The Publisher

18Sep10

Henry Luce, founder of both Time and Life magazine is examined in a new biography, The Publisher. A long but fascinating review of the book suggests that some of the shrill and utterly partisan political commentary today has its origins in the transformation Luce began:

“Luce shows what happens when the spirit of journalistic inquiry is subordinated to the illusory pursuit of influence. Still, it would be wrong to conclude that he had no lasting impact. The world as sound bite, told and retold each news cycle, is part of the Luce legacy. So is the bizarre mixture of fake piety, ideological fervor, and on-the-sleeve cynicism to be encountered each night, whether on TV or online. Ever the missionary, Luce struggled each week in a misapplied quest for perfection; his successors, however, no longer even pretend to try.”

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