Five Best Monday Columns
Tony Blair on the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide, Zachary Fine on why millennials find it hard to speak up, Marwan Bishara on CNN's 'infotainment' strategy and how it's affecting journalism, Jonathan Cohn sees another sign that Obamacare is working, Will Saletan on the firing of Mozilla's Brendan Eich and the new Moral Majority.
Tony Blair at the Guardian on the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide. “In July 1994 Rwanda was a shell of a nation. Some 800,000 people had been killed, over 300 lives lost every hour for the 100 days of the genocide, and millions more displaced from their homes. This year, as Rwanda marks the 20th commemoration of the genocide, it is remarkable to see the progress the country has made,” Blair writes. “We should remember the lives that were lost. We should recognise that this government undertook, and continues to undertake, a historic exercise in nation-building. And we should stand with them as they write the next chapter in their history.” But not everyone was happy with Blair’s column. Foreign correspondent Ian Birrell tweets, “Revolting: Blair lauds his pal Paul Kagame while brushing aside atrocities in DRC & ignoring human rights abuses.” Actor David Schneider tweets, “I honestly don't know what's right about Syria but my hunch is always to go with the opposite of what Tony Blair thinks.”
Zachary Fine at The New York Times on why millennials find it hard to speak up. “Critics of the millennial generation, of which I am a member, consistently use terms like “apathetic,” “lazy” and “narcissistic” to explain our tendency to be less civically and politically engaged. But what these critics seem to be missing is that many millennials are plagued not so much by apathy as by indecision. And it’s not surprising: Pluralism has been a large influence on our upbringing,” Fine writes. “How does the ethos of pluralism inside universities impinge on each student’s ability to make qualitative judgments outside of the classroom, in spaces of work, play, politics or even love? We millennials often seek refuge from the pluralist storm in that crawlspace provided by the expression “I don’t know.”
Marwan Bishara at Al Jazeera on how CNN’s ‘infotainment’ strategy is affecting journalism. “CNN took off with the Malaysian airliner's disappearance, and still hasn't landed. It has been flying high in the ratings for its unrelenting coverage of the mystery of "Malaysia Airlines Flight 370". And it has been widely ridiculed for it. But before you laugh, it's worth considering if CNN is onto something here. At least commercially,” Bishara writes. “In a world swamped with new and social media, where people have instant access to news, hard and soft, the "airliner mystery" coverage demonstrates how CNN under Zucker's leadership is trying to survive the "cable news" era that it once spearheaded, through a combination of information and drama, or "infodrama", in addition to its infotainment. And it's working.” DAI’s Greta Greathouse tweets, “Thank you AJEnglish for talking about this! The mystery of CNN 2014”.
Jonathan Cohn at the New Republic on another sign that Obamacare is working. “It's impossible to say how big an impact the Affordable Care Act is having on the uninsured. But it's getting impossible to deny that it's having an impact at all. According to Gallup, the percentage of non-elderly adults without health insurance has been falling since the middle of last year. Now, Gallup says, it's down to 15.6 percent. That's the lowest rate that Gallup has recorded since late 2008,” Cohn writes. “These tracking surveys on the uninsured are far from precise. Nobody should treat them as gospel. It seems pretty clear that, because of Obamacare, more people have health insurance. The question is how big a difference the law is making.” The Commonwealth Fund’s Barry Scholl tweets, “Looks like lowest in 5 years. @CitizenCohn: Uninsured rate down again. Latest sign of Obamacare impact.”
Will Saletan at Slate on the firing of Mozilla’s Brendan Eich and the new Moral Majority. “Many self-styled liberals are celebrating Brendan Eich’s resignation as CEO of Mozilla. That’s the argument: Each company has a right—indeed, it has a market-driven obligation—to make hiring and firing decisions based on “values” and “community standards.” The argument should sound familiar. It has been used for decades to justify antigay workplace discrimination,” Saletan writes. “It used to be social conservatives who stood for the idea that companies could and should fire employees based on the “values” and “community standards” of their “employees, business partners and customers.” Now it’s liberals. Or, rather, it’s people on the left who, in their exhilaration at finally wielding corporate power, have forgotten what liberalism is.”