paper trail

Bill O'Reilly defends himself; Zuckerberg picks Eula Biss for book club

Eula Biss

Today, Kate Bennett starts her new job at Politico as a DC gossip columnist.

Last week in Mother Jones, David Corn and Daniel Schulman asserted that Bill O’Reilly—who has devoted time on his show to attack Brian Williams for his deceptions—may have misrepresented his own experiences during the Falklands war in 1982. “For years, O'Reilly has recounted dramatic stories about his own war reporting that don't withstand scrutiny—even claiming he acted heroically in a war zone that he apparently never set foot in.” O’Reilly has tried to discredit the story on his show, and on his blog he wrote: “David Corn is a guttersnipe liar.” But the scrutiny of O’Reilly has persisted; a Facebook post by Eric Jon Engberg, who was an NBC news correspondent for 27 years, “calls into question several of O’Reilly’s statements about the reporting—and O’Reilly’s subsequent recollections of it.”

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has selected Eula Biss’s On Immunity, a meditation on vaccines that draws on scientific and literary sources, for his new book club. Biss’s publisher, Graywolf, is anticipating a boost in sales, and already sent the book back to press for another printing.

Ta-Nehisi Coates has written a moving and evocative appreciation of his friend and onetime editor David Carr.

Margaret Sullivan writes that the the media business is a “subject that the Times needs to own.” Following the sudden death of David Carr, she writes, “the Times must not only replenish its media desk but must also think about how to replace one of its brightest stars.” (And then goes on to offer an aside: “Has The Times’s attention to Mr. Carr’s death been a tad over the top, even including a posthumous “last column,” constructed using the syllabus from his college course, with a ghostly byline that read “with David Carr”?”)

Publishers Weekly reports on last week’s panel discussion “After Charlie: What’s Next for Art, Satire, and Censorship.” The speakers included Molly Crabapple, who noted that cartooning still has “the power to inflame because it is visceral and irritates authoritarian assholes,” and Art Spiegleman, who, bemoaning “the decline of challenging political cartooning in the US,” noted that “American newspapers are afraid to lose any readers.”