If you watch Keith Obermann then you inevitably see the same contributors, one of which is Howard Fineman the political editor of Newsweek Magazine. Howard usually brought a sort of lighter side to the discussion, giving sage assessments of candidates and the strange machinations of our polarized country. Last night Howard was on but he looked curiously unkempt. His hair was longish and on his collar. He looked like a man who might not have gotten a good nights sleep. He was with Keith at the desk instead of in a remote studio. Something was up.
Keith Obermann then wished him good luck on his new assignment. Newsweek Magazine is probably going kaput. The magazine has become so thin it was in danger of blowing away and now it will be a little thinner. Howard then told Keith he was joining the Huffington Post and had to get up on social networking. Again he looked cheerfully optimistic, but like a man who has been drafted a second time for combat duty, there was a strange deflation in his smile.
Lets face it, the Howard Fineman's of the world are becoming extinct. The march of the digital age is supplanting longtime journalists like so many broken levees as the flood waters of economic realities wash over print media. It is not Howard's fault he will essentially be a paid blogger from now on, it is that his time has passed, or that era of one man one salary one view has passed. You could see Keith almost hugging his desk as he shook Howard's hand, wishing him well, thinking--there but for the grace of God go I.
William Hazelgrove's latest novel Rocket Man is due out in the fall.