A Reading Note

I’ve read perhaps a bit less than usual this week (in current events, anyway).

But one thing I’m noticing more and more clearly — in daily reading of the FT and in a three-person panel of foreign correspondents in the United States hosted by the Council on Foreign Relations on Friday — is that the non-U.S. press seems much more focused on the long-term trends in U.S. politics and culture, while the domestic press (especially and exemplified by the NYT) is focused on the immediate and personal.

There are exceptions on both sides, of course, and it’s often easier to spot your neighbor’s faults than your own. (Remember how bad austerity was in Europe, while we somewhat less blatantly choked our own recovery in 2008-09?)

But it’s often worth hearing what your neighbors are noticing and care to share. And it’s a really useful reminder of how much the U.S. press has changed in the past several years.

The NYT, for example, sends a lot more push notifications than the FT does, and the NYT’s are almost all highbrow clickbait.

A truly great newspaper is still a great luxury. And, even as the “media” landscape continues to change before our eyes, it’s worth asking if it’s wise for the paper of record to go on a years-long, barely-disguised marketing campaign against a sitting head of state.

It’s hard to know how to proceed when not all news is factual and the consensual delusion of “objectivity” is melting away. But I don’t think we can pretend by this point that even the most stolid sources aren’t pretty heavily filtered in their own ways.