The Big Stories We Covered This Week

Mario Anzuoni / Reuters
Editor’s Note: This article previously appeared in a different format as part of The Atlantic’s Notes section, retired in 2021.

All Eyes on Panama, the World

On Sunday, a group of news organizations published “a massive trove of leaked documents they say reveal corruption and questionable business dealings of world leaders, politicians, sports stars, and others,” Marina reported. The fallout from the leaked Panama Papers continued throughout the week, and Krishnadev looked at reactions in China, Iceland, Argentina, the U.K., and Russia.

Marina also covered why Panama is a tax haven, while David took a close look at the law firm involved, Mossack Fonseca. Bouree examined how authorities should react. But Brooke Harrington pinpointed “the real scandal”—that “most of what Mossack Fonseca and the rest of the wealth-management industry do is perfectly legal.”

Rounding out our coverage of the scandal, Adam pointed out that the Panama Papers included “the names of nearly three dozen individuals or companies that have been sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury Department”; Weston noted how the files “show how [Nevada] has become a favored destination rivaling the Cayman Islands and Switzerland”; and Joe investigated whether shell companies are “useful for people who aren’t ludicrously rich.”

Battle of the Fittest

Tuesday was the Wisconsin primary, where Ted Cruz and Bernie Sanders emerged the victors. David writes that while Cruz still trails behind Donald Trump in the delegate count, his win “makes it harder for Trump to reach the magic threshold of 1,237 delegates he needs to clinch the nomination.”

On the Democratic front, as Sanders and Hillary Clinton sparred over their presidential qualifications, a new PRRI / The Atlantic poll shows that Sanders “erases Hillary Clinton’s lead.” But whether Sanders wins or loses the nomination, Ron Brownstein argues, he’s already sparked change within the Democratic Party.

Over at the U.S. Supreme Court, the eight justices unanimously upheld the “one person, one vote” principle for drawing legislative districts in Evenwel v. Abbott. Garrett Epps explains “how a challenge to legislative redistricting backfired.”

See Ya, Seacrest

It ain’t over ‘til the whole country sings: American Idol said goodbye after a 15-year run. Conor reflected on the show’s beginnings “less than a year after 9/11, when a singer with big dreams had no obvious way to get heard.” And Tara Seetharam discussed how the show changed criticism: it “came of age as the Internet was helping to break down the divide between commentators and fans.”

Some other television reviews and commentary from our Culture section this week: Megan on the second season of Amazon’s Catastrophe, David on Hulu’s The Path, David and Lenika on the latest episode of AMC’s The Walking Dead, and a group conversation on The People v. O.J. Simpson.

Oh, Brother

Big brother, that is. As part of our ongoing liberty in the information age series, Sarah Jeong looked at “how a cashless society could embolden big brother.” Kaveh covered new research suggesting people censor themselves on the internet for fear the government is listening. (He also examined at “how big data harms poor communities.”)

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