by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley
Like its corporate media cousins, the New York Times uses the global refugee crisis to spread propaganda on behalf of the U.S. government, which created the crisis in the first place. The Times scrupulously omits the facts of U.S. complicity in destroying the displaced people’s homelands, while pretending to empathize with the refugee’s plight. It is journalism in service of Power, not Truth.
“Instead of facts we get a gruesome tale of brutality without context.”
The New York Times is called the newspaper of record for good reason. It chronicles what the powerful and well-connected think and do and it is able to because it colludes with them on a regular basis. The Times can boast of some good reporting, but it generally falls short when asked to take on the task of scrutinizing United States foreign policy.
It isn’t difficult to tell what justifications the Obama administration, or any other for that matter, wants to use for taking actions around the world. A quick perusal of the Times usually reveals what presidents and secretaries of state want to have revealed. If president George W. Bush makes the case for invading Iraq, so do the pages of the Times. If the Obama administration wants to look hawkish in an election season Times reporters are called upon for the selective leaking of news about a kill list. This back and forth between solid reporting and genuflection is confusing but discernment is crucial.
There are refugees all over the world but their circumstances weren’t deemed worthy of mention by American corporate media until people began knocking on Europe’s door. Millions from the Middle East and Africa are poised to risk life and limb to cross the Mediterranean from Libya or Syria, and in so doing they make white nations and their citizens very nervous.
“If the Obama administration wants to look hawkish in an election season Times reporters are called upon for the selective leaking of news about a kill list.”
The New York Times has embarked on an effort to put its resources behind covering the refugee crisis. It is a subject worthy of investigation but if the reporting omits America’s responsibility for creating the misery the work is fraudulent.
As part of series called “The Displaced” the New York Times magazine featured the stories of three children from Ukraine, Syria and South Sudan. People in all three of these nations are displaced, maimed or dead because of American machinations. Instead of explaining these facts to its readers, America’s role is either omitted or falsified. Readers are left with worthless misinformation despite their intention to be well informed.
The New York Times explanation for Ukraine’s troubles always followed the White House line. The story of a boy living in the ruins of his home is described with these words. “Hastily formed separatist militias, goaded and armed by Moscow, rose up in a rebellion against a new, pro-Western government in Kiev.” The new pro-western government would never have taken power in 2014 if the United States had not been an accomplice against the former elected president. As for being goaded by Moscow, the people of Donetsk and Lugansk have close ties to Russia and didn’t want to be part of the American backed regime. That regime is also responsible for the death toll and is the biggest obstacle to peace in the region.
“Selective omission perpetrates false narratives about Russia and about the United States, too.”
The selective omission perpetrates false narratives about Russia and about the United States, too. Of course it would be difficult for the Times to suddenly confess to its role in the government’s propaganda war. It is hard to stop lying after one starts.
Nine million Syrians have been displaced since the United States and its allies attempted regime change in 2011. These people seek refuge within Syria and in neighboring nations like Jordan and Turkey. Their catastrophe can be laid directly at the United States. Yet there is no mention of this fact at all. Instead there is a rehash of the discredited official narrative.
“The protest movement started in Syria in 2011, with the uprising of citizens opposing President Bashar al-Assad’s oppressive government. By the following year, occupied with the uprising elsewhere, Assad’s security forces started withdrawing from rural pockets of Hasaka, the province where Hana’s family lived, and parts of the area quickly felt unsafe: Roaming armed gangs, whose loyalties were not always clear, were extorting farmers, like Hana’s father, for the right to farm their own land. Hana’s family began to hear about clashes between the Sunni Arab opposition and the government.”
The Sunni opposition and armed gangs did not appear out of thin air. They were acting under the direction of the United States, Turkey and Saudi Arabia. The young girl in the Times story would be living safely in her home were it not for their intervention.
“South Sudan has oil and the United States has made sure that it is anything but independent.”
American evil doing in Sudan gets less attention but has been going on far longer than interventions in Ukraine or Syria. Along with Israel, the United States thwarted Sudan’s effort to remain whole. The break-up of the nation into two countries, Sudan and South Sudan was the result of years of American and Israeli plotting. South Sudan has oil and the United States has made sure that it is anything but independent. A power struggle and yet another disastrous intervention by Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni has produced a predictable trail of death. Museveni is America’s hit man in the region and the boy whose tragic story is told is one of millions of his victims. Instead of facts we get a gruesome tale of brutality without context. The falsehoods are particularly dangerous to African people because they are made to look like brutes when they have co-conspirators in Washington and Jerusalem.
There are countless ways in which Americans are fed lies and are then encouraged to support aggression and atrocities. Displaced persons deserve to have their stories told. They should not be used to make American criminality easier to commit but that is what the New York Times has done. Of course, that is what the corporate media have always done. Reporting events accurately ought to be their goal. But instead keeping powerful people happy is what they do best.
Margaret Kimberley’s Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR, and is widely reprinted elsewhere. She maintains a frequently updated blog as well as at http://freedomrider.blogspot.com. Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgendaReport.com.