Call it the Last Newspaper War, as two great survivors face off with different strategies and different economic realities but the same audacity; an impressive array of talent; and two highly competitive leaders—Baquet and his counterpart at the Post, Marty Baron (who, says one observer, would “rather beat the Times than eat”). Both papers receive lacerating criticism from the White House almost every day. The underlying passion offers the Internet Age version of The Front Page, Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur’s 1928 tribute to an indomitable craft in which editor Walter Burns responds to one reporter’s request to know how much space he has for an exclusive by telling him he wants every goddamn word the reporter can give him.
As with all Vanity Fair reporting, it is deeply delicious, with nuggets of useful gossip, and history.
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