Five Best Tuesday Columns
Peggy Noonan skewers Chris Christie's NSA defense, David Von Drehle approves Jeff Bezos' purchase of The Washington Post while David Remnick approves of Donald Graham's sale, Doug Glanville criticizes Alex Rodriguez's legacy, and Michael O'Hanlon warns against military cuts.
Peggy Noonan in The Wall Street Journal on Chris Christie's NSA defense Gov. Christie's defense of the NSA's broad surveillance methods, in which he simply cited talking to the widows and orphans of 9/11, is not good enough for Noonan. "Christie’s argument wasn’t even … an argument. It was a manipulation. If you don’t see it his way you don’t know what 9/11 was — you weren’t there, you don’t know how people suffered," she writes. "It seems to me telling that he either doesn’t have a logical argument or doesn’t think he has to make it." Noonan's column defending civil liberties here cut across the aisle, gaining support from libertarians and liberals alike. "Peggy Noonan and I are on the same page. Holy shit this NSA stuff has made some strange bedfellows," tweets David Weiner, editorial director at Digg. "Standing O for @PeggyNoonanNYC please," tweets Huffington Post Live producer James Poulos.
David Von Drehle in Time on Jeff Bezos' purchase of The Washington Post The purchase of the money-draining Post by Amazon's Bezos signals the end of one media era, and could be the beginning of a brighter one, argues the 15-year veteran of the Post. "Arguably, private ownership by a mogul like Bezos offers a more promising future. He will be free to experiment and invest more boldly than a publicly traded corporate parent can," Von Drehle writes. And whether or not the paper can become profitable, Bezos' purchase means that good journalism is not going anywhere. "The fact that people who are able to buy anything still want to buy into journalism is all the proof you need." "The great David Von Drehle on why the Bezos sale represents a strong future for the Post," writes Lynda Robinson, the Post's Local Enterprise/Projects Editor. Matt Murray, Wall Street Journal Deputy Editor in Chief, tweets, "Good take on WaPo deal."
David Remnick in The New Yorker on Donald Graham's sale of The Washington Post Graham was groomed all his life to take over the Post, The New Yorker editor and former Post foreign correspondent writes, but 80 years after the family purchased it, he couldn't bring the paper back to profitability. "Instead, especially with the rise of the Internet and the newspaper crisis that came with it, he became a kind of tragic character: decent, generous, fair-minded, ethical, but unable to reorient the Post." Still, Graham's sale to Bezos solidified that Graham's purpose was not to make money, but to ensure the Post's survival. "What he could not stand to do was break the Post. On Monday afternoon, he sacrificed his family’s ownership in the hopes of saving the thing itself." "Excellent read," writes Dave Smith, managing editor of the International Herald Tribune. "The best piece I have read yet on the sale of the Washington Post," tweets Katherine Haddon, head of AFP Online English Service.
Doug Glanville in The New York Times on Alex Rodriguez's drug suspension Rodriguez used to be measured by his stellar statistics, but after being suspended for using performance-enhancing drugs, his numbers are now tainted. "His quantifiable performance is no longer part of the debate; his numbers have become irrelevant in measuring who he is as a baseball player," writes Glanville, a former major league player. "Alex Rodriguez’s numbers have been hollowed out by his choices. They have become transparent and weightless, like a glass lens that fell off the Hubble telescope tumbling into deep space." Sports columnist Jim Alexander of The Press-Enterprise tweets "Great NYT piece. Doug Glanville gets it," and ESPN radio host Adam Gold writes "Just a fantastic, almost romantic look at A-Rod’s plight from my man @DougGlanville."
Michael O'Hanlon in Politico on the problems of military cuts The former budget analyst in the defense field takes to Politico "to warn against excessive defense cuts in a time of considerable strategic turbulence abroad." These cuts, as proposed in a review of the Defense Department, would limit the U.S. military's capacity for "1 + 2," or the ability to wage one war plus two missions simultaneously. "The cuts are simply too high," writes Army public affairs officer S. Justin Platt. But Phillip Carter, a former Army officer and director of the Military, Veterans and Society Program, tweets that defense cuts could potentially weaken the military, but "not if done smartly."