Daily podcasts are booming. But here’s why some will fail…

In an increasingly crowded field of Monday-to-Friday podcasts, “The Daily” from The New York Times is still the most popular news show, with about 1.75 million downloads per episode. According to one estimate, the number of daily podcasts has more than tripled in less than two years. The competition now includes news shows by NPR, Vox, Axios, ABC News and The Washington Post.

Ever since its launch nearly two years ago, The Daily” has been my daily habit. Here’s why:

The host, Michael Barbaro.

He’s my pal. A buddy in my ear at the gym, in the car, or on morning walks with our dogs.

I’ve never met Michael Barbaro, but he sounds like a genuinely curious, charming and friendly guy. Writing in The New Yorker, Rebecca Mead calls him the “winning, accessible interlocutor of his news-gathering colleagues.”

He has soul, and that’s surprising perhaps, because over the years The Times has been called “the gray lady”, and is widely considered to be a redoubtable pillar of the elite, mainstream media.

Unlike the newspaper, “The Daily” is informal, even intimate, with moments of spontaneity and humor, as Barbaro lifts the curtain on the bench strength of diligent, hard-working Times reporters who cover their beats with dedication, humility, and street smarts.

Unlike many radio or TV anchors, he never pretends to know what he doesn’t. “The Daily” host is also an ombudsman for listeners as he guides us through the latest perplexing twist of the Mueller investigation or the unfortunate saga that is Brexit.

Barbaro gives us this wonderful sense that he’s hearing each reporter’s insights for the first time.

Same thing with “Serial” host Sarah Koenig, who, despite all her research and carefully constructed scripts, manages to sound is if she’s uncovering the story with you right alongside her. At times we think she’s bemused or even a little surprised as she stumbles across another twist in a complex, tangled web of facts.

The journey is the thing. We know where Koenig’s coming from and that’s a huge reason why “Serial” continues to be wildly successful.

Podcast producers can put too much emphasis on building a show with interstitial music, sound effects, and a multi-layered story arc. But the best storytelling on earth can stumble at the final fence if the narrator or host doesn’t connect with listeners.

And so it is with daily news podcasts. Successful shows need heart and soul as well as a good elevator pitch or a sense of mission. Without them they will fail.

The same is true for small, independent productions who have limited budgets and a relatively small following.

“I cannot tell you how many podcasts I’ve listened to where the host rambles and rants on about their life, their misery, their week, or their kids and family,” laments John Dennis in his recent article in Podcast Business Journal. “You can’t expect to grow, or even retain, your audience if you’re wasting their precious time.”

In addition to adding value or benefit to listeners, podcast hosts must be willing to be vulnerable, revealing something of themselves as they answer the crucial question: “Why am asking you to share some of your precious time with me”.

Richard Davies is the co-host of the weekly solutions news podcast, “How Do We Fix It?” and a podcast consultant and media coach at DaviesContent.com.

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Beyond outrage and anger… Solutions. A podcast for our times.

We’re gearing up for another great year with more independent-minded, contrarian guests — kicking off this week with Claire Cain Miller of TheUpshot, the New York Times and economics site.

After all the recent anger and outrage over sexual harassment our podcast team decided to do a show about how to reduce bullying and harassment in the workplace. What works? What doesn’t?

Employers are paying lip service to the need for change, but until now there has been little coverage in the media about solutions and training: how to make this a teaching moment.

At “How Do We Fix It?” here’s our un-resolution for 2018: What we do NOT want is the obvious: opinions you’ve heard a hundred times in other places and podcasts.

We’re fired up about solutions — ideas to make the world a better place, topic-by-topic.

Future episodes this month will include the well-known author and skeptic, Michael Shermer, who explains why pessimism is a threat to all of us. Michael also takes apart the human zest for utopia.

Stanford University Politics professor Mo Fiorina is also on our dance card. He will tell us why Americans are less partisan than many think — Fascinating subject for discussion and debate in this time of political flame-throwing.

Please weigh in with your ideas, responses and suggestions. And if you have the time, spread the word about our show with lots of likes, shares and retweets on iTunes, Stitcher and social media.

Here’s hoping that 2018 will be the best year every for humankind and that more of us will throw our pebbles into ocean of progress.

How Do We Fix It? How Bill Clinton Smashed the Passion Gap 

  

Unscripted comments often give us the worst moments of the Presidential campaign. Look no further than the embarrassing Republican debate in early March, when Donald Trump bragged about his penis.

But once in a while a tense, uncomfortable encounter can turn into a civics lesson.

And so it was when Bill Clinton stood up during an event for his wife in Philadelphia Thursday and faced down protesters from Black Lives Matter. They complained vigorously about anti-crime legislation that the former President signed in the early 90’s: a time when the crack epidemic led to a terrible spike in homicides, especially in African-American neighborhoods.

Instead of merely dismissing the shouts and signs of his detractors, or taking a politically correct vow of silence, he engaged them with a series of remarks about policy and the changed political landscape.

“I don’t know how you would characterize the gang leaders who got 13-year-old kids hopped up on crack and sent them out on the street to murder other African-American children,” the former President said wagging his finger. “Maybe you thought they were good citizens. She [Hillary Clinton] didn’t. You are defending the people who killed the lives you say matter. Tell the truth.”

The tone may have been somewhat hectoring, and he sort-of apologized for it the next day. But the President’s passion was real. You don’t have to agree with him or his record to be impressed by the outburst of substance.

Far too much of this campaign has been about easy slogans, from Bernie Sanders’ simplistic break-up the big banks (thoroughly dissed in a New York Times column by liberal Paul Krugman) to Trump’s build a wall and make Mexico pay.

The biggest problem Hillary Clinton has been her apparent lack of passion. It’s why she has under-performed, and also why Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio failed to catch fire. 

Voters already know that the former Secretary of State, First Lady and Senator from New York has a deeply impressive resume and an intelligent grasp of governance and foreign policy, but much of her campaign has been canned —  on auto pilot. It’s as if she thinks she can glide to victory without taking risks. Without being a fighter.
But today’s media and political environment has changed. Americans – especially millennials – are increasingly bored with complacent, canned remarks. An occasional flash of humor or even anger can be refreshing and even change minds. 

Bill may have put his foot in it sometimes, but his spontaneous outburst in Philadelphia is a lesson for Hillary and a solution for her wobbly campaign. Fix the passion gap.

If you want to convince skeptical voters that you’re not a crook, put away the script and speak from the heart.

What We Can Learn About Ourselves After the Paris Attacks

  
To a greater or lesser extent, we all live in filter bubbles.  Only truly shocking events shake up our view of the world.  
The 11/13 Paris attacks were the latest assault on our senses.

Intelligence officials, police, politicians and the rest of us are dealing with a new reality  – that ISIS and its hateful, nihilistic celebration of death are a greater threat to our way of life than most of us had assumed.

“The Paris terror attacks suggest that the U.S. and its allies overestimated recent successes against Islamic State while underestimating the group’s ability to strike far from its Middle East stronghold,” is the assessment of analysts who spoke to The Wall Street Journal.

The attacks are reminders of past U.S. intelligence failures – in Vietnam during the 60’s, Iran with the fall of the Shah in 1979, and the rise of Al Qaeda before the 2001 attacks. Institutional confirmation bias prevents us from viewing events through a different lens. 

Perhaps it’s time for a little collective humility about our ways of viewing the world. “In psychology they call thinking that you see the world as it truly is, free from bias or the limitations of your senses, naive realism,” says David McRaney of the “You Are Not So Smart” podcast.  Our “facts” are often little more than opinion, says McRaney, a recent guest on our show, “How Do We Fix It?”.

With the events of the past few days, even politicians would do well to reassess some of  their views. 

“The assault on Paris has thrust national security to the heart of the Presidential race, forcing candidates to scramble,” writes Jonathan Martin in today’s New York Times. Perhaps voters will react as well, prompting them “to reconsider their flirtations with unconventional candidates and to take a more sober measure of who is prepared to serve as Commander In Chief.” The demands on the candidates will be more exacting, writes Martin.

But what of our own views of freedom and tolerance?  Will we become more fearful and less hopeful about what the future can bring? Hopefully not.

Our horror and helplessness “we will overcome and quickly,” writes Bobby Ghosh in the online journal, QZ. “Our society is redoubtable and resilient.”

But hate is what we must be most careful to guard against. “Hatred is political currency, coveted by Al Qaeda and ISIL, but more dangerously, by right-wing groups among us,” says Ghosh in his perceptive article.  

It’s time to be calm, strong and open-minded about the views of others, but also resolute: Recognize the lethal threat that a relatively small number of Islamists present to us (and, yes, call them what they are). Yet also be confident about democracy’s strengths and the values that the great majority of us share.

The Friday night lights of young multi-racial, multi-ethnic Paris before the carnage struck were symbols of western civilization’s trust, joy and strength.  They must not be snuffed out by the actions of a few.

(Above: CNBC coverage of today’s Moment of Silence for the victims of the Paris attacks)

Our Gun Control Debate Misses The Target. We Need A New Conversation.

  

I do a podcast called “How Do We Fix It?.”  And it would be good thing if we could get a conversation going about gun crime. One that went somewhere and introduced some new ideas.

But I’m not sure it’s possible.
It’s been a week since the Umpqua Community College massacre in Oregon and America’s debate over guns is still poisoned by anger, fear and incredulity. It is possibly the worst example of how polarized our politics have become.  

One side pretends the Second Ammendment doesn’t exist, while the other insists that levels of gun ownership have nothing to do with America’s very high rate of gun deaths.

Both are wrong.

The ease of buying weapons and our longstanding gun culture lead to large numbers of disputes being settled by firearms. Americans own about 270 million guns, which is more than one for each adult.  About 10,000 people have been killed by guns so far this year and more than 20,000 were injured. 

The toll in the U.S. is far worse than in almost any other industrialized nation.  But ever since white settlers first arrived in the early 1600s, guns have been a fundamental part of the American story.  The frontier was settled with guns.  

Writing in The National Review, Rich Lowry is right to point out that banning semi-automatic assault rifles and closing gun show loopholes would do little to reduce the number of homicides or horrific mass killings. 

Also, you may argue that the U.S. Constitution is a deeply flawed document in this regard, but it very clearly states: “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

Gun rights opponents often say the bit about “a well regulated militia” confuses the meaning of the second part of the sentence.  But let’s say the Constitution gave completely a different reason.  Doesn’t matter. The right to keep and bear arms still remains.

The only way to implement strict gun control would be to strike down or alter the Second Ammendment. And that’s not going to happen anytime soon. 

Hillary Clinton has called for tighter gun-control, including expanded background checks, but Congress is in no mood to approve them.  If elected she’d also consider executive power to achieve her goals. That may please supporters and help win Democratic primaries, but the growing use of executive orders by Presidents of both parties is damaging to our democracy.  

Support for gun rights is strong.  Many believe passionately and perhaps wrongly that having several guns in their homes makes them safer.  The NRA is strong because it has a very large and passionate membership. 

As The New York Times reports, in Roseburg, Oregon, the site of last week’s massacre,  “Some said they were planning to buy guns. Others said they would seek concealed-weapons permits. Others, echoing gun advocates’ calls for more weapons on campus, said the college should allow its security guards to carry guns.”

Others argue that having guns in churches, schools and supermarkets comes at a terrible cost, making us more suspicious, fearful and less safe.

“Firearms are America’s Pandora’s Box,” writes Justin King in an article with the headline  ‘The Facts That Neither Side Wants To Admit About Gun Control.’ The box is open and more legislation won’t have a major impact, he argues. “If you want to change society, you have to actually change the whole of society.”

That’s a conversation that would be worth having.  Perhaps it can begin with an honest, compassionate debate about how we treat mental illness and better enforcement of the background checks that we already have.

Photo (above) Jim Wrigley Photography on Flickr Creative Commons license

Don’t Put His Views In a Political Box.  What The Media Are Missing About Pope Francis.

  New Republic

“We in the press are about to over-politicize his visit to America,” writes New York Times columnist David Brooks.

How right he is.

The media are awash with bland, secular generalizations. The trumpets of left and right are already at blaring with either praise or denunciations of the Pope’s message.

House Speaker John Boehner’s invitation to Pope Francis to address Congress “will be at his own party’s expense,” declares Brian Beutler in the increasingly hardline liberal journal “New Republic.”

In a scathing article, curmudgeon conservative George Will blasts The Pope for “his woolly sentiments that have the intellectual tone of fortune cookies.”

  The New York Post

But comments from both sides that seek to put the Pope in a box miss this importance of his message and above all, his example.

American Catholics don’t fit neatly into frames tethered to snippets extracted from a hugely complex spiritual leader,” writes conservative Catholic Ashley McGuire. As “a capitalism-loving, pro-life advocate who is quite possibly obsessed with abortion, I could not be more excited to welcome Pope Francis to America.

Regardless of political affiliation, many Americans appreciate the Pope’s emphasis on love and mercy over dogma and orthodoxy. 

He is humble and a warm presence in world of snarky pundits and fiercely opinionated politicians. As a Jesuit, Francis takes his vow of poverty seriously. He believes we can learn from the poor. His heart is with those who suffer and are in need.

As a devout Catholic he understands how symbols send a message. After arriving at Andrews Air Force Base and being greeted by President Obama and Vice President Biden, the Pope hopped into a small Fiat instead of the usual large limo reserved for dignatories.

He says the church should be “bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out in the streets,” instead of being unhealthy “from clinging to is own security.

As Gerald Seib points out in The Wall Street Journal, this Pope is a disrupter: “in sync with the dissatisfaction with the status quo” and also recognizing that The Catholic Church establishment has lost its way.

Many of us like leaders who would shake things up. Think Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders. This Pope challenges the existing order. An overwhelming majority of American Catholics approves of what he’s doing.

“I don’t think the categories Left and Right are very useful for understanding the Pope,” says theologian and papal expert Lawrence Cunningham of Notre Dame.

On some social matters he is deeply conservative. “Francis unflinchingly maintains the church’s ancient teaching about the sanctity of human life and total opposition to abortion,” writes Timothy Carney in a highly perceptive piece in The Washington Examiner.

“Although he has urged Catholics to drop their “obsession” with such issues, Francis would also stand with his predecessors against gay marriage. In fact, he clashed with the Argentinian government when it was expanding marriage to include same-sex couples.”

“On economics, Francis would look more like a Democrat than like a Republican, but so would his “conservative” predecessors,” writes Carney.

On the environment he has been more outspoken than those who came before him. But with rising carbon levels in the atmosphere and a growing sense among global leaders that action is required, the need is greater than it was years ago.

Fact is, whether  we’re conservative, liberal or independent, most of us like the guy.

“Pope Francis is an extraordinary learner, listener and self-doubter,” says David Brooks. “The best part of this week will be watching him relate to people, how he listens deeply and learns from them, how he sees them both in their great sinfulness but also with endless mercy and self-emptying love.”

 

One-Size-Fits-All.  Our National Panic Over Sex Crimes

  

  
This week I changed my mind about America’s sex offender laws. Sure, they’re popular and were passed by Congress and state legislatures in response terrible crimes.  
But no law can cure all ills and the national sex offender registry appears to be in urgent need of reform. 
In recent years we’ve had a scorched-earth debate about sex offenses led by the voices of fear and outrage. On the nightly news and in shows such as “Law and Order,” Americans have been fed this image of “stranger danger” – the creepy older guy who preys on children.
But the vast majority of assaults – as many as 90% – are committed by people who know the victims. 
In her new book, “Protecting Our Kids? How Sex Offender Laws Are Failing Us”, Sociology professor Emily Horowitz argues that Jessica’s Law, Megan’s Law and some other recent acts are examples of over-reach and a sweeping one-sized-fits-all approach to a very complex problem. Other researchers have also argued against moral panic that treats all sex offenders as monsters.
Dangerous adult predators are lumped together with teenagers and adolescents who were convicted of fondling or even sexting.
“We’re in the middle of a sex panic that’s been going on for decades now,” says Emily on the latest episode of our podcast, “How Do We Fix It?” 
Today there are more than 800,000 names on the ever-growing national sex offender registry. “Those are people who are publicly listed on the internet with all of their personal information and photographs. These are all people who’ve served time, completed probation and parole.” 
Until we spoke with Emily I believed that public shaming and a registry for sexual predators was a good idea. I still do – in some cases. But far too many people are on the list.
The national registry, which continues to grow each year despite a decline in sex offenses against children, may be an egregious violation of individual liberties, especially for the large share of offenders who were under 18 when they broke the law. They could stay on the list for the rest of their lives.
“It makes emotional sense. but it doesn’t make practical sense,” says Emily. “There is no other crime where people are listed on a public registry.” This includes those convicted of murder and assault.
“The premise underlying sex offender registries is that people who commit sex crimes are different from all other criminals, because they’re predatory, they cannot be stopped, and they’re uncontrollable so they need to be listed for life.”
“But that’s not true,” Emily insists. A quarter of the people on the registry committed crimes as juveniles. “They are particularly responsive to treatment. There are very few who are violent pedophiles.” 
“Child sexual abuse is very complicated and it happens most often within the family and among people known to the children so these laws are totally ineffective.”
The recidivism rate for sex offenders is not higher than for other crimes.” 

Among the fixes we discussed:
– Reform the national sex offenders registry, and include only the most violent offenders. Most people on the national registry were convicted of a single offense.
– Money now spent to maintain the registry should be diverted to mental and social services. .
– Educate children and parents. Encourage discussion about sex offenses and how to report them.
– Help people who’ve served their time re-build their lives. “You are much less likely to re-offend if you have a stable job and a stable home,” says Emily Horowitz.
I don’t agree with all that she says. Her focus on the treatment of offenders does not fully take into account the victims of the most horrendous crimes. Their stories must continue to be told. 
But a strong case has been made for registry reform. In its current state, the lives of many families face ruin. As a result victims of sex crimes, who know the perpetrators, may be very reluctant to report them to law enforcement. 

Solutions Advice For Jeb Bush… Be Positive.  Have Some Fun At The Expense of Donald Trump

  

The man Jon Stewart called “the comb-over King” is giving Jeb Bush a bunch of bad hair days. 

This was the guy who was supposed to be the optimistic candidate, who campaigns with “joy in my heart”.  But Bush 3 been thrown horribly off his game by the great usurper, Donald Trump.

“Mr. Bush does not seem to be radiating much joy these days,” reports Jonathan Martin on today’s front page of The New York Times. “Mr. Trump, the surprise leader in the polls, had turned his summer into a miserable one for Mr. Bush.”

The taunts, provocations, broadsides and personal ridicule from The Donald have clearly thrown Jeb off his game. And his poll numbers have sunk to single digits. 

“Trump is trying to insult his way into the Presidency,” said the somewhat glum candidate today on ABC’s Good Morning America.

Meanwhile, Trump is having a ball at the expense of others.  Instead of dry and detailed policy statements, Trump plays on his celebrity with a mixture of bluster and outrage. 

Bush needs to use a little humor to deflate Trump.  And he must at least look like he’s having fun out on the trail.

Answering Trump’s barbs point-by-point on Good Morning America may be the right way to respond to Hillary Clinton, Ted Cruz, or Scott Walker. But not to a guy who operates outside the normal theater of politics.

“Bush’s YouTube response to one of Trump’s attacks was good — for 2008,” writes Jonathan Capehart in The Washington Post.  But sending a Twitter link to a 70-second video is not enough.  Instead, Bush needs expand his use of social media and make brief Instagram slaps at Trump. 

“Going forward, watch for other campaigns to use the popular social media site to draw distinctions between themselves and others in the race. If you can’t say it, explain it or show it in 15 seconds, you’re not doing it right,” says Capehart.

And Jeb Bush also needs to do more radio and podcasts: Quick interviews from his campaign bus interviews with liberal as well as conservative hosts.  

Act like you have nothing to lose, Jeb.  After all, right now you are only one of 17 Republican candidates.

Mocking Donald Trump: Fun For Some, But It’s Bad For America

  

Sure, it’s easy to make fun of Donald Trump.  The front-page of the New York Daily News portrayed him as a clown.

The mocking mainstream media had a field day after Trump announced that he was running for President. The speech was “like it was plagiarized from an old drunk man mumbling to himself in a bar,” wrote Chicago Tribune columnist, Red Huppke.

Others called Trump egotistical, bombastic, a bloviating buffoon. 

The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart sounded positively gleeful about the Trump event saying “it was over a half-hour of the most beautifully ridiculous jibber-jabber ever to pour forth from the mouth of a billionaire.”

How hilarious.  It’s easy to sit back and have a good laugh at those we despise.

But there’s a dark side to the thrill of political hating.  It contributes to a nasty climate of cynicism, distrust and even despair.

“We citizens need to look inward a little,” says Arthur C. Brooks, President of the American Enterprise Institute. 

“Whether or not we want to admit it, political hate is a demand-driven phenomenon.  We are the ones creating a big market for it.”

This week Donald Trump is the most searched Presidential candidate on Google.

Do your own calculation.  For every newspaper article, radio or TV story about a new idea or a constructive way to think about a political problem, there must be a hundred examples of ridicule, sensation or mockery.

What the heck are we doing to our public square?

I agree with Arthur Brooks.  You can fight back.  Whatever your own view of the world, “avoid indulging in snarky, contemptuous dismissals of Americans on the other side.”

Going Grumpy: Why The New York Times Is Wrong About the British Election, and Maybe U.S. Politics As Well.

  

A headline in The New York Times

“The suicide of Britain,” proclaims an apocalyptic and, (as the Brits would say) bloody silly headline on Ross Douthat’s op-ed column.
Arriving back in New York after a very pleasant and refreshing visit to England, I’m surprised by the response to last week’s U.K. election in my gloomy, grumpy edition of The New York Times.
C’mon guys. Lighten up a little.  It could have been a lot worse.
  

Conservative leader David Cameron’s surprising win gives Britain a better chance of stability than the outright muddle that was suggested by pre-election opinion polls.  Thank goodness the pundits and data experts were  wrong.  The nation could have faced weeks of confusing bargaining over how to stitch together a shaky coalition.

Reading The Times over the past few days, you get the impression that the crushing defeat of the socialist Labor party leader Ed Miliband means that Britain is going to the dogs.
In his panicky “suicide of Britain” column, Douthat is wrong to suggest that “the United Kingdom as we know it is on the ropes.”  A little over-the-top, Ross!
The “little Englander” UKIP actually won fewer votes than many had expected.  This anti-modernist protest movement will be represented by a solitary M.P.  Douthat’s foreboding claim that “the deep winners were the forces of nationalism,” is an exaggeration.
Yes, the Scottish Nationalists did score a stunning victory, winning 56 of the 59 seats they contested.  But thanks to Cameron’s success in England (where the great majority of British people live), the SNP simply doesn’t have the votes in the 635 member Parliament to demand another at-bat for independence.  
Last year, the cause of Scottish separatism suffered a clear defeat. Cameron has ruled out another referendum in the next five years.
Last week’s SNP election sweep was more about states’ rights than an overwhelming demand to break from the U.K.  The system of government is highly centralized, and ruled from London.  Scots, quite understandably, want more power over their own taxes and spending.  The demand for federalism will not inevitably lead to a weaker United Kingdom.
  
The line outside a polling station in Berkshire. U.K. turnout was the highest in 18 years.

As for the European Union, Cameron’s pledge to hold a referendum by the end of 2017 on U.K. membership could actually strengthen rather than weaken the European cause.
Both The Times’ editorial writers and the German newsmagazine Der Spiegel warned that the election result is “bad news for Europe.”
Maybe not.  Antipathy to rules and regs from Brussels is nothing new.  For decades, right-wing British conservatives have been deeply skeptical about being part of Europe.  In the 90’s they caused misery for the Tory government of John Major.  
Holding a referendum at a time when when well over 50% of Brits say they support staying in the E.U. could settle the matter for many years to come.
Britain is not alone in calling for a more decentralized Europe.  “We have potential supporters, even among countries that have been reluctant to be associated with the curmudgeonly British,” says the Mayor of London, and Conservative M.P., Boris Johnson. 
“I have every confidence that our negotiators… will be able to achieve a reform that is in the interests not just of Britain but of the whole of Europe.”
Johnson may turn out to be wrong, and “Brexit” (Britain saying no to the E.U.),  might be in the cards.  But both his argument, and the positive case for what happened last week in the election, is getting short shrift in The Times.
The result of this election is more evidence that the left in both the U.S. and the U.K. has misunderstood the message sent by voters.  Conservatives in both countries simply seem more cheerful than their opponents, regardless of the strength or weakness of their cause. 
 
By all means, The Times and others should champion the cause of minorities, low paid workers and the unemployed, who don’t get a fair shake from our system.  But don’t ignore the contributions of entrepreneurs and wealth creators, and the aspirations of middle class taxpayers to better themselves.
Many of us want to read about hope and progress, instead of merely being subjected to a steady diet of whining and foreboding.
Note: After writing this I noticed this from David Brooks (himself of The New York Times).  Good stuff here