The Press: Needle-Wit

For a newspaper correspondent in Moscow, the trick was to write dispatches with tongue in cheek, which the Soviet censors wouldn't notice, but any U.S. reader would. The New York Times's soft-voiced, scholarly Brooks Atkinson was a master at it. Drew Middleton, his chubby, aggressive successor in Moscow, has proved equally adept.

In Trud, the trade-union paper, he found a young shoe-factory foreman named Vassily Matrosov being praised to the Red skies for the "amazing" changes by which he had boosted output. To hear Trud tell it, Comrade Matrosov was a combination Bedaux, Stakhanov and Henry Ford. Last week, in a...

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