was so obnoxious about the post-Watergate journalists was their
patent dishonesty. At least James "Scotty" Reston, the
Times legendary Washington bureau chief, never pretended
to be an investigative reporter. The Times has always loved
authority and hacks have always loved the Times for it.
A few years ago a PBS documentary about Reston had the narrator
Diane Sawyer declaring that "Scotty had an entire
nation paying attention to his words." Note the pleasing
image of teacher and pupil!
trouble is the Times has always been more whore than teacher.
Take a few recent examples: A few weeks ago the Times published
an excruciatingly long article about last years bombing
of Sudan. This mission, remember, took place just three days after
Bill Clinton admitted on national tv that he had been lying for
seven months about his relationship with Monica Lewinsky. Instead
of a nerve gas factory the U.S. cruise missiles destroyed a pharmaceuticals
"To Bomb Sudan Plant, or Not: A Year Later, Debates Rankle,"
the article recounts the debates that allegedly took place behind
the scenes just before and just after the bombing.
was typical New York Times stuff: mind-numbing in its tedium,
obsessive in its transmission of trivia and deeply evasive in
its basic message. What the Times failed to mention was
the papers role in peddling U.S. government lies. The Times
accepted without question the cock-and-bull story about the nerve
gas factory and Osama bin Ladens connection with it. Indeed,
so eagerly did the Times lend itself to administration
manipulation that when the Osama bin Laden story came under serious
scrutiny, the Times changed tack. Five days after the bombing,
we learned from the Times that the Sudan bombing was not
about Osama bin Laden at all. It was really all about our old
friend Saddam Hussein. The front page headline said it all: "U.S.
Says Iraq Aided Production of Chemical Weapons in Sudan."
now know what was behind this sudden shift in strategy. Not only
were the Clinton administrations explanations for the bombing
being ridiculed around the world, we learn from the Times
they were under attack from within. The time had come to push
another story. "The United States believes that senior Iraqi
scientists were helping to produce elements of the nerve agent
VX at the factory in the Sudan
" the Times story
begins. The new explanation was as weak as the earlier one. Significantly,
the Times expressed no skepticism about the two conflicting
claims, and did not demand to see evidence for either thesis.
Nor did the Times express outrage at the following revelation
that appeared a little later in the same story: "The U.S
rebuffed calls from the Sudan and other countries to turn over
I dont see what the purpose of
a fact-finding study would be, Peter Burleigh, the deputy
American representative to the United Nations said."
the bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade? In no time at
all, the Times, like every other media outlet, was repeating
the government line: The bombing was an "accident."
Whenever the bombing was mentioned it was always accompanied by
the words "accidental" or "mistaken." The
Times did not know if the bombing was accidental or not.
It was just outraged at the thought that anyone could think ill
of the intentions of the U.S. government.
one at the Times wondered how it was possible that NATOthe
greatest military force in the worldcould have been using
four-year-old paper maps to guide its bombing. No one wondered
how it was possible that the U.S. government did not know where
the Chinese embassy was located. No one at the Times dreamed
of asking the administration to release this ancient "map"
so that we could see for ourselves what it was that the U.S. military
believed they were targeting when they hit the Chinese embassy.
far as the Times was concerned, only paranoid Chinese could
raise unpleasant questions about the bombing. That Chancellor
Gerhard Schroeder was also skeptical, declaring that "the
explanation given by NATO
is far from enough and the Chinese
government has every reason to demand a comprehensive
into the incident and affix the responsibility for it," did
nothing to dent the Times smug outlook.
the highly respected liberal newspaper the Observer of
London announced that as a result of its investigations, it has
concluded that the NATO bombing of the embassy was deliberate.
The U.S. had suspected the Chinese of transmitting Yugoslav army
communications and also of monitoring cruise missile attacks,
thereby helping the Yugoslav government to develop countermeasures
Times has not even deigned to give these extraordinary
charges any coverage. No doubt, when it will cease to be possible
to go on saying "accidental" bombing, the Times
will be on hand to offer us 6000 unreadable words on all the inane
petty infighting that preceded the deliberate bombing of the Chinese
week, Carla del Ponte, chief prosecutor of the U.S.-financed International
Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, announced that after
months of intensive digging in Kosovo, her investigators had exhumed
a grand total of 2108 bodies. This was a pathetic total. Of these
2108, moreover, we do not know how many are Albanian and how many
are Serb. Of the Albanians we do not know whether they were civilians
or KLA fighters. We do not know how they died, or when.
the claims of U.S. Defense Secretary William Cohen and State Dept.
spokesman Jamie Rubin that the number of Albanians killed by the
marauding Serbs was likely to be around 100,000? Remember the
NATO claims just after the end of the bombing that the number
was likely to be 10,000? So where did all the bodies go? Del Ponte
hastened to reassure her masters that the forensic scientists
had only had time to investigate a third of the mass grave sites.
This is a crock. One can be pretty sure that the investigators
pounced on the most likely mass graves first.
point is that there was never a scrap of evidence for any of these
numbers. They were invented to justify the armed aggression against
Yugoslavia. The Times was a fervent advocate of the NATO
campaign and it has gone on repeating this 10,000 number even
though its absurdity had been apparent from the beginning. To
murder 10,000 people over a period of 11 weeks you have to kill
at the rate of 140 a day every day. At that rate it is almost
impossible to dispose of dead bodies. NATO would have found remains
of massacres everywhere. The streets would have been littered
with unburied bodies. They were not. Satellites could have photographed
scenes of massacres. They did not. Once again, the Times
deceived the public. The U.S. government is fortunate to enjoy
the services of a whore that it does not even need to pay.