James Fallows

James Fallows, national correspondent for The Atlantic, is the author of China Airborne. His book National Defense won the American Book Award for nonfiction.

Recent Articles

Rush from Judgment

We used to expect reporters and editors to place events in their proper context. Post-O.J., post-Diana, and soon (we hope) post-Monica, perhaps it’s time to ask: What happened to news judgment?

The main question left from the Monica era is: Was it inevitable? Not the trysts themselves--whether they were psychologically inevitable, apart from being insane, can now be left to various Clintons in their future books. Nor is it really worth pondering at the moment whether Kenneth Starr's fixation on the case, or the Republican Congress's exploitation of it in the drive to impeachment, was inevitable. Their responses were logical extensions of the scorched-earth party politics of the last 15 years. We could say that Starr, Newt Gingrich, Tom DeLay, and the others resembled Bill Clinton (and Bob Livingston) in not being able to restrain their least attractive but apparently strongest drives. The interesting question concerns the press. For most of the last year--from the weekend of January 19, 1998, when the three network news anchors began scrambling back from Havana, leaving Fidel Castro and the pope to meet in relative privacy, until the revving up of the impeachment hearings...