New York Times v. North Korea

The Times is America’s unofficial ministry of information and propaganda. Daily managed news misinformation is featured.

Articles, commentaries and editorials are brazenly one-sided. Readers are systematically lied to. Fiction substitutes for facts. Information is carefully filtered. Dissent is marginalized.

When America goes to war or plans one, Times editors, correspondents and contributors march in lockstep. Independent leaders are denigrated. Democrats are called despots.

Rule of law principles don’t matter. Democratic values are ignored. Imperial wars are called liberating ones. Mass murder, destruction and human misery go unreported. What’s most important isn’t explained.

Wealth, power and privilege alone matter. Wrong over right is endorsed. Patriotism means supporting what demands condemnation. America uber alles matters most.

The Times features hostile North Korean coverage. It’s done so for decades. It’s biased and irresponsible. Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il were vilified. So is Kim Jong Un. An April 13 report called him “young and defiant.”

Nonexistent threats are headlined. Truth is turned on its head. Readers are systematically misinformed. They’re lied to. It’s longstanding Times policy. News most fit to print is omitted.

On April 12, the Times headlined “In Focus: North Korea’s Nuclear Threats.”

“What exactly is North Korea threatening to do,” it asked? It “issu(es) near-daily threats against the United States and South Korea, and sometimes at United States forces in the Pacific.”

Irresponsibly deploying them there goes unmentioned. America’s imperial agenda isn’t discussed. Its global footprint gets short shrift. Its permanent war agenda isn’t explained.

Former US diplomat Charles Freeman commented earlier on Washington’s war on terror. “How can we win,” he asked? America’s “enem(ies are) so ill-understood that we must invent a nonexistent ideology” for justification, he said.

Not according to Times editors. Iran is Exhibit A. So is North Korea. They’re the two remaining components of Bush’s “axis of evil.”

Times editors make sure readers don’t forget. “In one of the boldest warnings,” they claimed, “the North said it could carry out pre-emptive nuclear strikes against the United States.”

“(W)hether nuclear-tipped or not, (s)ome of its missiles could hit South Korea or Japan and American forces there….”

“Why is North Korea threatening the United States now? Because” more sanctions followed its February nuclear test, the Times claimed. It also “ratchets up its political speech during joint United States-South Korea military exercises….”

It has every right to do so. They include war games. They target the North. Simulated nuclear bombs were dropped. Imagine US and other Western responses if North Korea, Iran, Russia or China held similar exercises off America’s east, west, or gulf coasts. Doing so might be considered an act of war.

“What might North Korea be trying to accomplish with its threats?” Earlier, Washington and South Korea promised “concessions, including much-needed aid, in return for” Pyongyang denuclearizing.

US commitments aren’t worth the paper they’re written on. Promises made are broken. Times editors accused North Korea of “reneg(ing).” They lied saying so.

“Highlighting a perceived threat from abroad (is a) favorite tool the North Korean government uses to ensure internal cohesion in an impoverished country” needing aid.

North Korea wants normalized relations. It’s wanted them for decades. Washington spurned efforts every time. Pyongyang’s more valuable as an enemy. It’s hyped threat is nonexistent. Times editors don’t explain.

“What kind of nuclear weapons and missile technology does North Korea possess?”

“North Korea has conducted three nuclear tests since 2006.” It has every right to do so. America conducts its own. They go unreported. Doing so belies Obama’s claim about “seek(ing) a nuclear-free world.”

America’s the only nation risking nuclear armageddon. It unilaterally asserts a preemptive first strike nuclear policy. It claims the right to do so against nuclear or non-nuclear states. Enemies Washington invents are targeted.

Jeremi Suri’s hardline, militant and irresponsible. He calls power “essential.” He’s University of Texas, Austin, Professor of history and public affairs.Times editors gave him featured op-ed space. He took full advantage.

He headlined “Bomb North Korea, Before It’s Too Late,” saying:

“SINCE February, the North Korean government has followed one threatening move with another. The spiral began with an underground nuclear test.”

“Then the North declared the armistice that ended the Korean War invalid. The young dictator Kim Jong-un followed with a flurry of threats to attack civilian targets in South Korea, Japan and the United States.”

“President Obama should state clearly and forthrightly that this is an act of self-defense in response to explicit threats from North Korea and clear evidence of a prepared weapon.”

“If North Korea can use its small nuclear arsenal to blackmail the region with impunity, why shouldn’t the mullahs in Tehran try to do the same?”

“The most prudent move is to eliminate the most imminent threat in self-defense….(This) kind of pre-emptive action….would save lives and maybe even preserve the uneasy peace on the Korean Peninsula.”

It’s hard imagining responsible editors publishing this type commentary. It’s unprincipled, reckless, and inflammatory. It justifies imperial aggression. It violates international, constitutional, and US statute laws doing so.

Attacking North Korea risks global war. It risks nuclear armageddon. It risks what responsible editors should condemn. Don’t expect the Timeseditorial board to explain.

A Final Comment

Robert Parry called NYT columnist Tom Friedman’s commentaries “disastrous.” He “paid no career price for his misguided judgments and simplistic nostrums.”

He supported Bush’s Iraq war. He’s unconcerned about imperial aggression. He suggests America’s “designated enemies” border on insanity.

On April 6, he headlined “How We’ve Wasted Our Timeout,” saying:

Wherever “you turn, you see different actors standing with their toes on red lines, seemingly ready and willing, even itching, to cross them at any moment.”

North Korea’s “boy king, Kim Jong Un, who seems totally off the grid, has ordered his strategic rocket forces to be on standby, ready to hit US and South Korean targets at a moment’s notice.”

Iran heads “closer to a similar combination of a homemade nuclear weapon and delivery system, and so far no sanctions have deterred Tehran.”

“….Syria’s mad leader, Bashar al-Assad, (chose) ruin for his country.”

University of Texas, Austin, Professor of Journalism Robert Jensen calls Friedman “scary.” He features “underinflated insights,” “twisted metaphors,” “second-rate thinking,” “third-rate writing,” and “hack journalis(m).”

What’s most concerning is his political and professional acclaim. His Times columns appear twice weekly. He’s won three Pulitzer Prizes. His books are best-sellers. He’s featured on US television. He “fills lecture halls for a speaking fee as high as $75,000.”

“Although his work is stunningly shallow and narcissistic, (he’s) celebrated as a big thinker.”

“How does a journalist with a track record of bad predictions and a penchant for superficial analysis – a person paid to reflect about the world yet who seems to lack the capacity for critical self-reflection – end up being treated as an oracle?”

He’s perfect “for a management-focused, advertising-saturated, dumbed-down, imperial culture that doesn’t want to come to terms with the systemic and structural reasons for its decline.”

He avoids speaking truth to power. He’s not alone. Times’ pages are strewn with likeminded columnists.

What’s most important goes unreported. It’s longstanding Times policy. Imperial priorities matter most.

Savvy readers and viewers are best served by choosing credible alternative sources. Maybe some day everyone will.

Getting reliable information depends on it. Imagine the difference that would make. World peace would be possible. And a whole lot more.