Related Content: Gwen Ifill

Who Exactly Are the Bums?

Gwen's Take

September 17, 2010

With a little over six weeks left before Americans go to the poll and put us out of our midterm election madness/misery, this year’s prevailing political story line got a fresh bump this week: voters want to throw the bums out.

This morning-after punditry has become more and more predictable with every new poll and every primary election night. Americans are angry, economically stressed and completely over Washington. Obama. Congress. It matters not. They just know what’s happening now is not working.

Recalculating: News and Politics in the Age of GPS

Gwen's Take

Like many of you, I have become slightly addicted to the voice embedded in my dashboard that tells me where and how to drive my car.

If I miss an exit, it grows silent for a moment before calmly advising me that it is “recalculating.”

If only there were a global positioning app for the news and politics.

The Peace of The Brave: Middle East Peace Talks Then and Now

Gwen's Take

“A great moment of opportunity,” she said.

“There's a lot of skepticism out there,” he said. “But I think there is ground to be hopeful.”

Why We Love It When the President Goes Away

Gwen's Take

The President of the United States is on vacation. I am not. It rained for his first three days in Martha’s Vineyard. The sun was shining here. (Tee hee.)

Forgive my enjoyment. But it’s nice to take a break from news of floods, imminent hurricanes, mosque debates and the impending spectacle of Glenn Beck and Al Sharpton facing off on the National Mall this weekend, to meditate on something lighter for a change – time off.

An Unplanned Aberration: A peek behind the curtain at the PBS NewsHour

Gwen's Take

If the camera had continued rolling Monday night at the NewsHour after I completed a segment on the debate over the so-called “ground zero mosque,” you would have seen me beating my head against the anchor desk.

Leaning Left and Right: Why Labels Won't Help This Year

Gwen's Take

OK, folks, it’s time for another of my periodic forays into definitional politics.

To accomplish this, I have to take my own profession to task – and then rise to its defense. The problem: we reach too easily for shorthand. The defense: we live for shorthand.

This run-up to this week’s elections gave us a rich trove of gaffes to choose from to help me make my point, but I’ll settle on two events that lend themselves to two key questions.

Retiring "Mission Accomplished" & The Long Hot Summer

Gwen's Take

Perhaps Oprah brought the President a cake when she joined his tight circle of Chicago friends for a birthday dinner this week. That’s more of a celebration than he has been able to have for any of his other landmark dates this year.

Consider the options.

Toxic Conversations

Gwen's Take

A few years ago, my friends Mark Halperin, now of Time Magazine, and John Harris, now of Politico, coined the term “freak show” as a catchall for the fever that overtakes those of us in the information gathering business from time to time.  “Toxicity,” they wrote in their 2006 political book, “The Way to Win,” “is the new defining trait of modern American politics.”

Entering the "Twitterverse"

Gwen's Take

You see, that headline is what I’ve always hated about Twitter.  

It’s way too cute.

But, alas, I have been lured in.

My first week on Twitter has been enlightening, funny and a little creepy.

You have to understand first that I have long been a firm anti-Twitterer. Life and news is complicated enough to explain without limiting yourself to 140 characters. Plus, I generally have less than zero interest in the eating, dieting and work day habits of people I have never met.

Yet, and still…

Taking the candor challenge

Gwen's Take

Let me let you in on a Washington reality game show ----the ongoing push and pull between journalists and the people they cover.  The prize: simple candor.

By candor, I don’t mean that I expect the people we interview to act contrary to their own best personal and political interests.  But in an ideal world, it would be nice if everybody could at least try to play by the same Q&A rules.

To wit: we’ll ask the smartest questions we possibly can, and you will at least take a stab at offering a revealing answer.