Five Best Monday Columns
Brian Beutler on lessons from getting shot, Andrew Sullivan on the detention of journalist Glenn Greenwald's partner, Amy Davidson on the potential for a drone strike on WikiLeaks' Julian Assange, Bobby Ghosh on the irrelevance of Egypt, and Virginia Postrel on over-treating mild cancers.
Brian Beutler at Salon on lessons from the night he was shot Beutler only narrowly survived being shot five years ago when he was attacked by two hooded black men in D.C. Still, this doesn't mean he approves of stop-and-frisk and other policing efforts that rely on racial profiling to stop crime. "But to anyone whose instinct is to crouch defensively and treat everyone who resembles their attackers like criminals, I’m living proof that there’s another way. Everyone who’s ever shot me was black and wearing a hoodie. There just aren’t any reasonable inferences to draw from that fact," Beutler writes. "Provoked by ridiculous defenses of 'stop-and-frisk,' @BrianBeutler writes about the night he got shot," writes Jamil Smith of MSNBC. "Well @BrianBeutler's piece on getting shot was a morning jolt. Go read," tweets David Weiner, Digg's editorial director. "A powerful, moving column," tweets Washington Post reporter Zachary Goldfarb.
Andrew Sullivan at The Dish on the detention of Glenn Greenwald's partner Using a law intended to stop terrorism, the British government detained the partner of The Guardian's Glenn Greenwald — the journalist who received classified documents from NSA leaker Edward Snowden — and questioned him without a lawyer for nine hours, and Sullivan writes that this proves Greenwald's fears of government abuse from data collection. "Britain is now a police state when it comes to journalists, just like Russia is," Sullivan writes, and then addresses Prime Minister David Cameron. "You have proven that these laws can be hideously abused. Which means they must be repealed." The New Yorker's Amy Davidson tweets, "Do the US & UK governments distinguish between leak & terrorism investigations? Or just a mish-mash of 'enemies'?" "Sullivan nails it," tweets Daniel Bentley, an editor for Circa News, but Joshua Foust, a foreign policy contributor for The Atlantic and The New York Times, writes that the Russia comparison is too extreme: "Here's an old list of some the journalists murdered in the former Soviet States. [Sullivan] should take note."
Amy Davidson at The New Yorker on a potential drone strike on Julian Assange In a tweet he would later delete and call "dumb," Time magazine correspondent Michael Grunwald wrote, "I can’t wait to write a defense of the drone strike that takes out Julian Assange." Davidson writes that this tweet is so problematic for its seeming eagerness for Assange's death, its approval of drone strikes on journalists, and its dismissal of the very real dangers journalists face abroad. "When these become the terms in which we discuss whether the government may kill a journalist or anyone, we are very much in trouble," Davidson writes. Robert Greenwald, filmmaker and founder of the politically-inclined Brave New Films, tweets "Thoughtful and smart from Amy D." The story resonated with leaker groups, including the official WikiLeaks account, saying "New Yorker on @TIME journalist's call for #Assange assassination," and also received support from Nathan Fuller, a writer for the Bradley Manning Support Network, who tweeted the story "by The New Yorker's excellent [Davidson]."
Bobby Ghosh in Time on Egypt's waning influence Egypt used to be the cultural, educational, and political center of the Middle East, but the current violence underscores the country's lack of relevance. "Egypt today is none of those things, and for two reasons: the Middle East has changed, and Egypt has not," Ghosh writes. "And Washington should treat it as such. It should stop pretending Egypt is an important player in Arab affairs, and pay more attention to countries that are," such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey. "Ouch. But parts of it ring true," writes Ethar El-Katatney, staff writer at Egypt Today. "Does Egypt really matter (to the U.S.) anyway?... Don't know if I agree, but I appreciate the asking," writes Jody Avirgan, a radio producer for New York's The Brian Lehrer Show. "Pretty sure #Suez Canal matters to U.S. military though," notes former Al Jazeera producer Dena Takruri.
Virginia Postrel at Bloomberg View on false cancer diagnoses More and more people are diagnosed with cancer at earlier stages because of an emphasis on early detection, but there is little evidence that this has stemmed cancer's fatality or saved many lives. "If anything, emphasizing early detection misdirects research and funding," Postrel writes. "Arguably, a lot of women who think of themselves as 'breast cancer survivors' have survived treatment, not cancer." To fix these over-diagnoses of mild tumors, Postrel recommends renaming low-risk, low-grade "cancers" to a word that inspires less fear and panic. "Been saying this for years. We overtreat so much," writes Dr. Cathleen London, a TV medical commentator for Fox News. "[Stop] over treating cancer. Often, stop even calling it 'cancer,'" tweets The Atlantic contributing editor Jonathan Rauch. "If cancer isn't cancer, what is financial impact on cancer treatment centers, oncologists, etc?" asks Bloomberg Health's medical care writer Matt Barry.