More often, however, I choose a distraction that lies somewhere in the middle, namely newspapers and magazines. The great triumph of the internet is that now I have ready access to just about every magazine and newspaper out there. Two of my favorites for political news and discussion are The New York Times and The New Republic. In these two publications, I have two favorite journalists. C. J. Chivers of the New York Times is the best war correspondent I've ever read. And he's got more cred than any other reporter ever. He was a Marine Corps infantry officer before leaving the military to be a journalist. As a Times journalist, his reporting from Afghanistan (particularly the Korengal valley) has been outstanding for the vividness of how he describes what the soldiers and Marines there go through and the landscape itself. There are also small tidbits that make his writing a delight, such as Chivers, the former Marine, interviewing a Marine who says of the Taliban, "But they are not very good shots. If these guys knew how to shoot like even the U.S. Army, we would be taking 50 percent casualties on all of our patrols."
One of my other favorite journalists is The New Republic's Michelle Cottle. I can't put my finger why I so appreciate her writing, but this latest entry of hers on the magazine's weblog is a good example of her down-to-earth, absolutely human style of writing. She also mentioned in an article several years ago that she was raised Evangelical Protestant and is still kind of emotionally scarred by it, which is something with which I can sympathize.
So I guess the main point of this whole entry was to serve as an encomium to two very good journalists.