iOS app Android app More

Mike Smith

Mike Smith

Posted March 9, 2009 | 12:43 PM (EST)

Times' Sanger Concerned about Concentration of Power


David E. Sanger's New Book is The Inheritance: The World Obama Confronts and the Challenges to American Power.

He said that Democratic control of the executive branch and legislative branch of government takes away checks and balances that might lead to "barely any accountability and an abuse of power," in the new Obama Administration.

Sanger is Chief Washington Correspondent for the New York Times. He noted the temptation is to "not seek alternative views" and that Democrats could "invariably see a backlash at the polls" in the midterms. Speaking to a convention of ad execs yesterday, Sanger also pitched his new book, The Inheritance. The book takes an in-depth look in almost 500 pages at where America stands in the world, why in-depth reporting by the Fourth Estate keeps government honest, and how the Obama Administration faces global challenges not of its own making.

While Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is on a Mideast tour answering Iranian cleric criticisms about the U.S. as a Zionist supporter, Sanger's book takes a hard look at rogue nations like Iran, Pakistan and North Korea.

In terms of domestic issues he discussed at the AAAA ad agency conference in New Orleans, the economy, of course, loomed large. "Unfettered markets eventually get out of whack," said Sanger. "Silicon Valley's perception now is that it is a poor time to take risks. The venture capital is drying up."

"The biggest risk (to our economy) is becoming risk averse," Sanger noted. He predicted that corporate government will adapt and executive pay will need to change.

Sanger added: "We have an activist government and more regulation coming. There is a cycle of big regulation every 70 years, so we are in that timeframe."

Like most traditional journalists, (and he has 26 years at the Times), Sanger lamented the social media blog phenom. "Bloggers are not reporters," he harrumphed. "We are losing our capability for strong in-depth reporting -- we are not doing what the founders asked us to do." He said referring to the maintenance of a healthy fourth estate.

Still, I was personally tickled when he inscribed my copy of The Inheritance with: "From one digital journalist to another, good luck with the column. (Keep up the good work at Huffington Post.)" Maybe the Times are a changing after all?