In the November 7 U.S. News & World Report, editor Brian Duffy announces a beefing-up of his magazine's front section, specifically "eight new pages…to give you more of the news and analysis you've come to depend on." Duffy himself wrote the very first piece in USN&WR’s expanded front of the book -- and it offers more of the gloomy take on the Bush administration that the magazine's readers have come to depend on.
To Duffy, last week wasn't a turning of the corner for President Bush, but rather “one of the worst weeks since he took up residence in the White House.” (Though that assessment is more reasonable than the issue’s cover subhead, which calls the week “the White House’s darkest hour.” Worse than the week of 9/11?)
Under the headline, “Dark Days at the Big House on Pennsylvania Ave.,” Duffy acknowledges that a year ago, “the president's promise to privatize Social Security and extend the writ of the ‘Bush Doctrine’ beyond Iraq to the sclerotic autocracies of the Middle East boded well and seemed, at the time, the meat historians would feast on for years.”
But that was then, and this was last week for Bush: "Despite the sunny reception from his audience in Norfolk, Va....the tough talk and triumphalism of his re-election bid seemed like a dim memory." The optimism of late 2004, Duffy opines, "looks like a false prelude to a calamitous second act that virtually no one could have predicted."
A few pages later in the issue comes an item that begins, "President Bush is angry, again, at the news media. White House insiders say the president is fuming about negative news coverage on a variety of issues, including the special prosecutor investigation, the Harriet Miers nomination to the Supreme Court, the war in Iraq, and rising conservative criticism of the administration." U.S. News just became, potentially, eight pages more negative each week.