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

Tag: Washington Week

Why I’m not excited that Jeffrey Goldberg will host ‘Washington Week’

Jeffrey Goldberg, left, interviews then-Secretary of State John Kerry. Photo (cc) 2016 by the Brookings Institution.

I can’t say that I’m a fan of PBS’s “Washington Week,” even though its recently departed moderator, Yamiche Alcindor, is someone for whom I have a lot of respect.

When I’ve watched, which has not been often, it has struck me as being obsessed with political gamesmanship to its core. An elected official could call for executing anyone caught wearing green pants, and the panel would chew over the political implications rather than the outrageousness of the proposal itself. The questions and answers come across as rehearsed.

So I don’t care all that much that Alcindor’s successor will be Jeffrey Goldberg, the editor-in-chief of The Atlantic. Is it a mistake to follow Alcindor with a late-middle-aged white guy of moderately liberal views? Yes, it is a mistake. But I don’t imagine things will change all that much.

The show will be renamed “Washington Week with The Atlantic.” The PBS press release says that The Atlantic will become an “editorial partner” along with the “PBS NewsHour” and WETA, but it sounds like The Atlantic will not be involved in the actual production. Goldberg’s announcement makes no mention of the possibility that The Atlantic will have a greater presence on the program.

The one positive I can think of is that, at a time when the thrice-indicted Donald Trump is threatening the very future of our democracy by running for president on an explicitly authoritarian platform, it’s notable that The Atlantic has been fierce and unstinting in its commentary on Trump and Trumpism. So I guess we’ll see how that plays out on Friday nights.

Public television journalist Gwen Ifill dies at 61

Gwen Ifill at a book-signing in Seattle. Photo (cc) by KCTS 9 Public Television.

Gwen Ifill at a book-signing in Seattle. Photo (cc) by KCTS 9 Public Television.

I’m very sad to learn that Gwen Ifill has died. Co-anchor of the PBS NewsHour and host of Washington Week, she was conspicuous by her absence during the final run-up to the presidential election.

I remember reading seeing her byline in the New York Times back in the 1990s. But I didn’t realize that she had a local connection until I looked up her bio: She was a graduate of Simmons College and had worked for the Boston Herald American.

Her humane voice will be missed in the strange days to come.

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