The New York Times: What Passes for Journalism in the Newspaper of Record

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Overall, America’s
major media fails the test. It’s biased, shameless, and irresponsible
with "everything to sell and nothing to tell" as a noted
US media critic once said. It delivers a daily diet of "managed
news" (propaganda), infotainment, and "junk food news,"
a worthless mix, treating people like mushrooms – well-watered,
in the dark, and uninformed about what matters most. No wonder greater
numbers opt out, consuming less broadcast "news" and print
media, the kind no one should waste time or money on.

No paper has
more clout than The New York Times. Media critic Norman Solomon
once called its front page "the most valuable square inches
of media real estate in the USA" – in fact, anywhere because
its reports circulate globally.

In his April
1998 article titled, "All the News Fit to Print (Part I): Structure
and Background of The New York Times," Edward Herman
called The Times "an establishment newspaper,"
serving wealth and power interests, a record dating from 1896 when
the Ochs-Sulzberger family took control. Its agenda "persist(s)
to this day" as two earlier articles explained, accessed through
the following links:

http://sjlendman.blogspot.com/2007/06/record-of-newspaper-of-record.html

http://sjlendman.blogspot.com/2009/11/paid-lying-what-passes-for-major-media.html

For many decades
The Times has had the lead role distorting, censoring, and
suppressing truth, a shameful record:

  • supporting
    the powerful;
  • backing
    corporate interests;
  • endorsing
    imperial wars;
  • ducking
    major issues like government and corporate lawlessness and corruption,
    sham elections, democracy for the select few alone, an unprecedented
    wealth gap, and eroding civil liberties and social benefits; and
  • supporting
    Pentagon and CIA efforts to topple elected governments, assassinate
    independent leaders, prop up friendly dictators, secretly fund
    and train paramilitary death squads, practice sophisticated forms
    of torture, and menace democratic freedoms at home and abroad.

Journalism,
New York Times Style

Predictably,
The Times endorsed Obamacare, a March 21 editorial praising
it, titled "Health Care Reform, at Last," saying:

"The process
was wrenching….Barack Obama put his presidency on the line for
an accomplishment of historic proportions." The editorial called
the law "a triumph for countless Americans who have been victimized
or neglected by their dysfunctional health care system."

In fact, Obamacare
is a shameless rationing scheme to enrich insurers, drug giants,
and large hospital chains. It imposes marketplace solutions, not
vitally needed equitable reform assuring universal coverage, free
from predatory insurers that overcharge and profit by denying care.
No matter. The Times cynically called it "another stone
firmly laid in the foundation of the American Dream….reforms (that)
could ultimately rival Social Security and Medicare in historic
importance." So much for truth.

A July 15 editorial
praised financial reform titled, "Congress Passes Financial
Reform," saying:

It was another
great "victory for Mr. Obama, who has had to fight for every
inch of progress," calling the "new consumer financial
protection bureau established in the bill….a milestone, not only
for its intent and power to rectify lending abuses, but because
it will institutionalize the insight that the safety and soundness
of banks cannot – and should not – be measured by profitability
alone, but by the impact that bank practices ultimately may have
on consumers."

Rubbish about
business-friendly legislation that solidified Wall Street’s dictatorship,
institutionalized casino capitalism, let financial giants operate
freely, gave the privately owned Fed greater powers, and established
a toothless Consumer Financial Protection Bureau with little power
to help anyone. Its head, Elizabeth Warren, is, in fact, a "watchdog"
in name only, chosen because she supports Obama’s policies and will
follow them obediently in office.

More recently,
The Times downplayed the initial WikiLeaks "Afgan War
Diaries" release, then collaborated with White House officials
to sanitize it, clearing what they published in advance, letting
official Washington decide what to print.

Later, The
Times public editor, Arthur Brisbane, answered his critics,
saying the paper had a journalistic and civic duty to review the
material before publishing. In other words, print only what White
House officials judged appropriate, not journalists. Moreover, he
vilified Julian Assange, WikiLeaks founder, calling his character
"sketchy," then adding:

"Whether
or not Julian Assange is a rogue with a political agenda (implying
he is), what matters most is that The Times authenticates
the information."

False! What
matters most is supporting state and corporate power, including
imperial wars for profit and global dominance, the real Times
agenda.

A Times
November 10 editorial titled, "Some Fiscal Reality," endorsed
Obama team’s deficit cutting proposal, a scheme to shift more wealth
to the rich, at the same time foreclosing on working Americans with
higher taxes and fewer benefits, saying:

"The draft
proposal by the chairmen of President Obama’s deficit-reduction
commission was a welcome antidote to the low-minded debate that
dominated the midterm elections," offering "no credible
plans."

"It lays
out sensible principles….It puts everything on the table, including
tax reform" and spending cuts. "At a time when good ideas
are depressingly scarce in the political and economic debate, and
bipartisan agreement even scarcer, this is a commendable start."

It ended saying:

"We (hope)
Republicans (will) pause long enough in their gleeful planning of
President Obama’s final defeat, and the Democrats would stop wringing
their hands, long enough to read this important document –
and then act on it."

On November
26, The Times ran two shameless articles, among others, both
by Randal Archibold, one titled, "Russian TV Kowtows to Kremlin,
Critic Says," saying:

Leonid G. Parfyonov,
a Russian TV and print journalist, "used the occasion of an
awards ceremony to deliver a blistering critique of Russian television,
saying its journalists had bent so completely to the will of the
government that they were ‘not journalists at all but bureaucrats,
following the logic of service and submission."

Regardless
of whether it’s true, the hypocrisy is glaring, a clear pot (The
Times) calling the kettle (Russian television) black example,
and a personal note.

In summer 2008,
I was interviewed on Russian television for 30 commercial free minutes,
discussing America’s Eastern European policies. In fairness, it
was Russian friendly, but I was allowed to speak, uninterrupted,
as freely as I write and air on my radio program, the Progressive
Radio New Hour. Because of my writing, I’m interviewed often, never
on corporate radio or TV for a reason. Truth there is banned the
same as on Times pages.

Archibold’s
second article, titled "Death and Dancing Coexist on Haiti’s
Tense Streets," acknowledged the cholera crisis, then shifted
gears saying:

"Back
in the city (Port-au-Prince), the bustle of life presses on."
Without mentioning desperate conditions for around 1.5 homeless
Haitians, living exposed on streets with practically no aid, he
continued:

"The place
is pregnant with anxiety and sporadic political violence just a
few days from ‘selecting’ of a new president." Perhaps a Freudian
slip, because Sunday’s first round legislative and presidential
"elections" are bogus enough to make a despot blush. An
earlier article explained, accessed through the
following link.

Archibold then
focused on campaign rallies, ignoring the exclusion of 15 political
parties including by far the most popular, Aristide’s Fanmi Lavalas.
He also downplayed friction between UN Blue Helmets (a paramilitary
occupying force Haitians hate and want out), and conveyed the appearance
of normality, when, in fact, conditions are appalling and desperate.
As a result, most Haitians will boycott an election they know is
a sham.

Dancing in
the streets? Perhaps by Haiti’s elites, knowing chosen officials
will benefit them at the expense of ordinary people valued only
to exploit. So much for truth and what passes for "fit to print"
journalism.

Reprinted
with permission from The
People’s Voice
.

November
29, 2010

Stephen
Lendman [send him
mail
] lives in Chicago. Listen to cutting-edge discussions with
distinguished guests on the Progressive
Radio News Hour
on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at
10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs
are archived for easy listening. Visit
his blog
.

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