Five Best Friday Columns

Peggy Noonan on communication failures, Mark Edmunson on online education, Joshua Green on Romney's campaign strategy, Barack Obama on cybersecurity, and Taner Akcam on Turkey's human rights

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Peggy Noonan in The Wall Street Journal on failures to communicate Noonan rounds up three instances from recent weeks in which someone failed to communicate a good message, and she's particularly funny on the subject of U.S. Olympic Team uniforms. It's embarrassing that they are manufactured in China, she says, "But that isn't the biggest problem. That would be the uniforms themselves... The failure of the uniforms is that they don't communicate: 'Here comes America.' They communicate: 'Chic global Martians coming your way.'" She then moves to politics, where she criticizes Romney for his tax return response and Obama for his comments on government and building companies.

Mark Edmunson in The New York Times on online education Part of the problem with University of Virginia's firing and rehiring of their president was concern that the school isn't moving fast enough into online education. Edmunson, a UVA English professor, says the school is right to drag their feet. "With every class we teach, we need to learn who the people in front of us are. We need to know where they are intellectually, who they are as people and what we can do to help them grow. Teaching, even when you have a group of a hundred students on hand, is a matter of dialogue," he says. "Internet learning promises to make intellectual life more sterile and abstract than it already is — and also, for teachers and for students alike, far more lonely."

Joshua Green in The Boston Globe on Romney's winning strategy For weeks the presidential campaign has focused on Mitt Romney's job creation record at Bain Capital and his tax returns. "The dominant cable-news image of a reeling campaign isn't borne out by the numbers," Green writes. "The noise-to-impact ratio of current issues is just the latest reminder that what matters intensely to Washington consultants and columnists doesn't necessarily sway voters." Romney seems to know, Green writes, that he can still win by focusing on the stalling economy, and those who overemphasize the other issues might end up surprised.

Barack Obama in The Wall Street Journal on the cyberattack threat President Obama opens by describing a simulated cyberattack scenario that his cabinet and national security advisers conducted, describing the exercise as "sobering reminder that the cyber threat to our nation is one of the most serious economic and national security challenges we face." He outlines the scale of the threat, and urges Congress to pass cybersecurity legislation. "The American people deserve to know that companies running our critical infrastructure meet basic, commonsense cybersecurity standards, just as they already meet other security requirements."

Taner Akcam in The New York Times on Turkey's human rights leadership Turkey aims to lead in the Muslim world on human rights, and its prime minister recently called the Syrian government's massacres an "attempted genocide." But "Turkey's attempt to cultivate an image as the global protector of Muslim rights is compromised by a legacy of ethnic cleansing and genocide against Christians and terror against Arabs and Kurds," writes Akcam. The crimes were long ago, but Turkey's reticence in addressing them causes suspicion amid Middle Eastern Christians, who in particular are fearful of human rights abuses today.

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