Why I Get More Than 1 Paper, Medicare Edition

I am doing my part to keep the print-newspaper business going. And you should too!
Here is the lineup on the breakfast table this morning. (And, yes, before you ask, that is a batik cloth in the background, from the old days in Indonesia.) 


Overall front-page lead story in the WaPo: "Medicare's future appears brighter".

#2 off-lead front page story in the NYT: "Report Shows Better Outlook for Medicare".


Mentions of that story anywhere on the front page of the WSJ, including the news-briefs column: zero.

The new Medicare assessment does make a cameo appearance at the bottom of page 5 (see right). Instead the WSJ devotes its featured front-page space to whether the IRS is doing more inspections of Republicans, and the plush life of modern Washington. Plus a very good (really) story, in the tradition of the old WSJ "A-hed" front-page features, on the modern high-tech sock-knitting industry.

Homework assignment: as we have seen before, there is a testable hypothesis to apply to the evolution of the Wall Street Journal.
  • Hypothesis: Under the ownership of Rupert Murdoch and the editorship of Robert Thomson*, the Journal has deliberately been bringing its news operations into closer alignment with its editorial-page views.
  • Sub-hypothesis: You don't see this shift in the line-by-line content of the stories themselves but rather in the headlines, subheads, and placement of the stories in the paper. That is, we're looking at editors' work rather than reporters'.

Being hypotheses, these are subject to testing and disproof. The experiment goes on.

* Thomson took broader News Corp editorial responsibilities this year; Gerard Baker is his successor as WSJ managing editor.
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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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