeus in the military, and also of the self-presentation of Broadwell (a West Point grad) and other rising young officers. This is laying down a marker for future discussion, including in an article.

3) I discussed some of these issues with Guy Raz on Saturday afternoon on Weekend All Things Considered.

4) If you happen to be in Juneau from now until December 9, I heartily recommend the Perseverance Theatre's production of Oklahoma! That is not a sentence I ever imagined I would write, but it's true. If you're in Juneau today (Sunday Nov 11), you're welcome at a World Affairs Council session by my wife and me, on news from China. Followup tag-team events on Monday and Tuesday in Anchorage and Fairbanks, respectively. Some people think of going to Alaska in November and ask Why? Others dream of Alaska in winter and say, Why not? We've always enjoyed coming here, including the time we went to Fairbanks one February.

5) Late bonus: if you're interested in the debate about whether China's government can, or cannot, liberalize and reform quickly enough to keep ahead of the growing sophistication of its populace, be sure to read this essay by Paul Monk, a veteran Australian analyst of Asian affairs, in our international channel.

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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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