Five Best Wednesday Columns
Glenn Greenwald on overcoming government intimidation, Amar Bhidé makes the case for a boring Federal Reserve Chair, Molly Ball on immigration reform's growing popularity, Jay Rosen on government secrecy and its opponents, and Christoph Scheuermann contrasts British and German opinions on state surveillance.
Glenn Greenwald at The Guardian on overcoming government intimidation The purpose of the U.K. government's arrest of Greenwald's partner David Miranda and the destruction of a laptop at The Guardian's London headquarters was pure intimidation, Greenwald writes. "[The] U.S. and the U.K. governments go around the world threatening people all the time. It's their modus operandi," he argues, and then turns his ire toward the journalists still defending those governments, who "believe in subservient journalism, not adversarial journalism. I only believe in the latter," he writes, vowing to continue his work. As Will Heaven, a political blog editor for The Telegraph, notes, Greenwald "paraphrases the work of 'state-loyal journalists,'" and mockingly takes on their disapproving voice defending government surveillance: "How dare you raise your voice to the empire?" WikiLeaks advocate and Icelandic parliament member Birgitta Jónsdóttir writes that it's "A must read ... thank you Glenn."
Amar Bhidé at The New York Times on the case for a boring Federal Reserve Chair Whoever Obama chooses as the next leader of the Federal Reserve, Bhidé argues that job needs to be scaled back. Janet Yellen or Larry Summers are both well qualified, Bhidé writes, "But they are humans, too, whose blind spots, egos and potential conflicts of interest ... raise real concerns about hubris, even bias. … Perhaps the most important qualification for the next Fed leader is one all too rare in Washington: humility." Paul Page, the economics editor for CQ Roll Call, writes, "Wishing dullness at the Fed is nice, but others would have to pick up the slack of economic maturity." Peter Klein, a professor of social sciences at the University of Missouri and advocate of reforming the Federal Reserve System, tweets "Very good piece by Amar Bhidé on reining in the Fed."
Molly Ball at The Atlantic on the growing popularity of immigration reform "Hundreds of immigrant advocates have appeared at rallies and town halls across the country. But the other side, the opponents, have been mostly absent," Ball writes, noting how a number of Tea Party anti-immigration rallies have been canceled for lack of interest. In sum: immigration reform advocates won the month of August. AP religion reporter Rachel Zoll notes a shift toward pro-immigration has included faith groups, while Cecilia Muñoz, the White House's point person on immigration reform, optimistically points out that "The House's return is just around the corner." Congress returns to session on Sept. 9.
Jay Rosen at Press Think on the battle between government transparency and state secrets The British government's actions against the The Guardian these past few days constitute a battle over a "conspiracy to commit journalism," as Rosen calls it. "The battle I referred to is not a simple matter of the state vs. civilians. It’s not government vs. the press, either. It’s the surveillance-over-everything forces within governments ... vs. everyone who opposes their overreach," he argues, which even includes regular, actively-sharing readers. This international group "wins when the deeds exposed turn out to lack legitimacy under the greater scrutiny they receive because of that exposure," Rosen writes. "Fabulous piece by Jay Rosen. Unmissable," tweets John Naughton, a frequent writer on internet secrecy for The Guardian. Dan Gillmor, an author on a book examining the impact of journalism from grassroots sources, notes that Rosen has "been on a tear since Snowden leaks," and that this piece is "excellent commentary."
Christoph Scheuermann in Der Spiegel on British blind faith in government surveillance "It's astonishing to see how many Britons blindly and uncritically trust the work of their intelligence service," notes Scheuermann, a strong contrast to the response in the author's homeland, Germany. "Journalists must avoid such attempts at ingratiation from the powerful, even if it means that they are occasionally denied information and exclusive stories from intelligence sources," he writes. "It takes a German journalist to say what many U.K. journalists seem shy of saying," writes Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger. But Der Spiegel isn't the only German paper writing on the subject, notes Christian Zaschke, a London correspondent for the German national newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung: "In Germany the story gets way more attention than in GB."