Five Best Monday Columns

Erik Wemple on Glenn Greenwald's journalism, Evgeny Morozov on the epistemology of big data, Massimo Calabresi on the legal status of Edward Snowden, Heather Havrilesky on Don Draper's self-knowledge, and Enrique Acevedo on protecting the U.S. border.

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Erik Wemple at The Washington Post on Glenn Greenwald's journalism Erik Wemple takes stock of Guardian columnist Glenn Greenwald's heated exchange with Meet the Press host David Gregory, who asked Greenwald whether he should be arrested for "aiding and abetting" NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. "David Gregory's logic has a cursory appeal," Wemple notes. "Why wouldn’t Greenwald have the courage to take on the issues swirling around his reporting? Shouldn't a Sunday talk show host have the latitude to pose tough questions to another journalist Of course. Too bad, however, Gregory didn't do that. Rather, he seeded his question with a veiled accusation of federal criminal wrongdoing, very much in the tradition of 'how long have you been beating your wife.'" At PressThink, Jay Rosen adds: "Glenn Greenwald is going to face more and more questions about his motives and methods as the Snowden story divides the country and the press. He might as well prepare for it, and try to accept these encounters with good humor when he can."

Evgeny Morozov at Slate on the epistemology of big data What can we — especially our government — glean from so-called big data? Evgeny Morozov considers how technology-based solutions shut down debate concerning the problems they seek to fix. "Why does crime happen?" Morozov asks, offering one example. "Well, you might say that it’s because youths don't have jobs. Or you might say that's because the doors of our buildings are not fortified enough. ... What should you do?" Big data, Morozov continues, "can help us avoid occasional jolts and disturbances and, perhaps, even stop the bad guys. But it can also blind us to the fact that the problem at hand requires a more radical approach. Big Data buys us time, but it also gives us a false illusion of mastery." Greg Satell at Forbes, meanwhile, diagnoses the hype around big data: "We are now in the midst of a big data bubble where everything and anything seems to be touted as having some kind of big data tie-in. It’s hard to know what we’re talking about anymore."

Massimo Calabresi at Time on the legal status of Edward Snowden As the world watches the NSA whistleblower run and hide across the world, Massimo Calabresi asks whether Edward Snowden is a refugee, at least according to international standards regarding political persecution. "Snowden has admitted to breaking the law and said he is performing serious civil disobedience," Calabresi notes. "... He said of his actions, 'When you are subverting the power of government that’s a fundamentally dangerous thing to democracy.' That was a particularly impressive and well-thought-out statement, but it also appears to be a stark admission that he is committing the kind of serious crime that denies him the protection of a refugee." Ezra Klein and Evan Soltas at The Washington Post are less enamored with Snowden's status, however. "Operation: Snowden ... has even neutralized journalistic resources that could've been devoted to the larger NSA stories," the pair write.

Heather Havrilesky at Salon on Don Draper's self-knowledge Heather Havrilesky investigates, on the occasion of Mad Men's season-six finale and beyond, what its anti-hero Don Draper knows about himself — and, by extension, what Americans can know about themselves. "Despite the faults of the season and the flaws of this particular episode, that last scene where Don showed Sally his wreck of a childhood home felt genuinely moving," Havrilesky writes. "We know how out of character this moment is for Don, and we understand, intuitively, from years of experience in this glorious and deeply flawed country, just how difficult it is to own who you really are in this culture." She continues: "We glorify authenticity as a concept, but actually standing up for what you think is right, and saying what you mean is greeted, nine times out of ten, with awkward silence, or revulsion, or the blast of a fire hose. ... Telling the truth is not a small thing today." The show's creator, Matthew Weiner, is a bit more coy about his intentions for the series, telling The Hollywood Reporter that "other than death, and even in death I don't know that there is that much resolution in [real] life ever anyway and I’m always trying to approximate that on the show."

Enrique Acevedo at ABC News on protecting the U.S. border The costs of a tightly-secured border — often considered a necessary component of immigration reform — run high, argues Enrique Acevedo. "Rather than viewing border enforcement as part of a broader strategy, border enforcement became the only strategy to stop undocumented immigrants from coming across the border. This security-based approach has led to a degradation of the quality of life for once dynamic border communities as well as grave human rights violations." He continues: "Militarizing the border is something enemies would do, not friends and partners. Immigration is an economic issue and it won't be solved by having more armed guards at the front door." The issue is likely to remain in question, even as it heads for a crucial week before the Senate. Pew Research reports that "the public is divided on an issue that has been among the most contentious in Congress — whether border security must be achieved before the process of legalization can go forward."

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