Can Americas economic problems be solved? Is there an end to the deficit, and is the U.S. economy really that bad? In the first part of this week’s Goldstein on Gelt podcast, Doug meets David Leonhardt, Washington bureau chief of The New York Times and author of Heres the Deal: How Washington Can Solve the Deficit and Spur Growth. Find out about Washingtons deficit problem and some possible solutions to Americas economic difficulties by listening to the part of this weeks podcast.
Posts Tagged ‘New York Times’
Originally published at Rubin Reports.
The current conventional wisdom about terrorism, Islamism, and the Middle East is being bent, but not broken, by two events. On one hand, there is the Boston bombing; on the other hand, developments in Syria and to a lesser extent Egypt.
In the Middle East, the misbehavior of Islamist movements is becoming more apparent. In Egypt, there is the repression of the Muslim Brotherhood regime, which may actually intend to create a non-democratic Sharia state! Parallel behavior in the Gaza Strip, Lebanon, Tunisia, and Turkey is under-reported but occasionally surfaces.
The most important single story at the moment, though, is Syria. Basically, the Obama Administration has woken up and recognized what was easily apparent two years ago: They are helping to put radical, anti-American Islamists into power! They are helping to provide them with advanced weapons which might be used for activities other than what is intended!
When the government wakes up it nudges the media to get up also. What is quite startling is the extent to which the mass media is responsive to government policy, at least this government’s policy. I want to explain this carefully in order to be fair.
Take this article in the New York Times, which can be summarized as saying that Islamist rebels’ gains in Syria create a dilemma for the United States. Now this is an article about U.S. policy so naturally it describes how that policy is changing.
Yet at the same time, one wants to ask: Why haven’t the policy consequences of this situation been described continuously in the past? If a big truck is headed straight at you on the highway, might not the media sitting in the front passenger seat shout out a warning? Does it have to wait for the driver to notice and then it can say something?
And even so the diffidence is astonishing. It is good that the newspaper notices that the rebels are largely comprised of, “Political Islamists inspired by the Muslim Brotherhood and others who want an Islamic-influenced legal code.” But why even now one can say “Islamic-influenced?”
For many years they have made it clear that they seek a total Islamic (in their interpretation) state. It is the precise equivalent of describing Chinese Communists more than sixty years ago, as they approached victory in their country’s civil war, as “agrarian reformers.”
This story also parallels the much larger-scale debate about the Boston bombings. There’s a long piece in the New York Times about the Boston bombers. The lead gives the flavor of its argument:
“It was a blow the immigrant boxer could not withstand: after capturing his second consecutive title as the Golden Gloves heavyweight champion of New England in 2010, Tamerlan Anzorovich Tsarnaev, 23, was barred from the national Tournament of Champions because he was not a United States citizen.”
The title of the piece is, “A Battered Dream, Then a Violent Path.” In other words, Tamerlan Tsarnaev was not allowed to win a boxing championship because he wasn’t a U.S. citizen. Blocked by bad treatment from America, he became more Islamic and turned to terrorism.
Of course, it is vital to develop an accurate picture of the terrorists’ background and explain the factors providing a personal motivation. On the other hand, it is something quite different to suggest that if the United States was nicer to Muslims and perhaps gave people citizenship more easily, there would not have been terrorism in Boston.
Why is this fundamentally dishonest in the way it is being presented in most of the public debate? Because the voices enhanced by control over the most powerful microphones focus in on the political theme they want to push, excluding other factors in the context of their topic.
Where to begin? The article includes a photo of the future terrorist as a baby in Dagestan with his parents and his uncle. His uncle is wearing a Russian army uniform. While in the photo he is a baby, the point might still be raised: Isn’t Tamerlan Tsarnaev more a product of Russian than of U.S. conditions? After all, his family was involved in a conflict against the Russian state; he and his brother were largely shaped by that environment. He went back and forth to Russia and took instruction from terrorist groups which had arrived at al-Qaida from that basis.
Jill Abramson, appointed less than two years ago as the first woman executive editor of The New York Times as well being a Jew, apparently has become too uppity for others, no less than the Times’ managing editor Dean Baquet, who stormed out of a meeting with her earlier this month.
Abramson had summoned Baquet to her office to scold him for what she considering less than exciting news coverage, according to the Washington-based Politico website.
Baquet not only burst out of the office in anger, he also did not show up for the daily 4 p.m. editor’s meeting.
Baquet later told Politico he felt “bad” out the temper tantrum, but the website added that Abramson “has become a source of widespread frustration and anxiety within the Times’ newsroom.” Some staffers called her stubborn and difficult to work with.
Baquet insisted after the altercation that he has a good relationship with Abramson, and the whole incident may simply be a tempest in the teapot that could be relegated to the gossip sheets.
Abramson’s presence at the newspaper has not made it any more Jewish and certainly not any more pro-Israel, if not more anti-Israel. Abramson once said that when she grew up in her Jewish home, the Times was the family’s’ “religion.” “If the Times said it, it was the absolute truth,” she said.
That was before the days of Thomas Friedman, and Judi Rudoren.
For the record, the Times covered Abramson’s wedding in its “Style” section in 1981, when she married a man with the very non-Jewish name of Henry Little Griggs III, who was an NBC producer at the time.
It is doubtful that the Times will print a blurb on the spat with Baquet, and on the surface it has little news value.
However, the tension may represent something much deeper and beyond the realm of a personality clash at the Times.
Under Abramson, the newspaper has won four Pulitzer prizes in this month alone, but the bottom line – money – is not as green as it used to be.
Its revenues sank in every quarter the past year, reflecting the dismal state of most newspapers in the day of Internet and Smartphones.
Analysts expect that its earnings for the first quarter of this year will be only 5 cents a share, slightly more than half of what it earned for the same period in 2012.
The day before the Marathon Massacre, the New York Times had scored plaudits for running an op-ed by one of Osama bin Laden’s bodyguards complaining about his hard life in Guantanamo Bay.
On April 14th, the paper of broken record paid 150 bucks to an Al Qaeda member for the opportunity to complain about being force fed during his hunger strike. On April 15th the bombs went off.
The attacks of September 11 introduced a dividing line between awareness and disregard. There was the world of September 10 and the world of September 11. In one world the planes passing in the sky were a minor reminder of our technological prowess. In the other, we were at war.
There was no such clear dividing line when September 11 faded from memory and we returned to a September 10 world. Nor is there an exact date for when we will return to an April 14 world in which it is okay to pay a terrorist in exchange for his propaganda. But if the media has its way, that day can’t come soon enough.
A day after the bombings, the New York Times wrote that a decade without terror had come to an end. But the terror had never stopped or paused. The FBI and local law enforcement had gone on breaking up numerous terror plots to the skepticism and ridicule of the media which accused them of violating Muslim civil rights and manufacturing threats.
Some of those plots seemed laughable. A man setting up a car bomb near a Broadway theater where crowds waiting to see The Lion King musical, kids in tow, were lining up. A plot to detonate bombs in the Grand Central and the Times Square subway stations. Underwear bombers. Shoe bombers. It became fashionable to laugh at them. Silly crazies trying to kill people in ridiculous ways. Almost as silly as trying to hijack planes while armed only with box cutters and then ramming those planes into buildings.
Liberal urbanites stopped breathing sighs of relief every time a terror plot was broken up and turned on law enforcement. There were suspicions that these were just setups. Representatives of Muslim groups complained that law enforcement was taking confused kids and tricking them into terrorist plots that they never could have carried out on their own.
But there was only one way to find out.
Last year the Associated Press won a Pulitzer for its attack on the NYPD’s mosque surveillance program. But that was the April 14 mindset. Now after April 15, the police are once again heroes and any editorials from imprisoned terrorists complaining about the lack of new Harry Potter novels at Gitmo have temporarily been placed on hold. But the police know better than anyone that it will not take very long for them to go from the heroes to the villains. The period of consciousness after April 15 will be much shorter than after September 11.
The long spring in which Americans didn’t have to turn on the news and see bloody body parts everywhere was made possible by the dedicated work of the very people the media spent a decade undermining. The media was undermining them on April 14, but two days later it was acknowledging that the temporary peace brought about by the work of the very people they despised had made their temporary ignorance of terror possible.
We don’t know who perpetrated the Marathon Massacre, but many of the Muslim terrorist plots broken up by the authorities would have been as deadly. And there will be others like them in the future. The one thing we can be certain of is that terrorism as a tactic is here to stay.
While law enforcement pores over the wreckage, the media is examining the political fallout. It is waiting for the time when it will once again be safe to pay terrorists for their propaganda. If the bomber turns out to be anything other than a Muslim terrorist, then they can get into their limos and drive back to that Sunday, April 14, when it was safe to be pro-terrorist. If he turns out to be in any way associated with the right, then they can celebrate hitting propaganda pay dirt. But even if he’s only another Unabomber or even another Bill Ayers, the false spring of April 14 will still beckon.
O’Carroll’s report includes the following passages:
Some of the Times’s anti-BBC leader columns may also come back to haunt Harding in his new job. In 2010, when hostilities between Murdoch and the BBC were at their height over the News Corporation’s bid to take over BSkyB, Harding ran an editorial accusing the corporation’s then director general Mark Thompson of “seeking to gain commercial advantages in league with News Corp’s rivals”.
Harding, who is Jewish, will also have to leave behind the pro-Israeli line of the Times. In a debate at the Jewish Community Centre For London in 2011, Harding said “I am pro-Israel” and that in reporting on the Middle East, “I haven’t found it too hard” because “the Times has been pro-Israel for a long time”. However, he also stressed the need for balanced news reporting and said he was also in favour of a Palestinian state.
The Editor’s Code of Practice (published by the Press Complaints Commission, the ‘independent’ regulatory body in the UK) which all editors and publishers in the UK are required to abide by, contains the following warning in their section on ‘discrimination’:
Details of an individual’s race, colour, religion, sexual orientation, physical or mental illness or disability must be avoided unless genuinely relevant to the story.
Whilst O’Carroll’s contention that Harding will have to leave his “pro-Israeli line” behind now that he’s been appointed news director of the BBC is quite interesting in the context of the Beeb’s coverage of Israel and the Middle East, two particular questions come to mind:
Does O’Carroll’s decision to note that Harding is Jewish in the particular passage cited indicate she has already concluded that his religious affiliation is relevant in that it explains his ‘pro-Israeli’ views?
If that is not what O’Carroll is suggesting, in what other way, per the language in the PCC Editor’s Code, is Harding’s religion relevant to a story about his new position at the BBC?
As I was scrolling down the daily “headlines” sent by The New York Times yesterday, I noticed two interesting ones:
Even the United Nations seems very occupied with problems in the Middle East much greater than anything going on in Israel including my town of Shiloh.
“There will be no food tomorrow,” said Adnan Abu Hasna, a spokesman for the agency, which provides nutrition, education, health and other services to 815,000 Palestinians who are refugees and their descendants, nearly half of Gaza’s population. “The food distribution centers and the relief offices will be closed in the coming days unless there’s a real security being provided to the life of our staff, because there is a great concern about their safety.”
How long will the United Nations support and perpetuate the Arab’s refugee status?
“The needs are rising exponentially, and we are broke,” Marixie Mercado, a spokeswoman for Unicef, told reporters in Geneva. “Across the region, a lot of our operations are going to have to start scaling down unless we get money.”
The warning came as President Bashar al-Assad, in a rare interview with a foreign media outlet, said that if Syria broke up or came under the control of “terrorist forces,” this would immediately spill over into neighboring countries first, and that a domino effect would reach countries across the Middle East.
Shouldn’t the United States, its President Barack Obama and his Cabinet be more concerned about what all the instability mentioned in these articles than what is happening in Israel?
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Reported in the New York Times:
U.N. Agency Suspends Food Aid After Protest in Gaza By JODI RUDOREN The United Nations Relief and Works Agency in the Gaza Strip stopped food distribution and other services for refugees indefinitely, an official said Friday.
What happened was that last Thursday, the agency’s Gaza headquarters was breached:
“What happened today was completely unacceptable: The situation could very easily have resulted in serious injuries to UNRWA staff and to the demonstrators. This escalation, apparently pre-planned, was unwarranted and unprecedented,” Robert Turner, head of the agency’s Gaza operations, said in a statement. “All relief and distribution centers will consequently remain closed until guarantees are given by all relevant groups that UNRWA operations can continue unhindered,” he said.
So, is Israel wrong in its policy since we’re actually targeted by mortars, shootings, rockets, missiles and underground tunnels?
Cannot we demand guarantees?
P.S. Informed that
The hardcopy has this article somewhat buried at the bottom of page A4 under two other articles. Were it Israel–my oh my, it would be on pg 1 and take up half the page.
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