You’re reading the Today’s Opinions newsletter. Sign up to get it in your inbox.
The story has a happy ending; President Ronald Reagan and his counterpart, Mikhail Gorbachev, had enough goodwill to negotiate the journalist’s release.
Now, a similarly innocent American journalist is locked up — but Russia’s leadership looks very different. Taubman worries that for Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, “the road to resolution promises to be grueling.”
Next: A story of espionage in the United States that might be more farce than thriller. Glenn Fine, former inspector general of the Justice Department, tells the story of Robert Hanssen, “the most damaging spy in FBI history.”
Hanssen was working for the Soviets, but he wasn’t some super agent, “clever and crafty.” Rather, in a 25-year career, he benefited from the FBI’s incredibly lax internal security.
This story’s echo is in the Discord leaker, who got away with equally reckless crimes. That story should prompt the same reinforcement of security that followed Hanssen’s detection, Fine writes.
Chaser: The Cold War isn’t the only conflict resonating right now. Historian Evan Thomas writes that the atomic bomb saved many lives in World War II — but we must never use it again.
To India, with lecturing
India’s democracy needs strengthening; the Editorial Board and contributing columnist Barkha Dutt are on the same page there. But that’s about where the agreement stops.
Let’s set the scene. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has pushed his country increasingly toward Hindu nationalism. He has censored media that criticizes him, curbed democracy education and started writing India’s sizable Muslim population out of textbooks.
The Board presents a stark example: All India’s students know about the Taj Mahal, but millions might know nothing about the Muslim Mughals who constructed it.
“India’s schoolchildren and its democracy,” the Board writes, “are worse for it.”
But what if they’re even worse for the Board’s chiming in?
Barkha’s column is a rebuttal to all the “polite rebukes from Western governments and strident editorials by Western media” she regularly encounters. She says that the more the United States — no beacon of democracy itself at the moment — criticizes, the more India will bristle and close “ranks against ‘outsiders.’”
India’s fixes, she writes, must come from within.
Chaser: Contributing columnist Rokhaya Diallo points to France as another country uncomfortable with Islam. How the country treated its Muslim athletes this Ramadan underlined it, she writes.
From labor economy professor Emily Nix’s op-ed explaining that many women stay in abusive relationships because they can’t afford to leave.
Using data from Finland, Nix and her colleagues found that many women experience a financial downturn immediately upon entering a relationship that turns out to be abusive, whether that’s through having their money controlled by their abuser, being undermined at work or being otherwise restricted.
But Nix’s research finds that the converse is true, too: Money can help get women out of abusive relationships. “Giving victims of domestic violence the resources to restore financial independence and walk away might be one of the best ways we can help,” she writes.
Tucker Carlson is out at Fox News. Perhaps he, too, can be replaced by Maya Rudolph?
Unlike the M&M “spokescandies” that Carlson briefly got sidelined, he seems unlikely to return to his former perch. That’s because, as contributing columnist Jim Geraghty presciently noted last week, Fox News’s big payout to Dominion Voting Systems marks the end of the era of the “loose-cannon host.”
Cable news networks, Geraghty argues, aren’t waking up to their duty to truth or fairness. They’re simply worried about payouts, and they’re realizing that “a slightly less bombastic host … looks like the better deal in the long run.”
Meanwhile, it’s not just Carlson, or even Fox News; Monday also saw CNN’s ouster of Don Lemon, who had made misogynistic comments on air.
Chaser: What, specifically, did Carlson do to merit this? Let media columnist Erik Wemple count the ways.
- The death penalty isn’t even really about death anymore, columnist Jason Willick writes. It’s about politics.
- House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s debt ceiling plan is theater unworthy of a high school gym, columnist E.J. Dionne writes.
- Columnist Ruth Marcus breathed a sigh of relief over the Supreme Court’s decision to keep mifepristone available for the time being.
It’s a goodbye. It’s a haiku. It’s … The Bye-Ku.
A Muslim palace?
No way! Next you’ll be saying
Slaves built the White House
Have your own newsy haiku? Email it to me, along with any questions/comments/ambiguities. See you tomorrow!