I had some time to read Jack Shafer’s Press Box at Slate over the past two days. He is simply the best media critic around and maybe the best critic period. Like Jon Stewart, he makes me laugh while telling me something important to think about. Two recent columns are simply stellar.
The first chides the New York Times’ public editor for dissing his colleagues for dissing other newspapers. Shafer calls Arthur Brisbane “a muttonhead.” What a great description for Brisbane’s silly analysis that the Times, particularly David Carr, who is also a great media analyst, should tread more softly when writing about competitors. What nonsense!
You can read about the skewered muttonhead at http://www.slate.com/id/2291124/
The second masterpiece ran a few weeks ago about the Pulitzer Prizes. Who really cares? Shafer asks. The answer is no one other than those who win and those who lose.
I even have to agree with the comments of Christopher Hitchens, not one of my favs, who suggests that a list of journalistic failures during the year should be announced as the same time as the Pulitzers. Another great column at http://www.slate.com/id/2098361/
If anyone deserves a Pulitzer for commentary, it is Jack Shafer!*
Truth in advertising: I interviewed Carr and Shafer for an academic paper on media criticism I wrote two years ago.