Five Best Thursday Columns

Emma Brockes on the Beyonce and Solange's crisis control, Gabriel Sherman on why The New York Times fired Jill Abramson, E.J. Dionne on the two GOP establishments: money and money, Charles Blow on the AIDS-shaming on Magic Johnson, Daniel Henninger on the spate of commencement speaker controversies.

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Emma Brockes at the Guardian on Beyoncé and Solange's crisis control. “As it is, the world has been left to decode the post-gala lunge by Solange Knowles at Jay Z from other sources – primarily, she and her sister's accounts on Instagram, the world's foremost wire service for passive aggressively-rendered news. In the old days, evasion came in the form of the content-free press release, used by stars and their agents to neutralize scandal through brain-numbing denial. But the world moves on. No one asks for privacy at this difficult time any more,” Brockes writes. “Part of the exuberant uptake of the story has rested perhaps on the novelty of a celebrity brawl that doesn't involve Alec Baldwin. And the dynamics of this particular drama are, in spite of the fame of the players, recognizable to anyone with a family. It's like a piece of site-specific public theatre called Divided Loyalties.” Matt Sullivan at the Guardian tweets, “.@emmabrockes on Solange-gate: "British people have been doing this sort of thing naturally ... for centuries."

Gabriel Sherman at New York on why The New York Times fired Jill Abramson. “For the past six months, Jill Abramson walked the newsroom like a woman under siege. ‘She was feeling it and was exhausted,’ one close colleague said. Abramson, who is 60, didn’t make it to the midterms. Yesterday, at 2:00 p.m., Arthur Sulzberger Jr. summoned the paper’s senior editors to a meeting on the third floor of the newsroom to inform them that Abramson was being ousted and replaced by her number two, Dean Baquet,” Sherman writes. “As in many matters involving the executive editor of the New York Times, the story is as much about Arthur Sulzberger, Jr. as his employee. Abramson’s problems with Sulzberger began even before she was appointed. Still, it was the cold abruptness of the firing that has the newsroom stunned.” The Montreal Gazette’s Peggy Curran tweets, “More on the complicated ugly firing of @nytimes editor Jill Abramson”.

E.J. Dionne at The Washington Post on the two GOP establishments: money and money. “The language commonly used to describe the battle going on inside the Republican Party is wrong and misleading. The fights this spring are not between ‘the grass roots’ and ‘the establishment’ but between two establishment factions spending vast sums to gain the upper hand,” Dionne writes. “The accounts of Tuesday’s Republican primary in Nebraska for an open U.S. Senate seat are revealing. Ben Sasse, a university president who held a variety of jobs in George W. Bush’s administration, won it handily. His success was broadly taken as a triumph for the tea party, which just a week ago was said to have suffered a defeat in North Carolina. The grass-roots claim becomes more problematic when you consider that Sasse has rather a lot of Washington experience while one of his opponents, former state treasurer Shane Osborn, was the favorite of many Nebraska tea party groups.” Salon’s Jim Newell tweets, “Insightful piece from @ejdionne”.

Charles Blow at The New York Times on the AIDS-shaming of Magic Johnson. “The sheer volume of bile spewing from the mouth of the Clippers owner, Donald Sterling, is staggering. But just as awe-inducing, and stomach-churning, is the unrestrained breadth of its variety, which makes putting the offenses in order — if one were inclined to — nearly impossible. But high on any list — on a par with the racism, sexism, misogyny, paternalistic plantation thinking and bias cloaked in benevolence — has to be Sterling’s attempt to AIDS-shame Magic Johnson,” Blow writes. “Let’s start here: Contracting H.I.V. (or AIDS) is not evidence of a character defect. It is simply a disease and should be treated as such. The way that so many people, like Sterling, seem to separate out and shun people with communicable diseases — particularly sex-related ones —is outrageous and mustn’t be tolerated and glossed over.”

Daniel Henninger at The Wall Street Journal on the spate of commencement speaker controversies. “It's been a long time coming, but America's colleges and universities have finally descended into lunacy. Last month, Brandeis University banned Somali-born feminist Ayaan Hirsi Ali as its commencement speaker, purporting that ‘Ms. Hirsi Ali's record of anti-Islam statements’ violates Brandeis's ‘core values.’ On Monday, Smith announced the withdrawal of Christine Lagarde, the French head of the International Monetary Fund. On Tuesday, Haverford College's graduating intellectuals forced commencement speaker Robert J. Birgeneau to withdraw,” Henninger writes. “Here's the short explanation: You're all conservatives now. No one could possibly count the compromises of intellectual honesty made on American campuses to reach this point. It is fantastic that the liberal former head of Berkeley should have to sign a Maoist self-criticism to be able to speak at Haverford. Meet America's Red Guards.”

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