MediaWatch: May 1991

Vol. Five No. 5

Revolving Door: Bucks for the Duke

Bucks for the Duke. Newsweek gave its April 8 "My Turn" page to Osborn Elliott, whom it described as its former Editor-in-Chief, former Deputy Mayor of New York and a professor at the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism. Newsweek failed to mention another resume entry: member of the Michael Dukakis presidential campaign's finance committee. In a June 1988 New York Times op-ed Elliott recalled how he also handled pro-Dukakis "spin control" after one debate and supplied the candidate with some "thematic material and rhetoric...drawing from The Grapes of Wrath."

Elliott used the Newsweek article to spread the same liberal gospel: "Now that the Gulf War is behind us, it's time to start planning history's greatest March on Washington, a huge parade of protest by the cities of this land against a national government that has betrayed them." How? The Editor of Newsweek from 1961 to 1976 claimed: "Brutal cutbacks in federal aid for schools, housing, food stamps, mass transit and social services have taken a terrible toll" such as "a child left by her mother in the trunk of a car for lack of proper day care."

Elliott, who was Dean of the Columbia School of Journalism from 1979 to 1986, asserted: "It is no coincidence that homelessness has soared as federal subsidies for low-cost housing have been slashed by 80 percent." In fact, an article in the November/ December American Enterprise showed the number of subsidized units and the number of families living in those units increased by one-third during the 1980s.

Said What Simon Said. In 1987 U.S. News & World Report Senior Editor and chief of domestic bureaus Jim Killpatrick joined Senator Paul Simon's presidential campaign as the Democrat's Press Secretary. After the campaign ended, Killpatrick accepted an editing position with Washington D.C.'s suburban Journal newspapers. In April he was promoted to Managing Editor of three Virginia dailies. He'll oversee the Fairfax Journal, Alexandria Journal and Arlington Journal.

Other Side of Supply-Side. Boston Globe economics columnist and New Republic regular Robert Kuttner is out with a new book arguing for increased government intervention in the economy, The End of Laissez-Faire: National Purpose and the Global Economy After the Cold War. Widely billed as a blueprint for Democrats to follow, the book's jacket includes endorsements from Lester Thurow, John Kenneth Galbraith and Mario Cuomo.

A founding co-editor of The American Prospect, a self described "journal for the liberal imagination," Kuttner put in a stint in the early 1970s on The Washington Post's national staff and was a frequent contributor to The New York Times Magazine. Later in the decade Kuttner served as Chief Investigator for the Democrat- controlled Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs. The Washington Post Writers Group distributes Kuttner's weekly column.