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Thursday, February 24, 2011

The New York Times Op-Ed Rogues Gallery (David G)

From David G:

Here's a very partial list of some of the autocrats and their cronies who have been given op-ed space in the New York Times:

 Land and the Intifada By Yasir Abed Rabbo Published: May 16, 2001 - Spokesman for the PA 
Feb. 3, 2002: The Palestinian Vision of Peace By YASIR ARAFAT - Chairman of the PLO
The Road From Here By ABDULLAH II Published: November 12, 2004 - Monarch of Jordan
What Hamas Wants By AHMED YOUSEF Published: June 20, 2007 - Spokesman for Hamas
Pause for Peace, also by Hamas' AHMED YOUSEF
Land First, Then Peace  By TURKI al-FAISAL Published: September 12, 2009 - Member of the Saudi royal family
A Peace Plan Within Our Grasp  By HOSNI MUBARAK Published: August 31, 2010

And that's in addition to the Qaddafis mentioned yesterday.

One thing is clear: if you oppress your own, your sins are ignored. Your opinion is valued if you promote freedom for the Palestinians.

In an editorial the other day, the editors of the Times wrote:

Bahrain’s brutality is not only at odds with American values, it is a threat to the country’s long-term stability. Washington will need to push harder.

And dictators and terrorists are not at odds with the freedoms that the Times advocates?

In a shameful justification of the paper's decision to run the Yousef op-ed, then public editor Clark Hoyt wrote:

Op-ed pages should be open especially to controversial ideas, because that’s the way a free society decides what’s right and what’s wrong for itself. Good ideas prosper in the sunshine of healthy debate, and the bad ones wither. Left hidden out of sight and unchallenged, the bad ones can grow like poisonous mushrooms.

His confidence was touching, but it's not like the ideas of Yousef would never have gotten a hearing. Reporters always look for good quotes from Hamas. The op-ed page should be saved for opinions that ought to be debated and by people who allow a reasonble amount freedom of expression. (Well, maybe Abdullah II does.) But is burnishing a bad person's reputation by giving him a voice in a presumably respectable venue really honorable?

When the person in question was Henry Blodget - a stock analyst who was convicted of fraud - "healthy debate" wasn't the issue. Blodget's past criminal record was. From Hoyt again:

The bigger question is whether The Times should be publishing him at all. Like Nocera, I believe in second chances, and Blodget seems to be doing fine establishing a new career. But why would The Times give a former analyst who lied to investors a platform to write about financial markets? If he wanted to write about how investors can spot phony reports by analysts, that would be one thing. But each time the newspaper uses Blodget as it has, it is conferring greater expert status on him.

These deals work two ways. The Times’s luster may help Blodget. But some of his taint rubs off on The Times.

A disgraced stock analyst makes the New York Times look bad, but giving terrorists a platform for their lies is just "healthy debate"?

According to the NYT, terrorism and repression are acceptable - as long as you criticize Israel.