Best Journalism of 2008(?!)

I always think there’s less of a chance I’ll lose this kind of thing if there’s a copy on the internet somewhere. And it’s only 15 months too old to be interesting… Conor Friedersdorf’s list is here.


Making It Ryan Lizza The New Yorker
“HENDON: Senator, could you correctly pronounce your name for me? I’m having a little trouble with it. OBAMA: Obama. HENDON: Is that Irish? OBAMA: It will be when I run countywide.”

The Front-Runner’s Fall Joshua Green The Atlantic
“Two things struck me right away. The first was that, outward appearances notwithstanding, the [Clinton] campaign prepared a clear strategy and did considerable planning. […] The second was the thought: Wow, it was even worse than I’d imagined!

Aaron Sorkin Conjures a Meeting of Obama and Bartlet
Maureen Dowd and Aaron Sorkin The New York Times

“OBAMA: I didn’t expect you to answer the door yourself. BARTLET: I didn’t expect you to be getting beat by John McCain and a Lancôme rep who thinks ‘The Flintstones’ was based on a true story, so let’s call it even.”

The Making (and Remaking) of McCain
Robert Draper The New York Times

“‘Gentlemen, let me put a few things on the table for observation and discussion,’ Steve Schmidt said to his fellow strategists while sitting in a conference room in the Phoenix Ritz-Carlton. ‘Would anyone here disagree with the premise that we are not winning this campaign?’”

Battle Plans Ryan Lizza The New Yorker
“[Obama] said, ‘I think that I’m a better speechwriter than my speechwriters. I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And I’ll tell you right now that I’m gonna think I’m a better political director than my political director.’”


The Things He Carried Jeffrey Goldberg The Atlantic
“If I were a terrorist, and I’m not, but if I were a terrorist […] I would not do what I did in the bathroom of the Minneapolis–St. Paul International Airport, which was to place myself in front of a sink in open view of the male American flying public and ostentatiously rip up a sheaf of counterfeit boarding passes.”

Trouble in Paradise William Prochnau and Laura Parker Vanity Fair
“For most of its history, Pitcairn lived with a secret sex culture that defined island life. Adultery was not just routine but pervasive, as was the sexual fondling of infants and socially approved sex games among young children. Incest and prostitution were not unknown.”

Dispatches from the R Kelly Trial (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3)
Josh Levin Slate

“Kelly’s child pornography trial wasn’t very complicated. On one side, you’ve got a 27-minute sex tape […] On the other side, you’ve got the Shaggy defense (It wasn’t me!), the Little Man defense (It’s my head on some other dude’s body!), the Sparkle defense (I was framed by a bunch of money-grubbing lowlifes!), and the “ghost sex” defense (I’m actually not sure what the point of this one was, but there were headless people having sex and it was weird and creepy).”

Up and Then Down Nick Paumgarten The New Yorker
“The longest smoke break of Nicholas White’s life began at around eleven o’clock on a Friday night in October, 1999.”

At Home With the Doggs… Emma Forrest The Guardian
“Until recently, Snoop, who rose to fame in the 1990s as a protege of NWA’s Dr Dre, was most famous for smoking pot, for popularising the slang suffix “izzle” and for run-ins with the law.”

The End Michael Lewis Condé Nast Portfolio
“To this day, the willingness of a Wall Street investment bank to pay me hundreds of thousands of dollars to dispense investment advice to grownups remains a mystery to me.”

Mystery on Fifth Avenue Penelope Green The New York Times
“In any case, the finale involved, in part, removing decorative door knockers from two hallway panels, which fit together to make a crank, which in turn opened hidden panels in a credenza in the dining room, which displayed multiple keys and keyholes […]”