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Wednesday, May 14, 2003

The New York Times--the Bill Clinton of this decade

Looking through Slate's political cartoon collection yesterday, I saw many cartoons disparaging the New York Times over the Jayson Blair incident (see yesterday's post All The News That Fits the Agenda for details). As the WSWS pointed out, both the Times and its detractors are raking Blair over the coals, basically for laziness and unprofessionalism, albeit on fairly trivial matters (no wars have been started or stopped because there aren't cow pastures and tobacco fields visible from Jessica Lynch's front porch). Meanwhile, Times' reporter Judith Miller has been actively supporting the administration's after-the-fact justification for war in Iraq with highly dubious third-hand innuendo-laden stories. So, while continually being accused of being part of the so-called "liberal media," its standard bearer even, the Times in reality has been fully supportive of the right-wing agenda. Whether this is their true nature or appeasement I'm not sure, but it definitely reminds me of Bill Clinton. The more Clinton pushed the right-wing agenda: NAFTA, WTO, welfare reform, the Telecommunications Act, etc., the more he was hounded by the right-wing attack dogs. This approach has worked on the media for years--no matter how right-wing it becomes, the Republicans never cease decrying the "liberal" media.

And the Times is at it again today. Here is the conclusion from the main editorial concerning the bombings in Saudi Arabia:

Many in the Western world will always view the tragedy of Sept. 11 as being about America, but to the people who carried it out, the terrorist attack was as much about Saudi Arabia. The United States is a supporting player in the terrorists' own internal political drama, which centers on fundamentalist religion, a grandiose vision of their own role in world affairs and an anger at the Saudi government's alliance with non-Muslim Western nations.

The Bush administration hopes to replace that story with a new one, involving democracy, economic opportunity and liberty. It would begin with a new era in Iraq, the road to peace in Israel and increasing democratization in other Arab nations. Right now, with chaos in Baghdad and foot-dragging by Israel, that path looks treacherous. But it is the best current chance for a way out, toward a future in which suicide attacks on innocent civilians will be understood by Muslims around the world not as a form of political protest, but as utter

You almost have to scream at that last sentence. First, that the Times claims to believe that the Bushies are interested in democracy, economic opportunity (aside from Bechtel and Halliburton) and liberty. And then, continuing the nonsense that suicide attacks are somehow worse than any other attacks. We need to look toward a future in which ANY attacks on innocent civilians will be understood by PEOPLE around the world not as a form of political protest OR LIBERATION OR JUSTIFIABLE REVENGE, but as utter insanity.

And then there is the always bizarre Maureen Dowd, who concludes her Op-Ed with this:

Doing a buddy routine with Rummy yesterday in Washington, as the defense secretary accepted an award, Vice President Dick Cheney was as implacable as ever. "The only way to deal with this threat ultimately is to destroy it," he said.

So destroy it. 

In other words, one of the supposedly liberal columnists for the supposedly liberal "paper of record" accepts our insane vice president's maniacal nonsense and offers him a blank check. And she'll probably get attacked from the right for it.