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Announcement: New "America This Week" Wrapup, with Walter Kirn
In conjunction with celebrated author and longtime news vet Walter Kirn, we'll run down the week's biggest, most important, and also most ridiculous stories
Nearly a month into the “America This Week” feature, I kept having the same two thoughts. One is that it’s fun (and informative!) to put together. The other is that at week’s end, I find myself wishing I could review the material with a colleague with an appropriate sense of the absurd.
Problem solved, we hope: author Walter Kirn and I have decided to finish each week with something like a parody of a newscast, in which (cue clacking typewriter sounds) we recap the week’s biggest stories with an ear out for subtleties in coverage that only those cursed with experience in this wretched business might spot. Walter paid a lot of his dues at Time, while I put in the better part of two decades at Rolling Stone, and we share a lot of the same sensibilities about how news gets made, why only some stories are highlighted, and how dulled to insanity our bombarded modern audiences have become.
This will be an audio feature, posted on TK To Go. We’ll experiment with a few parody approaches to the podcast genre as time goes on, but we want it to be a utilitarian offering, too, a way to get the week’s news during a drive home without having to submit to the knife-to-the-ear that is Fresh Air or some other straight-news product.
We know this is a massive week in news, in which one story dominates. We’ll spend appropriate time on The Raid, but part of the point of the show is to make sure the rest of the world gets a hearing. As always, if you think there’s a story that’s under-covered, or a crazy tweet, article, or video that’s gone unnoticed, we’d love to hear from you. Walter can be found on Twitter here, and has a Substack called Unbound here, though the author of Up in the Air, The Unbinding, and Lost in the Meritocracy is hard at work on a new book at the moment. A reader unfamiliar with Walter’s views on the business would find a good primer in this hilarious and sadly on-point article, a passage from which we can take to wrap up:
The bullshit. It resembles, in its use of phrases such as “knowledgeable sources” and “experts differ,” what I used to think of as the news, but it isn’t the news and it hasn’t been for ages. It consists of its decomposed remains in a news-shaped coffin… The press used to maintain certain boundaries in the relationship, observing the incest taboo. It kept its pants zipped, at least in public. It didn’t hire ex-CIA directors, top FBI men, NSA brass, or other past and future sources to sit beside its anchors at spot-lit news-desks that blocked our view of their lower extremities. But it gave in.
If you have time, tune in beginning tomorrow for what we hope is the antidote. And please forgive us our bumps in the road.