Sunday, July 8, 2007

Seeing Al Qaeda Around Every Corner - New York Times

Clark Hoyt, the New York Times "Public Editor" -- ombudsman by another name -- spanked the paper, today, for its increasingly sycophantic Iraq War coverage. Many others have noticed that the Times has started parroting uncritically the Administration line on Iraq, a redux of its shameful efforts before the Iraq War in 2003, involving at least one of the same stenographic reporters, Michael Gordon.

Glenn Greenwald, writing at, was less restrained, and named the incompetent Michael Gordon by name:

"The Times -- typically in the form of the gullible and always-government-trusting 'reporting' of Michael Gordon, though not only -- makes this claim over and over, as prominently as possible, often without the slightest questioning, qualification, or doubt. If your only news about Iraq came from The New York Times, you would think that the war in Iraq is now indistinguishable from the initial stage of the war in Afghanistan -- that we are there fighting against the people who hijacked those planes and flew them into our buildings: 'Al Qaeda.'
What is so amazing about this new rhetorical development -- not only from our military, but also from our 'journalists' -- is that, for years, it was too shameless and false even for the Bush administration to use."

Greg Mitchell, writing for Editor & Publisher, is even more pointed than Mr. Greenwald:
"As if he hadn’t done enough damage already, helping to promote the American invasion of Iraq with deeply flawed articles in The New York Times, Michael R. Gordon is now writing scare stories that offer ammunition for the growing chorus of neo-cons calling for a U.S. strike against Iran – his most recent effort appearing just this morning.

What’s most lamentable is that editors at The New York Times, who should have learned their lessons four years ago, are once again serving as enablers."

Mr. Hoyt, a veteran of the former Knight-Ridder Washington bureau, where he was part of one of the few important teams in journalism, which acquitted itself honorably in the run-up to the Iraq War, may have been brought in as Public Editor with the hope that he would make the very criticism he made in the paper today. Seeing Al Qaeda Around Every Corner - New York Times

Mr. Hoyt tactfully avoids mentioning Michael R. Gordon by name, and gives space to quotations from N.Y. Times editors apologizing for their lapses and vaguely promising to do better. But, Mr. Holt concludes with a critical point:

"I’d have been happier still if The Times had helped its readers by doing a deeper job of reporting on the administration’s drive to make Al Qaeda the singular enemy in Iraq."

The difference between stenography and journalism is right there. The difference between sociopathic insiderism and professional integrity is right there.

When the Administration is pushing a particular story-line, the "news" is not the Administration story-line, the "news" is that the Administration is pushing this story-line. To treat it otherwise, is to join the conspiracy to hide the organized campaign to channel propaganda through the news Media.

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