Prospect, January 2003 The cover story looks over the shoulders of the 2 billion people in the developing world who watch television. Western programs like Baywatch have their fair share of viewers, but it’s local versions of Westernized shows (like the Saudi version of Who Wants To Be a Millionaire? called Who Will Win the Million?) and other domestic programs, like the Peruvian soap opera Simplemente Maria, that are pulling in the top ratings. … An article chronicles Bill Hamilton’s posthumous fall from grace. Considered one of the 20th century’s greatest evolutionary biologists for working out the math behind selfish genes, Hamilton became entranced by wacky theories, like one linking HIV to a 1950s polio vaccine. After his death in 2000, a manuscript for the second volume of his autobiography was found, littered with praise for eugenics and infanticide. … An essay pronounces the death of travel literature. In our culture suspicious of authority, we’re unwilling to trust in the “confident ‘I’ ” of the travel writer.—J.F.
New York Times Magazine, Dec. 29
The annual “Lives They Lived” issue remembers 26 dead notables of 2002. Ann Landers is hailed as a “stealth progressive” who snuck liberal ideas about abortion and homosexuality disguised as commonsense advice into conservative newspapers. … The Linda Lovelace obit notes that, thanks to her girl-next-door-gets-nasty performance, the porn film Deep Throat earned more than $600 million. … Stephen Ambrose is berated for romanticizing war. Ambrose’s Band of Brothers ethos has made the next war more likely by changing how we think about combat. We focus on the experience of soldiers rather than on more essential political questions, such as: Should we be fighting here?… Abu Nidal is pegged as the “first modern terrorist:” The Palestinian invented the idea of violence as a religion.— D.P.
The magazine picks its 14 women of the year. … Incoming House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., tops the list for becoming the most powerful woman in U.S. congressional history. … Writer and actress Nia Vardalos gets a nod for her brainchild My Big Fat Greek Wedding, which became the most successful romantic comedy ever. … Brown University President Ruth Simmons is honored as the first African-American to head an Ivy League school. … Actress Jamie Lee Curtis is celebrated for telling the truth about the female body in a recent magazine photo shoot. She said no to the standard photo editing tools and instead appeared “au naturel,” unsightly flab and all. …Time’s “Persons of the Year”—the whistle-blowers who spoke out against Enron, the FBI, and WorldCom—also make the list.—J.F.
Foreign Affairs, January-February 2002
An essay looks at President Bush’s Janus-faced approach to promoting democracy abroad. Bush willingly embraces dictators who are with us in the war on terrorism, but at the same time he nobly proclaims democracy to be the only long-term means of eradicating terrorism. His wavering on Middle Eastern democracy reveals a deep fissure in Republican foreign policy between realism and neo-Reaganism. … An article proclaims, “No great apologies ought to be made for America’s ‘unilateralism.’ ” War with Iraq has the potential to positively reshape and modernize the Middle East. But given America’s history in the region it will be nearly impossible to convince the Arab world that the United States is getting involved in order to bring about reform and not because of selfish imperialism. Even as America rebuilds a freer, safer postwar Iraq, the “Arab world could whittle down, even devour, an American victory.”—J.F.
Weekly Standard, Dec. 30 The long cover feature revisits the case of Dr. Samuel A. Mudd, the conspirator convicted of aiding and abetting John Wilkes Booth’s assassination of Lincoln 137 years ago. Mudd’s descendants have fought tirelessly to clear his name and have managed to convince even presidents of his innocence. Mudd was probably involved in a wartime conspiracy to kidnap the president, but he didn’t have a hand in the assassination plot. When Booth showed up injured at Mudd’s house the evening of the murder, Mudd likely didn’t know what Booth had done. … An article charges the Democrats with race-baiting in the Trent Lott scandal. Some Democrats, including Jesse Jackson and James Carville, oddly pleaded for people to forgive Lott. Their apparent strategy: Keep him in power so that the GOP could be painted as a party of racists.—J.F.
U.S. News & World Report, Dec. 30 and Jan. 6
The cover story sums up the events of 2002 and makes predictions about 2003 and beyond. Among the guesses: Jeb Bush will run for president in 2008, minivans will bite the dust soon, and Americans will remain fat, despised worldwide, and on the brink of war. … In an exclusive interview, President Bush says that continuing the war on terror will be his biggest challenge in 2003. A key issue will be forcing Saddam Hussein to disarm, he says. … A piece names former Tyco chief Dennis Kozlowski as “rogue of the year.” Honorable mentions include former Enron execs Kenneth Lay and Andrew Fastow, and former WorldCom CEO Bernard Ebbers.—H.B. Time, Dec. 30 and Jan. 6
The persons of the year issue. The cover story awards three whistle-blowers—Coleen Rowley of the FBI, Sherron Watkins of Enron, and Cynthia Cooper of WorldCom—the honor. “They were people who did right just by doing their jobs rightly—which means ferociously, with eyes open and with bravery the rest of us always hope we have and may never know if we do.” … An article identifies President Bush and Vice President Cheney’s as the “partnership of the year.” A sidebar says Cheney’s keys to success have been discretion and loyalty to Bush. … A piece profiles Eliot Spitzer, New York’s state attorney general and the “crusader of the year.” He investigated stock analysts when the feds wouldn’t and, as a result, “there has not been such an affirmation of what’s right since Moses and the Ten Commandments.”—H.B.
Newsweek, Dec. 30 and Jan. 6
The who’s-next issue. The cover story calls 2003 “the year of The Matrix” and says the movie’s forthcoming sequels will revolutionize filmmaking. Both movies include some of the most thrilling action sequences ever conceived and look to redefine visual effects for years. … An article says the biggest questions in politics next year will be whether President Bush can stay on top without appearing arrogant and whether Democrats can define differences without seeming divisive. … A piece says al-Qaida’s presence on the Web has expanded rapidly in recent months. A wave of new sites includes gory games and anti-American comic strips, and experts suspect some sites might contain coded messages for terrorists.—H.B.