When Nixon Insiders Went to Prison, They Had It Easy and Didn’t Stay Long

 Trump fixer Paul Manafort has been sentenced to nearly four years in prison, provoking outrage that he should have been sentenced closer to the 19 to 24 years recommended by special counsel Robert Mueller. How much prison time did the Nixon fixers serve after Watergate? Attorney General John Mitchell 19 months, White House aides H.R Haldeman and John Ehrlichman 18 months, White House lawyer John Dean 4 months, Vice President Spiro Agnew no prison time.

Will Manafort and others close to President Trump now targeted by Mueller get the special prison treatment received by the Nixon people? Here’s a look back at how former Attorney General John Mitchell spent his 19 months in the Maxwell Federal Prison Camp in Montgomery, Alabama.

Two Books That May Change How You Look at Today’s Journalism and Politics

In 1983 I read Frames of Mind, a book about multiple intelligences by Howard Gardner. He was mostly interested in how a better understanding of intelligence could improve schools but for me, an editor, it opened up new ways to see the strengths and weaknesses of writers. Gardner listed seven intelligences; the one schools focused on and rewarded was logical-analytical. But Gardner felt the other intelligences also were important to success.

Charles McCarry RIP: Once a Spy, Then a Novelist, He Wrote About What Happens When Spies Have to Deal With Journalists

A younger Charles McCarry.

Charles McCarry, a CIA spy who went on to write wonderful spy novels, died last week at the age of 88—the Washington Post and New York Times both ran good obits. In the 1980s he was an editor at the National Geographic in Washington and wrote occasionally for the Washingtonian. We admired his novels—many had great Washington scenes. Here are two posts that have McCarry describing what sometimes happens when spies meet journalists.

What Will Headline Writers Call This Presidential Candidate?

John Hickenlooper, Former Colorado Governor, Declares Candidacy for President
—New York Times, March 4, 2019

When he was governor of Colorado, the Denver Post often called him “Hick” in headlines. Not so bad in Colorado but four years of a president of the United States called “Hick”?

If newspaper headline writers could pick the Democratic nominee, they’d vote for Biden, Brown, Castro, Harris, Booker, or Warren. At the bottom of the list would be Hickenlooper, Gillibrand, and Klobuchar.

In recent years, headline writers have been lucky: Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush, Obama.

Advice for Young Editors

Write often enough to remind yourself that it’s hard to do really well.

It’s much easier to edit than to write.

I once overheard one of our young editors hang up on a writer and say to herself “Dumb beast.” We helped her find another job.

In Politics or Journalism, Having Worked As a Bartender Helps Give You a Good BS Detector

Thanks! Bartending + waitressing (especially in NYC) means you talk to 1000s of people over the years. Forces you to get great at reading people +hones a razor-sharp BS detector. Just goes to show that what some consider to be “unskilled labor” can actually be anything but.
SEPTEMBER 18, 2017

Good Editors Go Out to Lunch

At a meeting of the American Society of Magazine Editors, we were invited to talk about tricks of the trade and what we’d learned. John Mack Carter, editor of Good Housekeeping, told us: “Go out to lunch.”

He was making the point that one of the things an editor shouldn’t do is to stay in the office too much, talking to the same people day after day. Go out to lunch with people not connected to your publication, often people not in journalism. Find out what they’d like to know more about, what they see happening in their field, how they see the future, what they’d do if they had your job.

Why Do More People Hate Journalists? Maybe It’s Because They Find Out How Dumb and Full of Ourselves We Sometimes Are.

A February 25 tweet from Washington Post media reporter Paul Farhi:

Random thought: What’s the president’s relationship with his youngest son? He almost never speaks of him, is very irregularly photographed with him. A private matter, to a large extent, yes, but all modern presidents have played up their “family man” status. Not him.

President Trump’s youngest son, Barron, is 12-years-old, lives at the White House, and attends St. Andrew’s Episcopal School, about 12 miles north of the White House in Potomac, Maryland. St. Andrew’s is known for having a more nurturing environment than some of the top DC private schools such as Sidwell Friends, where the Obama children were educated. St. Andrew’s is a good school for kids with learning disabilities, the kind of kids who don’t need journalists probing into their lives.

The Best Way to Think on a Monday Morning

What then was left? Was there no hope, no outlook for the future, no rift in the black curtain, no glimmer through the night? Was good to be thus overthrown? Was evil thus to be strong and to prevail? Was nothing left? . . .

Falseness dies; injustice and oppression in the end of everything fade and vanish away. Greed, cruelty, selfishness, and inhumanity are short-lived; the individual suffers, but the race goes on. . . .The larger view always and through all shams, all wickednesses, discovers the Truth that will, in the end, prevail, and all things, surely, inevitably, resistlessly work together for good.

How a Magazine Can Get Lots of Ads and Make Lots of Money

The Sunday New York Times includes The New York Times Magazine, published every week with lots of good journalism. Eleven times a year the Sunday Times also includes T: The New York Times Style Magazine. The Style Magazine covers Women’s Fashion, Men’s Fashion, and Travel twice a year, plus issues on Design, Culture, Design & Luxury, The Greats, and Holiday.

The New York Times Magazine of February 17 had 62 total pages, with maybe 10 pages of paid ads, though some look like the kind of ads where the magazine is not paid a flat rate but is paid according to the number of people who respond to 800-number type ads.