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“She does not put a finger in the wind to judge trends: she is the wind.”

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Imperiousness in the world of fashion is a grand thing, but not in the world of national security reporting.

The New York Times’ David Carr writes about Vogue’s Anna Wintour this morning, and Ms. Wintour’s relationship to The Devil Wears Prada’s Miranda Priestly:

And her imperiousness, the precise thing that is parodied throughout the film, means that the movie is just one more spitball against a battleship. Most mortals would have responded to a wide-screen depiction of their excesses by dressing in sackcloth and hiding in the basement. Ms. Wintour donned Prada, natch, and went to a New York premiere.

IN that way, “The Devil Wears Prada” has become just one more lesson in Ms. Wintour’s indomitability. A dead raccoon, a gift from antifur activists, dropped on her plate at the Four Seasons, is calmly tented with a napkin by Ms. Wintour before she orders coffee. A flung tofu pie is remarked upon for its benefits as a facial. And when she’s satirized on the big screen, she makes sure she’s in on the joke.

Bill Keller seems mystified that the public would judge his decision’s about the national security with less deference than those Ms. Wintour offers the world of style.  His repeated forays into public to defend the decision to publish information that “conceivably” could help terrorists elude capture (to use the Los Angeles Times’  Doyle McManus’ term) have not been treated with deference, but derision.  Keller’s “judgment” is increasingly revealed as pique.  The hauteur that serves Wintour/Priestly doesn’t work at all for editors, esepcially editors in way over their head.

A building has exploded and collapsed on the upper east side of Manhatten  –62nd and Park– this morning, and the story is not just how many have been killed or injured, but also whether there is a terrorism connection.  Lst week’s story on the plot to bomb the transportation system in the city, and this summers terror ring busts in Miami and Canada all underscore for the public that the threat is not theoretical.

Deference in the world of fashion can be earned and defended.  I suspect it can even survive a few mistakes.

But newspaper types never earned deference in the world of national secuirty to begin with, and any hope of Mr. Keller doing so is long gone, and won’t be back. 


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