Well, tastes differ and I admit that Economist editorials do kind of write themselves after a while. But that is a vice of almost any publication. And whatever its general predictsbility, The Economist still does some extraordinarily sophisticated reporting of which we here offer two examples--one surprising, given the source, the other perhaps less so.
First, the kind of piece you might expect The Economist to do well: an extraordinarily shrewd and unblindered account of European populism. In particular, The E shows how the populists have succeeded in disengaging from anti-Semitism, and embracing the cause of gay (and women's) rights. There's also a sympathetic rendering of the populists' relationship with the European Union--including, in particular, a reminder that the Union has distinctly anti-populist roots having been created in large part to supplant the poisonous populism of the fascist years.
Second, perhaps more unexpected, a bit of gutsy first-hand reporting (with an assist from anonymous whistle-blowers) of the mucked-up cleanup effort at Fukushima. It's a style of reporting you might expect more from Mother Jones but nonetheless likeable for all that.
Personal aside: whatever its particular virtues or defects, The Economist offers one inducement that is a dealmaker for me: cool audio. I download the new issue on Thursday nights and it gets me through a week of morning bike rides.