Five Best Tuesday Columns
Hadley Freeman remembers L'Wren Scott, Eugene Robinson on why Democrats should play offense on Obamacare, Jack Shafer on media coverage of the missing Malaysia flight, Dee Lockett on how Lupita Nyong'o's Oscar win is paying off, Megan McArdle on the staying power of media startups.
Hadley Freeman at the Guardian remembers L'Wren Scott. "Even among the attention-seeking and glittery hordes in any garden variety fashion show, L'Wren Scott was hard to miss, even while she sought no notice. Of course there was the height, all 1.93m (6ft 4in) of her, which she wore with languid ease, neither stooping nor overplaying it. Her looks were like something out of a fairytale, long after she had quit modelling – all black hair, white skin and red lips," Freeman writes. "Just as her romantic relationship brought her newfound attention in life, so it will do again in death, perhaps even more so. But Scott was a successful designer and stylist in her own right, long before Jagger turned up in her life, and he knew this better than most."
Eugene Robinson at The Washington Post on why Democrats should play offense on Obamacare. “Here is what Democrats should learn from their party’s loss in a special House election in Florida last week: Wishy-washy won’t work. Democrats will be better off if they push back hard — really hard — rather than seek some nonexistent middle ground,” Robinson writes. “The Democratic Party has long taken the position that no one should have to declare bankruptcy because of illness, that no one should have to choose between paying for medicine and paying the mortgage. If Democrats can’t proclaim these beliefs with pride, why on earth are they running?”
Jack Shafer at Reuters on the "over"-coverage of the missing Malaysia Air Flight 370. “Unlike Fox News press reporter Howard Kurtz (“It’s too much with too few facts,” he said last week of the saturation reporting by his former network, CNN), I can handle any “over”-coverage the news machine chooses to throw my way,” Shafer writes. “None of my newly acquired knowledge will serve me in any tangible way. It won’t improve democracy or raise productivity. I doubt that it will even make me a better journalist, although it might make me a better conversationalist. But the story has wedged its way into my consciousness and will persist until somebody locates the Boeing 777 and solves the mystery.” Ben Bland at The Financial Times tweets, “Is it anti-journalism or a limitlessly captivating tale?”
Dee Lockett at Slate on why Lupita Nyong’o’s Oscar win is already paying off. “Despite her sparse acting résumé, she’s reportedly having no trouble finding potential roles to follow her award-winning debut. Shortly before the Academy Awards, Nyong’o met with director J.J. Abrams for talks concerning the female lead role in his upcoming Star Wars: Episode VII, reports the Hollywood Reporter,” Lockett writes. “With so many talented actresses of color routinely overlooked by Hollywood, the concern over Lupita Nyong’o’s own future in film is not without merit. Is it possible that Lupita won’t look back on her résumé in another 15 years only to find a long list of stereotypical supporting roles?”
Megan McArdle at Bloomberg View wonders if media startups have staying power. “You can’t gain much information by looking at the business plans. As Mike Tyson famously said, “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” Fundamentally, the business plan of anyone backing these organizations is (or should be) “take a phenomenally talented person and give them money to hire other very talented people and see what they can do.” In the media space, that’s not a bad business plan,” McArdle writes. “The second-hardest problem they will face is monetizing the traffic they get. There’s a reason so many news organizations are struggling with this. And what makes a great blogger does not necessarily make a great ad salesman or conference promoter.”