The Weekend Wall Street Journal

I may have written on this subject previously, but just have to update what a wonderful publication the weekend edition of the Wall Street Journal is! I subscribe to the newspaper, and over the years have found that the “news” portion and the “op-ed” or opinion sections look as if, and I think it is the case, they are produced by two completely different departments. The news is thorough and independent, without a hint of political bias or leverage, while the opinion and op-ed sections are right down-the-line conservative and nearly unfailingly supportive of President Trump and critical of key Democratic leaders.

As an interesting sideline, three hundred of the news staff members recently signed a letter to the WSJ’s publisher criticizing the Opinion page writers for “lack of fact checking and transparency.” Here's the link:

read://https_www.nytimes.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.nytimes.com%2F2020%2F07%2F24%2Fbusiness%2Fmedia%2Fwall-street-journal-news-opinion-clash-letter.html

The opinion section of the newspaper operates separately from the news section. The frustration of playing it loosely with op-eds has rankled the newsroom, which is subject to stringent fact checking, and errors are acknowledged and revised publicly if needed. The same is not the case, generally, for the opinion writers.

But back to the weekend edition of the Journal ... the paper consists of four sections. The front page leads the primary news portion. “Off Duty” seems to focus on current “fun/fluff” areas such as fashions, recipes, home décor, and a wonderful commentary on automobiles … this one is a don’t miss if you’re into old GTOs or high-end European cars -- motorcycles are part of the mix as well. The “Exchange” is a mixture of financial, market data, and other stuff that missed the other portions.

To me however, the crown jewel is the Review portion of the Journal. I end up saving this section and reading it over the weekend and on into the following week. It includes a major essay of some issue to Americans on the front page, then segues into a catch-all of in-depth commentary on international news; last week it concerned how normal citizens of Beirut, Lebanon are dealing with the almost unthinkable disaster of the fertilizer explosion at the harbor along with the civil war in the country. The newspaper goes on into a fascinating history of the enmity between Greece and Turkey stemming from a battle 2,500 years ago, a battle that cemented Greece’s place as the “border bastion” of European Culture against Islamic expansion from the Eastern Mediterranean. If you want a primer on the Aegean Sea, here’s your chance! On it goes into old movies about college football (Rudy, from 1993) and a weekend conversation with some one named Tony Hawk, who apparently created a skateboard culture and a huge business. (It was news to me!). But the piece d ’resistance for me was a book review on a new work featuring Stephen Hawking’s life. Ten million people bought Hawking’s A Brief History of Time. I was one and found it hard to understand the theory of relativity, but probably will take another shot with this new work, especially since it humanizes Hawking’s unique personality and joy for life, even after his severe affliction with a form of ALS. There is more: the usual “five best books” recommended by some luminary about one subject. Other book reviews include look-backs and a current celebrity chef, as well as a final commentary concerning the Magdalena River, “the Mississippi of Colombia," a country torn apart by Cocoa/cocaine and civil war. Additional brief entries concern musical works by Elgar as well as discussions about Roman portrait busts in marble. Whew!

It’s worth going to a news stand and buying only the Saturday-Sunday edition of the Journal, if necessary. But it’s not all that much more expensive to subscribe to the paper and have it delivered six days a week to your door.

Comments are welcome and will be published, pro and con. Make your observations below, or send them to me via email at n3bb@mindspring.com. Email comments will not be identified.

Enjoy life; it's the only one we will get.

J.K. (Jim) George

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14 Responses

  1. Agree it is a great newspaper. Too bad it is owned by the Murdock's media empire which has created the bias. I have not been reading the review section. Thanks for pointing it out.
  2. I always thought the editorial page was where the opinions go, irrespective of whether the staff agrees with the content, or for that matter, whether the readers agree. The subscribers vote with their subscriptions. Whether there is a significant outcry from others employed by the Journal is OK with me because those writers can add some balance to their reporting. TV "news," nah, not so much, besides which they are only selling gutters, walk-in tubs and pillows, not the news. I also subscribe to the Austin American Statesman [Sunday only]. the Hill Country News and the Waitsburg Times. They all have a different slant on things which the editors deem important. The Statesman is absolutely the worst piece of journalistic trash I have ever witnessed, what with unsigned opinion on the first page [at least it is below the fold] and Yellow Journalism headlines ending with a question mark - really only good for wrapping fish heads in - but I need the sports scores and we do eat quite a bit of fish at our home..
    • JK James George
      Agree that the Austin American Statesman had gone far downhill. They can't even get the Sports-on-TV schedule right part of the time. It's a shell of what it used to be, but I continue to take it. JKG
  3. JK James George
    From Anon-1: Another great blog, thank you. I read the WSJ electronically for a few months on some introductory deal that was very inexpensive, and enjoyed it, but was only seeing it on my computer and I really prefer physical newspapers. I try to read Canada's two national papers every day, the balanced one (which for us means a little left of centre, but very critical of Trudeau's liberal government) and the conservative one, which is mainly fiscally conservative, a position I see as the only sensible thing to do. Trudeau has ramped up quantitative easing, and is spending at a rate producing annual deficits ten times the norm. The Liberal government before the Conservatives that preceded Trudeau did huge work to balance the budget and go net positive to shrink the accumulated debt. He'll undo that in a single year, and now wants to transform society with government dental care, drug plans, perhaps a guaranteed income, support for addiction, etc. Once I get through those papers, there's not a lot of time left. I really enjoy the monthly cryptic crosswords in the WSJ created by Emily Cox and Henry Rathvon, and it's available on the WSJ website. I met Stephen Hawking once, about six years ago, for about two minutes. He was visiting the Institute for Quantum Computing at the University of Waterloo where he had a courtesy appointment, so he could visit and also stimulate minds at Waterloo's Perimeter Institute. Both of these institutes were started with large donations (on the order of $100 million each) by Mike Lazaridis, one of the four founders of RIM/Blackberry. The then director of the Institute for Quantum Computing was Ray Laflamme, who had been Hawking's PhD student. They got into a dispute about some theoretical cosmological thing I don't understand about evolution of stars that got resolved experimentally ten years ago, and Laflamme was right. Hawking was very gracious. Anyway, when Hawking's first wife wrote her "tell-all" book, "Travelling to Infinity; My Life with Stephen" on which the movie "The Theory of Everything" was based, I saw it in the library, and read it in one night. There were plates in the middle, those collections of photos. One picture was taken in Spain, when they were all on holiday and the marriage was falling apart. It showed a long dinner table with Jane Hawking on one side with her live-in house guy, who had become her romantic outlet, and Stephen on the other side with his nurse with whom he had a relationship by then. The kids where there. And at the end of the table was a very familiar-looking guy with big 80s glasses, identified in the caption as "Raymond Laflamme, PhD student" who was Hawking's assistant/secretary/interpreter for the year.
  4. Hey High School Friend - thought you may be interested to know Sy and I have taken the WSJ for as long as I can remember. Differ with you that it leans to the conservative side (which we are) and is more part of the Swamp. My fav section is on Friday when I see how the other tiny % live in the Mansions section - they assume we all live in a $25,000,000 Mansion in CA. NOT! Sy had the pleasure of sitting two seats away from Steven Hawking at a Space dinner meeting in Orlando on Steven's 65th birthday. The next day they gave him a ride into space so he could experience zero gravity. He did not want to come down - wanted to stay up he was enjoying it so much! One of the highlights of Sy's 48 year career at Lockheed Martin Atlas program at Cape Canaveral as an Aerospace Engineer and Laucnh Director for the last 10 years. Terrifying and unusual times we're living in - hope you and Diane are well -
    • JK James George
      Hello Fran, and glad you and Sy are doing well. Wow ... sitting near the great Dr. Hawking is an experience of a lifetime for sure. And yes, I suppose we all can drool a bit about $50 million mansions. I do find it interesting that you characterize the Journal's Opinion pages as "more part of the swamp." Wow. Hard to understand as the the Op-Ed part is 100% conservative. To call that anything else means you are more than conservative, more than hard right, you must be an OAN person. I was gonna call it the lunatic right, but... oh hell, I'll call it the lunatic right. At any rate, hope you'all are OK. Keep well. I have so many fond memories of your Mom and my Mom working together in nursing, etc. Hugs, Jimmy.
  5. Jim, Agree completely with your observations. With rare exceptions such as Walter Olson's column this past Thursday "Never Trump, Now More Than Ever," the opinions simply parrot Kayleigh McEnany.
  6. JK James George
    From Anon-2: Hey Jim, I've been reading the weekend Journal for years, like you it lasts into the following week. I would subscribe for the daily but If I get into a paper I'm hooked and I don't want to waste the time, too many other things on my plate.
  7. JK James George
    From Anon-3: Thanks for the reminder I need to get the Sunday edition Jim! I don't have time to read the daily editions and often am months behind in periodicals.
  8. JK James George
    From Anon-4: Very long rant. Writer totally unimpressed with Dimon. Concludes with: I would not want Jamie Dimon protecting my back !!
  9. JK James George
    From Anon-5: New Blog - The Wall Street Journal Hi Jim.......it’s a fav of mine too.
  10. JK James George
    From Anon-6: When I try to talk to people about politics, I’m usually asked to whom I listen. I tell them no one. I read the NYT and WSJ because their reporters make an effort to be factually correct. Once I have the facts, I don’t need someone else’s opinion. Now, it is sometimes useful to listen because I’ll be provided with a slant I might not have thought about. But then I can go check the facts, both those presented as facts and those possibly omitted for ulterior purposes. The key for dangerous populist politicians is to denigrate fact providers. They mix up the news staff with the opinion staff and then make up their own facts. Then, the hoi polloi disbelieves the few authoritative sources that exist. Unfortunately, too many citizens are complete incapable of understanding how they’re being manipulated. That’s one of the key reasons for a decent educational system, and don’t get me started on that one in modern day America! Unfortunately, the Republicans will take the suggested walk only if the Democrats come up with a better plan for governance than the one they had in in 1992 or 2008, the last time they had the opportunity to make something of the federal government and were replaced in the next midterms. Biden needs to be a voice of moderation, but he also needs to get something done for this country’s working class, now known as the middle class.
  11. JK James George
    From Anon-7: This was such an interesting blog I really think I'm going to subscribe to the paper. The way you described it, there seems to be something for everyone, in a family. I truly don't know how you write a book without getting bored or sick of thinking about it all!
  12. JK James George
    From Anon-8: Many thanks for you blog, especially the recent introduction to The Wall Street Journal Week-end Edition. I am checking it out. Would love to read the article on the history of relations between Greece and Turkey but having trouble finding a link. Perhaps you can advise.

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