What We Covered

Editor’s Note: This article previously appeared in a different format as part of The Atlantic’s Notes section, retired in 2021.

We’re going to be experimenting with a new weekly feature in Notes, “What We Covered”—a roundup of stories on TheAtlantic.com you may have missed this week. The output of our site has dramatically increased since the early fall and now with the launch of our new Politics & Policy sub-site for Election 2016, so we want to try to make it easier for regular readers to keep tabs on all the great coverage. Think of it as the flip side of our “What We’re Following” feature.

More than just summarizing what the site has published each week, “What We Covered” will increasingly integrate newly published material, such as reader commentary, visuals, tweets from outside writers, and editorial notes from our various sections. Like all things during this early, experimental period of Notes, we want your feedback on what works, what doesn’t, and suggestions for things you’d like to see. So drop us an email anytime: hello@theatlantic.com.

For this first trial run of “What We Covered,” a huge thanks to our new assistant editor for Notes, Caroline Mimbs Nyce, who did the lion’s share of compiling our coverage this week. Caroline just joined us from National Journal, where she was an editorial fellow, and I’m really psyched to have her smarts, sensibility, and fresh ideas for the continued development of Notes.

Politics & Policy

For the first week of the new year, the U.S. presidential candidates picked right up where they left off. In case you missed:

  • David on Trump’s first ad—controversial, of course—and Emma Green on Rubio’s new religious spot, seen here:

    One reader’s reaction: “Predicating one’s decisions upon ‘God's plan’ is awesome; you can justify anything and no one can ever prove you were wrong.” Another notes: “According to press reports [see here], Rubio attends both Catholic and Protestant Evangelical services.”

  • Conor on the history of Trump as a celebrity. A reader points out: “You wanna know the first time Donald Trump showed up in The New York Times? It was in the article “Major Landlord Accused of Antiblack Bias in the City” and it concerned a suit the DoJ (in 1973, under Nixon!) brought against The Donnie and his daddie for violating the Fair Housing Act of 1968.”

  • Norm Ornstein on “the eight causes of Trumpism.” (The piece was one of our most popular from the week.)

  • Russell on Hillary Clinton’s attempt to “outflank Sanders by arguing that her proposal is far tougher on the banks whose risky bets actually caused the financial crisis in 2008.”  

  • Clare on the limits of Sanders’s anti-bank rhetoric.

  • Andrea Flynn on “the great Clinton-Sanders tax divide.”

  • David on another round of Ted Cruz birtherism, led by Trump. One reader says of the GOP, “This is like watching a rabid dog eat its own tail.”

  • Peter on how “GOP candidates have rediscovered the virtues of Arab dictatorships.” A long-time reader writes:

    Republicans love a good strongman. A lot of them swoon over Putin too. Even at home, three of their leading candidates are businesspeople or other private-sector executives who want to “run America like a business.” What do you suppose that means? Businesses are generally clear top-down hierarchies. Makes the complaining about Obama's “tyranny” that much funnier.

In Oregon, an armed group of protesters continued their hold on a federal building:

  • Conor on the Hammond case and “the injustice of mandatory minimums.”

  • David on police restraint in Oregon compared to Black Lives Matter. A reader doesn’t buy it:

    Not that these backwards rednecks deserve any defense, but to be fair, unlike BLM they’re occupying a completely unoccupied refuge in the middle of nowhere—not a political rally, not a college campus, not in the middle of a busy city. The comparison is disingenuous at the least. I’m sure the feds would take the exact same approach if BLM occupied a desolate stretch of land.

Back in D.C., it was politics as usual:

Other political stories you may have missed:


The international community watched closely as a feud broke out between Saudi Arabia and Iran:

A series of alleged sexual assaults in Cologne triggered massive controversy:

When there is a clash of left-wing interest groups, nonwhites always take precedence. The nonwhite attackers rank higher on the scale than white women, so the media, the government, and the police are not going to address women’s legitimate concerns here.

Elsewhere around the globe:

Mostly correct until the last sentence: “the world can accept nothing less than the group’s full defeat.” No, actually the belief that they must be fully defeated only serves to keep them powerful. Let the Saudis and their other sponsors stop funding them and they will wither. There will always be a few, and fine—they will be relatively harmless, at least compared to other players in the Middle East.

Over in our photo section, Alan served up a bunch of eye candy: then-and-now photos of New York City, scenes from the 2016 Harbin Ice and Snow Festival, a look at the date January 4 throughout history, and photos of the week.


The stock market started the new year on the wrong foot. In case you missed:

Other stories we covered in the world of business:

I wish this article had stopped to note that recidivism does not mean repeating a crime or gaining a new charge. The vast majority of recidivism involves breaking the overzealous rules of probation and parole. Things like being out past an arbitrary curfew, possessing any amount of alcohol, and a pile of other asinine rules.


With each new year, there are new binge-watching opportunities. (I myself just plowed through Making a Murderer, covered by Lenika last month.) Below are some updates this week from the big and small screens, in case you missed:

  • Christopher on the new movie The Hateful Eight, “a film that exhibits all of Tarantino’s worst attributes as a filmmaker and scarcely any of his best.” He also had a followup note on “among the worst” scenes Tarantino has ever written.

  • Christopher on Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s new film, The Revenant.

  • David on whether this year in film will be as racially diverse as the last. A reader points to another realm of mainstream entertainment: “If Hollywood must be ‘diverse,’ then so should pro sports. If you follow this ‘logic’ of diversity, for example, there should be at least 50 percent white players in the NBA (still FAR below the percentage of whites of all males in America).”

Off screen, we covered conversations in sports, music, literature, and … puddles. In case you missed:


Alia shepherded some great stories this week:

Science, Tech, Health

Humans were fascinating this week, as always. In case you missed:

Our coverage wasn’t limited to a single planet:

Our reporters and freelancers investigated the Internet:

Some miscellaneous coverage, in case you missed:

That’s it for this week. Check in tomorrow morning for Krishnadev’s “What We’re Following” in the news.