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

Tag: David Nyhan

David Brooks, 140 characters at a time

David Brooks speaking at the Kennedy School. Photo by Lauren Schaad. Original in the Storify referenced below.

New York Times columnist David Brooks ripped into the Republican Party for failing to come to grips with a country whose diversity is on the rise. The Republicans, he said Thursday evening at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, were “a lagging indicator” in the demographic changes that have taken place over the past several decades, and that helped shape the election results last week.

Brooks delivered the Theodore H. White Lecture on Press and Politics, an annual program presented by the Kennedy Schools’ Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy. His talk was precededed by the presentation of the David Nyhan Prize for Political Journalism to Atlanta Journal-Constitution columnist Cynthia Tucker.

A lot of people were live-tweeting the event, and the Shorenstein Center put together a Storify that you can read by clicking here. My own tweets follow.

Remembering David Nyhan

My brief mention of the late Boston Globe columnist David Nyhan prompts this wonderful reminiscence by Elliot Luber, who writes to Media Nation about watching Nyhan in action while he was a Northeastern co-op student.

The occasion was the 1978 night that Ed King stunned the political world by defeating incumbent Michael Dukakis in the Democratic primary for governor.

Meeting Nyhan was probably the highlight of my co-op experience — not that I didn’t learn more from Paul Hirschorn, John Burke and Andy Gully (back at the Lawrence Eagle-Tribune), but Nyhan was the ultimate role model.

He was the tall young handsome journalist married to a model, and he called things as he saw them with not the slightest fear of how it might wrinkle [Globe editor Tom] Winship. I remember the night of Ed King’s victory over Dukakis — how it caught them so far by surpirse that they couldn’t make heads or tails of the numbers.

Winship had all the top editors huddled around an Atex where they were trying to figure out their lead story, and no one could, so Winship called for Nyhan to “get over here.” Nyhan, of course, was already out the door on the top floor of the parking lot, where they had quarantined the alcohol until after deadline.

He came sauntering across the city room with the loud false floor above the Atex wiring booming, then sat down in front of the terminal, and put his beer down beside it. I remember telling Bart Ziegler: “He’s so damned cool! Here it is, the shit’s hitting the fan, and he’s so calm about it that he’s drinking in front of Winship.”

When I read in his obituary that he had won the Harvard-Yale game for Harvard by recovering a fumble in the end zone I was amused, but not surprised. I’d seen him do that for Winship.

Luber now lives in New York, where he works for IBM.

Man bites dog

The Phoenix’s David Bernstein salutes Mike Barnicle for writing a tough Huffington Post piece on John McCain, whom he had praised fulsomely for many years.

I’ll go halfway there. Barnicle is mighty critical of McCain, and it’s wondrous to see. But he can’t quite seem to get it through his head that it was McCain himself who hired the advisers “who took his honor and reputation and tossed it out like so many discarded items for a yard sale.” As I said the other day, there is no such thing as candidates who are better than their campaigns.

Here’s what I’d really like to know. What would David Nyhan think? I can’t recall a liberal pundit more enamored of McCain than Nyhan was. Unfortunately, he’s not here to tell us.

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