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Catch-22 at the New York Times

By Arianna Huffington

Rarely has so much been riding on a single article. But the Times finds itself facing a vexing Catch-22. In order to quell the rising newsroom rebellion, it needs to produce an article that tells the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth about what Bill Keller called Miller's "entanglement with the White House leak investigation." But how can it do that without going against its own unwavering editorial line in support of Miller?


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Huffington asks, "So which way will it go? Will the Times save its journalistic soul by coming clean or will it serve up a mushy bowl of Judy-shielding pablum to avoid contradicting its editorial stance so far?"

My question is, after years of NYT self-degrading irrelevance to actual journalism, does anyone really care what it does now.

In case anyone may think that the NYT case represents a new or unusual journalistic phenomenon, it's anything but that. John Pilger has written a good article on the subject with some historical perspective. Here are some brief quotes:

When journalists report propaganda instead of the truth, the consequences can be catastrophic - as one largely forgotten instance demonstrates.

"The propagandist's purpose," wrote Aldous Huxley, "is to make one set of people forget that certain other sets of people are human." The British, who invented modern war propaganda and inspired Joseph Goebbels, were specialists in the field. At the height of the slaughter known as the First World War, the prime minister, David Lloyd George, confided to C P Scott, editor of the Manchester Guardian: "If people really knew [the truth], the war would be stopped tomorrow. But of course they don't know, and can't know."

What has changed?

"If we had all known then what we know now," said the New York Times on 24 August, "the invasion [of Iraq] would have been stopped by a popular outcry." The admission was saying, in effect, that powerful newspapers, like powerful broadcasting organisations, had betrayed their readers and viewers and listeners by not finding out - by amplifying the lies of Bush and Blair instead of challenging and exposing them. The direct consequences were a criminal invasion called "Shock and Awe" and the dehumanising of a whole nation.


When will important journalists cease to be establishment managers and analyse and confront the critical part they play in the violence of rapacious governments? An anniversary provides an opportunity. Forty years ago this month, Major General Suharto began a seizure of power in Indonesia by unleashing a wave of killings that the CIA described as "the worst mass murders of the second half of the 20th century". Much of this episode was never reported and remains secret. None of the reports of recent terror attacks against tourists in Bali mentioned the fact that near the major hotels were the mass graves of some of an estimated 80,000 people killed by mobs orchestrated by Suharto and backed by the American and British governments.


[I]t was in the field of propaganda, of "managing" the media and eradicating the victims from people's memory in the west, that the British shone. British intelligence officers outlined how the British press and the BBC could be manipulated. "Treatment will need to be subtle," they wrote, "eg, a) all activities should be strictly unattributable, b) British [government] participation or co-operation should be carefully concealed." To achieve this, the Foreign Office opened a branch of its Information Research Department (IRD) in Singapore.

The IRD was a top-secret, cold war propaganda unit headed by Norman Reddaway, one of Her Majesty's most experienced liars. Reddaway and his colleagues manipulated the "embedded" press and the BBC so expertly that he boasted to Gilchrist in a secret message that the fake story he had promoted - that a communist takeover was imminent in Indonesia - "went all over the world and back again". He described how an experienced Sunday newspaper journalist agreed "to give exactly your angle on events in his article . . . ie, that this was a kid-glove coup without butchery".

If you didn't know about or have forgotten the true history of that bellicose Anglo-American adventure and its accompanying journalistic manipulation you can read the rest of the story, here.

"I fear for my country when I realize God is just."

I sure hope there's enough good that's come out of this nation to balance the bad.


Yesterday’s Presidential coached “photo-op

It has no credibility left at all and should close down. The good editors like Krugman and Keller, need to start their own newspaper businesses and let the Times fade away into nothingness.

The New York Times has permanently tarnished its image. Its readership is the lowest in the nation now, and nobody cares about it, nobody wants to care about it.

Let it fade away with the blood on its hands that Dana Milbank and Judith Miller brought to the usual suspects. Nothing new.

Doug Eldritch

That was a sick response. The world should be appalled

"Shock and Awe" is losing your best friend to a war based on diseased lies and deceptions caused by sheer murderers who have no moral compass whatsoever.......

"Shock and Awe" is even getting up in the morning, letting them get away with it at all.

Doug E.

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