Sunday, December 11, 2005

More freedom fry journalism from the NYT

Why does the New York Times hate Europe?

In another article about the reaction to Condi Rice's tour of denial in Europe, the newspaper of record goes out of its way again and again to paint public opinion in Europe as reflexively and irrationally anti-American.

The author of the piece, Richard Bernstein, contrasts a polite and accommodating response from the leadership to the wild suspicions of much of the public,
those still inclined to feel that Ms. Rice papered over some specific, nasty truths about the abuse of American power - and, more generally, that the United States is an out-of-control superpower whose abuses are widespread and deeply troubling.
Thankfully, European leaders were too polite to suggest anything of the sort and welcomed Rice's statement, although alas "to welcome a statement is not the same as to be persuaded by it."

But European newspapers were unconscionably harsh. Even center-right Die Welt complained that it wasn't particularly reassuring that America had to swear that it wasn't torturing prisoners.
The paper said this was especially the case at a time when Vice President Dick Cheney continued "actively to advocate the legalization of torture in secret U.S. prisons."
Incredibly, the author of the Times article professes not to be aware of what Die Welt is referring to.
Precisely which activity of Mr. Cheney the German paper was referring to is unclear, possibly the opposition of the Bush administration to legislation proposed by Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, that would make torture illegal, an opposition that has gotten plenty of attention in Europe.
What planet is Mr. Bernstein on? More to the point, does he even read his own newspaper? The Times and virtually every other newspaper in the US have discussed Cheney's advocacy of torture repeatedly and at great length. The editorial board of the Washington Post condemned Cheney for this in unusually harsh language, suggesting that Cheney would find his place in history as the Vice President for Torture. But perhaps they're French.

Rational reasons for skepticism about Rice's mission thus exhausted, Bernstein is forced to look for deeper reasons.
There has always been a segment of public opinion in Europe, most notably on the intellectual left in Britain, that has been angrier at the United States over the years than at American enemies, whether the Sandinistas in Nicaragua (a big part of Mr. Pinter's concern) or, for that matter, Al Qaeda's followers in Iraq who behead kidnapping victims on videotape.

That might explain at least part of the differing reactions in Europe to Ms. Rice's diplomatic visit.

Equating the Sandinistas with Al Qaeda? The Sandinistas were our enemies? Oh, that's right, they were going to invade Harlingen, Texas. And it's not just the left, it's the pansies of the intellectual left. Well, no wonder.

Thus spake the lackey of record. Hail Victory!

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Earlier: How to write propaganda like the New York Times

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