Five Best Thursday Columns

John Cassidy on a pardon for Bradley Manning, Jack Shafer on the "Marquee Brothers" of journalism, Kirsten Powers on violence against Christians in Egypt, Jeffrey Goldberg on Turkey's anti-Semitism, and Jeffrey Singer on the benefits of paying cash for medical procedures.

This article is from the archive of our partner .

John Cassidy at The New Yorker on a pardon for Bradley Manning The 35-year prison sentence for Chelsea Manning (formerly Bradley Manning) strikes Cassidy as a "shock" and "draconian." The supporters' calls for a presidential pardon are likely to go ignored, but "even if President Obama doesn’t pardon Manning, history will," Cassidy writes. "In fifty years, people will look on the Manning case as another blot on a dark era for the United States and the values that it claims to hold dear." Former Nixon White House counsel John Dean, who knows dark eras, tweets: "Obama Doesn't Use His Pardon But This [should] Be An Exception." And Peter Maass, who interviewed another leaker, Edward Snowden, for The New York Times Magazinewrites, "John Cassidy at The New Yorker says what needs to be said about the Manning verdict."

Jack Shafer at Reuters on the "Marquee Brothers" of journalism Nate Silver, who recently announced a deal to re-launch his FiveThirtyEight site for ESPN, Shafer writes, is a "semi-independent scribe working directly inside a news operation with a staff and brand of his own," joining other journalists like Bill Simmons, who leads Grantland for ESPN, Andrew Ross Sorkin, who runs Dealbook for The New York Times, and Ezra Klein, who heads up Wonkblog for The Washington Post. These "Marquee Brothers," as Shafer dubs them, "is thriving because the most enthusiastic consumers of news and analysis can’t be satisfied with a generic product." The fact that these Marquee Brothers are all white men got plenty of notice. "Wow, only men have web media prominence. Want a list @JackShafer?" tweets Kara Swisher, the former Wall Street Journal reporter who launched AllThingsD as a separate Dow Jones site. "This is flawed analysis, in isolation, without taking into account blog-media entrepreneurs who paved this path first," writes Rafat Ali, the founder of travel news site Skift. But Glenn Fleishman, editor of The Magazine web site, defends Shafer: "Wasn’t Jack’s list very specifically anointed people within big media organizations? Not web media."

Kirsten Powers at The Daily Beast on violence against Christians in Egypt Coptic Christians have seen their homes, churches, and shops attacked, looted, and burned by Islamists during the recent violence in Egypt. "This is not a Muslim versus Christian conflict, as much as the Muslim Brotherhood would like the world to think it is," Powers argues. "The problem is the Muslim Brotherhood, full stop. When will the Obama administration realize it?" Powers' piece details a "staggering number of attacks on Copts and their churches/property," tweets Dwight Bashir, a deputy director of policy and research at the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom. Conservative blogger Whitney Pitcher tweets, "Thank you, @kirstenpowers10, for drawing attention to the horrific, Muslim Brotherhood attacks on Coptic Christians."

Jeffrey Goldberg at Bloomberg View on Turkey's anti-Semitism "It's time to call Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan what he is: a semi-unhinged bigot," Goldberg writes. The most recent evidence, Goldberg argues, is Erdogan's statement blaming Israel for the violence in Egypt. "As Walter Russell Mead of the American Interest magazine says, those who are burdened with anti-Semitism are unable to discern cause and effect relations in complex social settings. If I were an investor in Turkey, I'd keep this mind," Goldberg concludes. "Harsh @BloombergView op-ed on #Turkey's sprawling conspiracy theories," responds Emre Peker, an Istanbul-based Wall Street Journal reporter. "Ouch. That's gonna leave a mark," adds Piotr Zalewski, a journalist based in Turkey reporting for Time and Foreign Policy.

Jeffrey Singer at The Wall Street Journal on the benefits of paying cash for medical procedures Dr. Singer tells the story of a patient who opted to pay him $3,000 in cash up front instead of the $20,000 his health insurance company would have billed him. "Most people are unaware that if they don't use insurance, they can negotiate upfront cash prices with hospitals and providers substantially below the 'list' price. Doctors are happy to do this," Singer writes. "It was clear to both of us that the only way to make health care more affordable is to diminish the role of third-party payers," and go with negotiated, up-front costs. "A good article to read about our healthcare system. I am convinced we have to start doing things differently," tweets Paul Thurmond, a Republican state senator in South Carolina. But ThinkProgress reporter Jeff Spross doesn't see much to learn for health care policy, writing, "Anyone who can drop $3K if needed is not a good basis for the 'market forces will make everything better' argument."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.