Four Cheers for the Washington Post
I've got no stake in the matter, but four cheers to the Washington Post for winning four Pulitzer Prizes. It's a needed shot in the arm for a publication that has lost considerable respect inside the Beltway over the past several years, as top correspondents have fled to other papers and as the editorial brain-trust allowed the paper's influential status as Washington's pace-setter to attenuate. For Washington to function properly, we need a functioning, competitive top-flight newspaper. The Washington Times is not that newspaper, and POLITICO plays an entirely different role -- it sets metabolic speed and gives us the carbs. The Post ought to provide us with nourishment -- the protein. Sad to say it, but the New York Times has been the legacy source for authoritative Washington coverage in recent years. (That's not sad for the Times, of course.) Here's hoping that the Pulitzer wins catalyze the paper's talented staff. Signs that the Post has gotten the message abound: they're hiring intellectually honest blogger-reporters like Ezra Klein and David Weigel to occupy the increasingly ambiguous space between news and opinion journalism.
NB: my favorite book of the year happened to win the prize for non-fiction: David Hoffman's The Dead Hand, about how close the U.S. and Russia came to nuclear Armageddon in the 1980s. And kudos to Atlantic contributor Bob Wright, for being a finalist in that category, for "The Evolution of God."