1. Why do you assert that journalists aren’t able “to investigate in depth”? Whether they do it well or badly, isn’t that exactly what they’re trained to do?
2. You claim to be talking about journalists, but, as you note, your two lead examples (Doris Kearns Goodwin and Fareed Zakaria) are both political science Ph.Ds. Are you critiquing journalism or political science?
3. You cite Peter Hoffer’s Past Imperfect to criticize Doris Kearns Goodwins. How does Hoffer’s discussion of Joseph Ellis in the same book affect your argument? How does Jon Wiener’s approach in Historians in Trouble differ from Hoffer’s?
4. In your comment “David McCullough, formerly of Sports Illustrated,” what is the connection to SI intended to evoke?
6. Do the examples of Michael Bellesiles, Stephen Ambrose, Ellis, Niall Ferguson, and Newt Gingrich change your argument about the effect of doing a history dissertation? (in Gingrich’s case, the affect of it as well).
7. Read this piece by James Fallows. Fallows is a journalist; Ferguson has a D.Phil in history. Does that alter your argument?
(Eric points me to an even more damning indictment of Ferguson.)