Wednesday, August 21, 2002

Comrade Horowitz and his Right-Wing Fellow-Travellers Channel the Spirit of Mickey Kaus...and Fail Miserably

A few days ago, DH launched into a predictable tirade against the NY Times:

    The irresponsibility of the Times can be traced to events that happened a generation ago during the war in Vietnam. In particular, its editors should have been found guilty of violating the Espionage Act when they leaked the Pentagon Papers during the Nixon Administration. Instead they and their political allies succeeded in toppling a President in the midst of not one, but two wars (Vietnam and the Middle East) with deadly consequences for millions of people.

Now, aside from the sheer absurdity of Horowitz accusing the NYT of violating the Espionage Act (if you don't already realize the hilarious irony of this charge, just look here and here), let's focus on this issue. Indeed, Comrade Dave has been on the front lines of the reactionary right's campaign to portray the NYT as deliberately working to sabatoge the Bush administration's plans for invading Iraq. Fortunately, Josh Marshall has just provided a succinct demolition of this canard:

    Now another point: when I talked with Kurtz yesterday for his article I said I thought the Times was doing a good thing by reporting on all the downsides of going to war with Iraq. Frankly, no one else is. Tucker Carlson got himself in an embarrassing moment yesterday on Crossfire when he got out-argued by the editor of the Village Voice on this Kissinger question. But recently he's been saying that elected Democrats have abdicated their responsibility by basically sitting out the debate over Iraq policy. And on this I'm sad to say I think he's right. By and large they're just not saying anything. That's too bad. Because the Democrats could help themselves and their country by outlining a policy for regime change which is not as amateurish and ill-considered as the one the administration is currently pursuing.

Although I disagree with Marshall on this last sentence, I think his overall point is valid. How does pointing out the (very real) dangers of invading Iraq constitute "bias"? How is accurately reflecting the opinion of Henry Kissinger, who clearly opposes an imminent regime change in Iraq, an example of "partisan journalism"? Again, here's Marshall:

    If you read the Kissinger piece and the Times article and you understand the terms of the debate you cannot help but conclude that the Times characterization of what Kissinger said is vastly more accurate than the characterization being peddled by conservative Iraq-hawks. In the Iraq debate, the attitude toward inspections is fundamental. The administration line -- emanating from the Pentagon and the Office of the Vice President -- doesn't believe in them at all. Neither tactically nor strategically. The fact that Kissinger says we should start by "propos[ing] a stringent inspection system that achieves substantial transparency of Iraqi institutions" makes him, by definition, a critic of administration policy on a fundamental point.

    What you have here is the fun-house episode in which Charles Krauthammer and others are tendentiously misconstruing what Kissinger said and then simultaneously falsely accusing Times writers of doing what he has in fact himself just done.

    At the end of the day, Kissinger dissents from Bush's policy while Krauthammer says he supports it. If there's a contest for distortions here Krauthammer wins easily.

If David the ex-Red and his right-wing comrades are going to convince the public that the New York Times is a nefarious propaganda organ for all the Fifth Column "Hussein apologists", they'll have to come up with better material than this tripe.

No comments:

Post a Comment