Waiting For GoMueller

Every week, it seems, there’s an article about the timing of when Robert Mueller will finally complete his investigation and present his report on President Trump.  Some articles report that “insiders” who are supposedly privy to the workings of the investigation team confidently predict that the report will be out next week; other pieces are written by savvy pundits who have read the tea leaves and concluded that Mueller is timing his report for this or that reason and next week the report will be out.

1551885010588But the report never comes.  The stories speculating about the timing of the Mueller Report remind me of the plot of Waiting for Godot, where Vladimir and Estragon wait, and wait, and wait for Monsieur Godot’s arrival — but he never shows up.  And then the articles that predicted that this would be the week for the Mueller Report get flushed down the memory hole, and new articles that predict that next week will be the week that we get the report, for sure, take their place.

The constant anticipation of the Mueller Report has gotten to be so bad that Newsweek — which I didn’t think still existed, frankly — is reporting that some aged and sick Americans are desperately trying to hold on to their thread of existence just so they can finally read Mueller’s findings.  It’s a pretty thin story — based on the comments of one person who regretted dying before he could read the Report, a reaction to those comments from another senior citizen, and a quote from a third person who thinks her mother would have said the same kind of thing before she joined the Choir Invisible — but it sure seems weird that being unable to read the Mueller Report is the one regret voiced by people who are dying.

The constant fixation on the Mueller investigation and the breathless anticipation of its ultimate report seems pointless to me.  Investigations take time — the Mueller investigation has been going for about two years, already — and good investigators play their cards pretty close to the vest.  At this point, why worry about when, or credit anyone who claims to have special insight into the timing of the report?

One of these days, Godot is going to finally get get here.  Mueller and his team will finish their work, publish their report, and everyone will have the chance to review it.  Until then, Vladimir and Estragon need to stop waiting and get on with their lives.

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Newsweek No More

A few days ago, Newsweek announced that it will be ending its print edition, effective December 31, 2012.  The newsmagazine will go to an on-line format in early 2013.

I’m not surprised by Newsweek‘s demise, and I suspect I’m not alone.  When was the last time you subscribed to Newsweek or bought one at a newsstand?  We subscribed to Newsweek, as well as Time, Sports Illustrated, Sport, Life, Look, and other magazines when I was a kid, but Kish and I haven’t subscribed to any newsmagazine in years.  (The only periodicals we get these days are the New Yorker and the New York Review of Books, and by Kish’s edict we’ll get them until the 12th of Never.)  I can’t remember the last time I bought, or even read, Newsweek.

When I pass newsstands in airports and give a quick glance to the magazine rack, Newsweek always seems to feature some bold, intentionally controversial headline about some social or political issue.  It’s as if the magazine is consciously designed to try to entice passersby into plunking down their money to see whether the article is really as provocative as the cover indicates.  It’s somewhat pathetic, and it is a far cry from the sober, objective, we-cover-the-important-issues-of-the-world-in-depth approach that newsmagazines took during the ’60s and ’70s.

The print media is dying; the internet is killing it.  Weekly magazines can’t compete with on-line content that is delivered immediately and without the costs of paper, delivery postage, and so forth.  Even if you subscribe to on-line content providers — and I typically don’t — you are paying less and getting more, more quickly, than magazines or newspapers can provide.  There’s no way print can compete unless it moves into a niche that the web doesn’t provide.  General reporting on national and world affairs, such as Newsweek used to provide, isn’t such a niche.