“Newsweek” Discovers Virtue
Consider the travails of the newsweekly. Each Monday, year in and year out, it must appear on the stands trumpeting some event or personality that will stir the juices of the magazine-buying public. It must do so, moreover, under the cloud of the possibility that one or more of its competitors will be featuring exactly the same event or personality. How to ensure a cover that will be both novel and significant? The call on the editors’ capacity for inventiveness must at times be positively draining—when, that is, as often happens, it does not fail them altogether.
How delighted, therefore, must the editors of Newsweek have been as they put together their issue of June 13, 1994. For novel is hardly the word to describe the article they were able to feature that week. Written by a contributing editor, Howard Fineman, the article was titled “The Virtuecrats,” and the cover it inspired was a cartoon drawing of William J. Bennett flanked on either side by Peggy Noonan and Hillary Rodham Clinton. Here was a collocation that by itself would be enough to rouse a certain puzzled anticipation. What, after all, could a leading conservative figure have in common with our liberal First Lady, and what could she have in common with a former speechwriter for Presidents Reagan and Bush?
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