By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Tag: Bill Barr

The Friday reading list

On this Friday morning, I’ve got three stories that I think are worth sharing with you. This is not the debut of a regular feature, but from time to time I run across good journalism that I want to put out there without much in the way of commentary. That’s what we used to use Twitter for, right?

The Washington Post isn’t going to be fixed anytime soon. Those of us who follow the trials and tribulations of The Washington Post have assumed that longtime publisher Fred Ryan had at least one foot on the proverbial banana peel. But according to Clare Malone, writing in The New Yorker, Ryan has emerged as more powerful than ever since the retirement of Marty Baron as executive editor. He seems to have no fresh ideas for reversing the Post’s declining fortunes, but Bezos apparently likes him. It doesn’t sound like Baron’s successor, Sally Buzbee, shares Bezos’ affection for Ryan, but she lacks the clout that the legendary Baron had.

Questions about the police killing of Tyre Nichols. MLK50: Justice Through Journalism is among the projects that Ellen Clegg and I are writing about in “What Works in Community News,” our book-in-progress. The website, based in Memphis, focuses on social justice issues. In a list of questions that need to be answered about Nichols’ death, this one stands out: “Since 2015, Memphis police have killed at least 15 people. How many people would need to die at the police’s hands before city leaders concede that the latest incident isn’t an indictment of a few bad apples, but reflects an institution that requires immediate overhaul?”

The Durham investigation was as corrupt it appeared. New York Times reporters Charlie Savage, Adam Goldman and Katie Benner go deep (free link) into Bill Barr and John Durham’s years-long effort to discredit the investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia and to somehow drag Hillary Clinton into it. The best quote is from Robert Luskin, a lawyer who represented two witnesses Durham interviewed: ““When did these guys drink the Kool-Aid, and who served it to them?”

Mail-in voting is here to stay. But that doesn’t mean it should become routine.

Photo (cc) 2005 by Russ

Voting is a great civic exercise — a community coming-together. Which is why I disagree with the idea that the expansion of mail-in voting implemented this year as a response to the COVID pandemic should be made permanent, as this Boston Globe editorial suggests.

Yes, voting by mail is safe and secure, as none other than Attorney General Bill Barr has conceded. Yes, it should continue to be available for those who need it. And yes, we need to make voting easier.

But there are ways to do that that don’t involve sitting alone in your house and filling out your ballot. Early in-person voting has worked well. Moving Election Day to a Saturday, making it an all-weekend event, making it a holiday — all good ideas.

Voting by mail, though, should be an exception, not the rule.

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