Jack Shafer

So Warren Buffett likes newspapers again?

By Jack Shafer
May 18, 2012

Just because Warren Buffett blew $142 million in cash on 63 daily and weekly Media General newspaper titles yesterday doesn’t mean that newspapers are back. All it means is that an old cow that’s still a milker has been moved to a neighboring farm’s pasture, where it will be squeezed until it can give no more and will then be ground into pet food.

Candidate-press relations are, well, about as ‘sour’ as usual

By Jack Shafer
May 16, 2012

Having secured the nominations of their parties, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney have set their campaign throttles to late-spring idle with a speech here, a speech there, a commencement address over there, and fundraisers and soft TV appearances everywhere. Eventually, the two candidates will stop coasting, but until they do, reporters will continue to lard their work with exercises in meta-journalism, such as today’s 1,800-word Politico piece, “Obama and Romney’s common foe.”

Aiming for Bradlee but missing

By Jack Shafer
May 9, 2012

This review originally appeared in the Washington Post on May 6, 2012, and is being reprinted by permission of the Post.

Anatomy of a leak, 1966-67

By Jack Shafer
May 8, 2012

Every leaker of information has an agenda. The leaker can be an honest whistleblower, a spinner, a junior Machiavelli, a nut job, a misinformed flunky or a combination of several of the above. But with every trickle of privileged information, the leaker invites other interested parties to leak their side of the story, setting institutions against institutions and publications against publications.

Rupert Murdoch’s escape act

By Jack Shafer
May 1, 2012

The publication today of Parliament’s 121-page report (pdf) on phone hacking has the British press all but publishing obituaries for Rupert Murdoch. The report damns him for turning “a blind eye” to the scandal of phone hacking at his companies, News Corporation and News International.

What did Ben Bradlee know, and when did he know it?

By Jack Shafer
April 30, 2012

In 1990, former Washington Post Executive Editor Ben Bradlee told journalist Barbara Feinman, who was helping him on his memoir A Good Life: Newspapering and Other Adventures, that he had “a little problem with Deep Throat.” Bradlee, who was then 69 years old, continued:

Who cares if Murdoch lobbied?

By Jack Shafer
April 25, 2012

Pummel Rupert Murdoch and his minions all you want for News Corp.’s phone-hacking of celebrities and crime victims, its computer-hacking, its blagging, its bribing of police, its payments of hush money, its obstruction of justice, and its operation of what former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown once called a “criminal-media nexus.”

Sadly, human trophies are as old as war itself

By Jack Shafer
April 18, 2012

If you talk very long with soldiers who’ve seen combat, they’ll offer that death is a joke. Not a very funny joke, but one that never gets old. With every new war, with every new brigade of recruits, soldiers rediscover the death joke and retell it by taking battlefield trophies of enemy equipment, enemy personal effects and even staged photos with enemy body parts, as the Los Angeles Times reports today.

Fox mole hunting

By Jack Shafer
April 11, 2012

A Fox News Channel employee has turned mole at the behest of Gawker and has now filed two dispatches from the House that Roger Ailes Built.

Instagrammatical man

By Jack Shafer
April 9, 2012

Today, Facebook purchased Instagram – maker of the wildly popular iPhone and Android photo-sharing app of the same name – for $1 billion. That’s a lot of money for a company that’s less than two years old and has no real revenues. But viewed historically the deal is a smart one. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is onto something. The human desire for self-expression – to say something as simple as “I’m here” – is insatiable, and Instagram exploits it superbly.