I should like to pose a question to the overnight press baron, Chris Hughes, who owns the moribund New Republic that he has rendered moribund with astounding speed and no class at all.
My question is an old-fashioned one that might have circulated within the humanities faculty at universities two generations ago. “What,” I would ask, “makes a book more authoritative and satisfying than a news report?” Most of the profs in their tweed jackets and some pulling on their briar pipes would answer that the author of a book has more time to write it than the author of a news story, and the author of a book has more sources to consult and more interviews to conduct. He or she works from more evidence and writes with greater care—at least one would hope. To which today’s slightly crazed neoteric shouts some gibberish about “a vertically integrated digital media company” and leaves the room, preferably with the slam of a door.