The NY Times has Duranty's Syndrome on Islam

Once they lauded Stalin, now they love Qaradawi.

Giulio Meotti,

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giulio meott
צילום: עצמי

Pulitzer Prize winner,  Bret Stephens, in the Wall Street Journal highlighted a gap in the investigative journalism of the New York Times:

“An Israeli heavyweight judoka named Or Sasson defeated an Egyptian opponent named Islam El Shehaby Friday in a first-round match at the Rio Olympics. The Egyptian refused to shake his opponent’s extended hand, earning boos from the crowd. Mr. Sasson went on to win a bronze medal. If you want the short answer for why the Arab world is sliding into the abyss, look no further than this little incident. It did itself in chiefly through its long-abiding and all-consuming hatred of Israel, and of Jews. That’s not a point you will find in a long article about the Arab crackup by Scott Anderson in last weekend’s New York Times magazine, where hatred of Israel is treated like sand in Arabia—a given of the landscape”.

David French in the National Review also explains that “the role of Islam is minimized by the New York Times”. Reading Anderson’s investigation, it seems that the recent history of the Middle East is only a succession of betrayed hopes, neo-colonialism, ethnic fault lines, migrations. No mention of radical Islam and its project of conquest.

The long essay by Anderson is just one example of what William McGowan, winner of a National Press Club Award, in a book titled “Gray Lady Down” (Encounter Books), called “the decline and fall of the New York Times”, the bible of liberal intelligentsia, the object of worship of American journalism.

The New York Times was immediately ready to back Obama’s efforts of a “rapprochement with the Islamic world”, by drawing attention to the speech in Cairo in June 2009 modeled on cultural relativism and political correctness. Not once has Obama spelled the words “Islamic extremism” or “jihadism”. Yet Obama’s speech on Islam was music to the ears of the Times, which in an editorial titled “The Cairo Speech” magnified the naiveté of Obama.

During the seizure of power by the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt in 2011, the New York Times published op-eds of apologists of the Muslim Brotherhood, such as Tariq Ramadan and Essam El Errian. Let us not forget the praise that Neil MacFarquhar of the New York Times in an article he wrote about the Islamic veil. Or those enthusiastic over the project (failed) to build a mosque at Ground Zero.


An imam ridiculed by Charlie Hebdo triggers self-censorship at the New York Times, while a Pope made of condoms? No, that’s “art”.
In an article by David D. Kirkpatrick published on February 18, 2011, the Times portrayed the spiritual leader of the Brotherhood, Yusuf Qaradawi, as “committed to pluralism and democracy”. Kirkpatrick also wrote that “the scholars who have examined his work say that Sheikh Qaradawi has always argued that Islamic law supports the idea of ​​a pluralistic civil democracy”.

 Alice in Wonderland?

Qaradawi is a virulent anti-Semite who asked Allah to wipe out the Jewish people. Moreover, the Qatari imam has worked to undermine the democratic principle of freedom of speech and to defend the Iranian fatwa that called for the death of Salman Rushdie, alsopromoting a “day of rage” against Muhammad cartoons printed in Denmark. Qaradawi also defended the practice of female genital mutilation and Muslim teachings that call for the death penalty for those who leave Islam.

On Islam and freedom of expression, the New York Times has adopted a blatant double standard. In January 2015, the Times censored the cover of Charlie Hebdo, the one printed after the massacre with Muhammad in tears with the sign “Je Suis Charlie”. A decision justified by the editor, Dean Baquet, who said that “the images of the Prophet offend Muslims”. Quite different from the treatment given by the American newspaper to Pope Benedict XVI and the Catholic faithful. A few months after Charlie Hebdo, the New York Times published the work of the artist Niki Johnson, titled “Eggs Benedict” and exhibited at the Milwaukee Art Museum: seventeen thousand different colored condoms that make up the face of the Pope Emeritus, Joseph Ratzinger. An imam ridiculed by Charlie Hebdo triggers self-censorship at the New York Times, while a Pope made of condoms? No, that’s “art”.

Reportage by the New York Times from the Islamic world are often grotesque. Take “What Iran’s Jews Say” written by Roger Cohen, a Jewish columnist for the New York Times, where he praises the peaceful life that the Jewish community in Iran leads through “interviews” with the leaders of this community. An article reproduced with great vividness and charm by the organ of the regime of the ayatollahs, Tehran Times.

When Hassan Rouhani was elected Iranian president, the New York Times’ correspondents from Tehran could not contain their excitement and in the articles that followed hailed Rouhani as “reformist” and “pragmatic”.  

The New York Times supported the nuclear deal between Iran and the United States with unsigned editorials such as “A safer world, thanks to the Iran deal”. It is the same New York Times that, contrary to all the evidence, said for weeks that al Qaeda had nothing to do with the terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya, where Ambassador Christopher Stevens was killed with three other Americans (Sean Smith, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods), but that it was the fault of a harmless “Islamophobic” video which had provoked the wrath of Muslims. “There is no evidence that al-Qaeda or other international terrorist groups have played a role in the assault”, the New York Times wrote.

The animosity of the Times towards Israel is sinister. During the Third Intifada, the newspaper’s headlines described Palestinian Arab terrorists as Israel’s victims and often indulged in a shameful moral equivalence. The Foreign Press Association in Israel had admitted that Hamas intimidated foreign journalists during the last war in Gaza in 2014. But the correspondent of the New York Times from Jerusalem, Jodi Rudoren, responded in a tweet that she was not aware of journalists harassed: “Nonsense”, wrote Judoren.  

The fawning of the Times when it comes to dictatorships is an old story. Herbert Matthews of the New York Times silenced many Communist crimes in the Spanish Civil War, such as the massacres of thousands of priests and Catholic nuns. After the Second World War, the New York Times sent Matthews to Cuba, where he praised the Gulag of Fidel Castro, calling him as a leader who “has strong ideas of liberty, democracy, social justice”.

And how can we forget Walter Duranty, the Moscow correspondent of the New York Times in the ‘30s, who deliberately silenced the persecution of six million peasants by Stalin. Duranty called these reports “exaggerations” or “malicious propaganda”, or even “pure nonsense”. These articles gained Duranty a Pulitzer “for fairness” and also the gratitude of Stalin, who said him: “You really did a good job here”.

Oh yes, they always do a very good job!




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