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Brookfield Basics

A column about history, culture, policy, and things in between.

The Voices We Listen To - My Favorite Journalist

I believe that the voices we listen to when receiving our news is becoming as important as the news itself.

Most people I know expect our leaders and our pundits to disagree and to hold different views.  They not only expect it; l believe they want it.

What we don't want, but regrettably have come to expect, is the strident tones of apocolyptic rhetoric that seem to have become the norm in the last fifteen years.  There is a savagery in our public discourse that is more than concerning - it is alarming.

And this is why Peggy Noonan of The Wall Street Journal has been my favorite columnist for a long time.  


Ms. Noonan is extremely bright and erudite, but this does not distinguish her.  In a field littered with so many poor writers, she is a very good one.  Her penetrating observations combine with a talent for making complex issues and relationships seem clear, and her use of analogy is brilliant.  Unlike the glut of talking heads who follow in her wake, she actually has some knowledge of cultural and political history.  She is willing to put in the hard work of honest self-reflection and editing of content, an old school journalist who honors the traditions of her profession.  And all of these are qualities that DO separate her from most of her peers.

She "made her bones" thirty years ago in a world dominated by men, and is rightfully proud of that accomplishment.  But her pride is tempered with, dare I say it, feminine style.  

But more than all of this, Peggy Noonan possesses one quality that puts her at the very top of my list.   

She is gracious.

Graciousness is a virtue, a pattern of character and behavior that indicates one possesses and is willing to dispense - grace.  And it is all but non-existent in the profession of print and television journalism.   

Regardless of our walk in life, I think we can all learn from Peggy Noonan.

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