Birds of a feather

“There is no way around it: if you read the NYT on the Middle East,
you cannot be treated as a serious person. And more importantly, you
need to realize that it is precisely because you continue to read the
NYT no matter what it prints that it can get away with turning itself
into a massive propaganda campaign to promote mass murder.”

http://thesaifhouse.wordpress.com/2009/01/15/birds-of-a-feather/

Birds of a feather

Posted by saifedean on January 15, 2009

Yesterday, Osama Bin Ladin was not the only fundamentalist calling for
murder of civilians as a means to achieving political ends.  He had
good company on The NY Times Op-Ed page in Tom Friedman and Jeffrey
Goldberg
. Glenn Greenwald reads the NY Times so I don’t have to:

Tom Friedman, one of the nation’s leading propagandists for the Iraq
War
and a vigorous supporter of all of Israel’s wars, has a column
today in The New York Times explaining and praising the Israeli attack
on Gaza.  For the sake of robust and diverse debate (for which our
Liberal Media is so well known), Friedman’s column today appears
alongside an Op-Ed from The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg, one of the
nation’s leading (and most deceitful) propagandists for the Iraq War
and a vigorous supporter of all of Israel’s wars, who explains that
Hamas is incorrigibly hateful and radical and cannot be negotiated
with.  One can hardly imagine a more compelling exhibit demonstrating
the complete lack of accountability in the “journalism” profession —
at least for those who are loyal establishment spokespeople who
reflexively cheer on wars — than a leading Op-Ed page presenting these
two war advocates, of all people, as experts, of all things, on the
joys and glories of the latest Middle East war.

In any event, Friedman’s column today is uncharacteristically and
refreshingly honest.  He explains that the 2006 Israeli invasion and
bombing of Lebanon was, contrary to conventional wisdom, a great
success.  To make this case, Friedman acknowledges that the deaths of
innocent Lebanese civilians was not an unfortunate and undesirable
by-product of that war, but rather, was a vital aspect of the Israeli
strategy — the centerpiece, actually, of teaching Lebanese civilians a
lesson they would not soon forget:

The war strategy which Friedman is heralding — what he explicitly
describes with euphemism-free candor as “exacting enough pain on
civilians” in order to teach them a lesson — is about as definitive of
a war crime as it gets.  It also happens to be the classic, textbook
definition of “terrorism.”

Jeffrey Goldberg (an Israeli military officer who boasts of torturing
Palestinians) is then given space to call for more Palestinian murder,
making Friedman (and Bin Ladin) look reasonable in comparison.

FAIR asks us to wonder what would be the reaction if a Muslim
newspaper wrote such a report advocating the murder of Israeli or
American civilians to achieve their political goals.  I can guess: the
NYT would write a feature about how this illustrates how the average
Arab is a bloodthirsty savage, how there is no good journalism in the
Arab World, and how those barbarians need to be bombed and invaded in
order to civilize them.

The NYT has really outdone itself with its horrific coverage of
Israel’s war on Gaza.  They continue to insist Hamas violated the
six-month cease-fire even though their own reporting (and the Israeli
Shabak) clearly demonstrates that it was Israel who did. Even CNN has
come to admit this, but not the NYT.  Ethan Bronner continues to hit
new lows for NYT’s Mideast reporting (which is no mean feat).  Bronner
has been far more favorable to Israel than its Foreign Ministry
spokesmen, and his cold-blooded indifference to the murder of
civilians now verges on schadenfreude.

It is impossible to overestimate just how depraved, criminal and wrong
the NYT’s coverage of Palestine/Israel is.  Perhaps this report by If
Americans Knew
might shed some light, as would this study by Pat
O’Connor.  Jerome Slater has found that Israeli newspapers are far
better in their reporting of the conflict than the NYT (which, let’s
remember, isn’t saying much.) But all of this barely scratches the
surface of the constant barrage of Israeli propaganda masquerading as
“reporting” and the opinion and editorial pieces that have become
nothing but an elaborate and carefully constructed campaign to make
the murder of Palestinian civilians popular and convince Americans to
continue to bankroll it and support it diplomatically.

But what is really shocking for me is not that this rag would sink to
these lows, it is that sane and intelligent adults actually still read
it and take it seriously. Even people who realize how depraved their
coverage is will continue to read it because it is ‘The Paper of
Record’, and “you have to read the NYT”.  The real perverse thing here
is that it is precisely because of people who continue to “have to
read the NYT” that the NYT continues to be treated as “The Paper of
Record” and that gives it complete license to print all the racist
criminal hysteria it pleases, knowing it has a pliant readership
who’ll believe whatever it prints, and will never stop reading it.

There is no way around it: if you read the NYT on the Middle East, you
cannot be treated as a serious person. And more importantly, you need
to realize that it is precisely because you continue to read the NYT
no matter what it prints that it can get away with turning itself into
a massive propaganda campaign to promote mass murder.

[Links and references are available here:
http://thesaifhouse.wordpress.com/2009/01/15/birds-of-a-feather/]
Posted in Militarism and Foreign Policy