Thursday, March 08, 2007


The New York Times runs its own foreign policy campaign

It seemed during the run up to the Iraq war that the invasion was led not by troops but by the drumbeat of New York Times articles. There was a sort of "mea culpa" long after the articles had their effect and after things had already started to go very wrong with the occupation. Public sentiment had switched against the war before the Times moved to admit, partially, their role in it all.

They're off again, creating a special "New York Times" version of foreign policy, with today's coverage of President Bush's visit to South America.

Before Iraq was in the Times' crosshairs. Now it's Iran, and of course Bush Administration policy against Venezuela's democratically elected leader Hugo Chavez. And again, the New York Times is taking the lead, softening up the public for Bush moves to follow.

I was stunned to read in today's Times article, Visit by Bush Fires Up Latins’ Debate Over Socialism
President Bush has portrayed his trip to Latin America this week as a “We Care” tour aimed at dispelling perceptions that he has neglected his southern neighbors.

But fresh graffiti on streets here in São Paulo, where he landed Thursday night for his first stop, calls him a murderer. The smattering of protests and the placement of military vehicles around the city, South America’s largest, also present an alternate interpretation of his visit: as a clash between the open capitalism that Mr. Bush espouses and the socialist approach pushed by leftist leaders who have grown in power and popularity.
The "smattering of protests" and "graffiti" are in contrast with other news reports. For example, CNN's report today, Bush faces widespread opposition in Latin America reported a much more serious protest:
On Thursday, police and protesters clashed in Sao Paulo, Brazil, hours before Bush arrived Thursday evening, The Associated Press reported. No protesters were visible on Bush's route to the city from the airport, but earlier about 6,000 people gathered for a largely peaceful march against Bush, the AP said.

Riot police fired tear gas at protesters, sending hundreds fleeing and ducking into businesses to avoid the gas, the AP said. Several protesters said police beat them, according to the news agency.
The Los Angeles Times also noticed much more than just graffiti on the streets. In their story, In Sao Paulo, Bush greeted by thousands of protesters they wrote:
As President Bush flew here aboard Air Force One on Thursday, thousands of protesters shouting, "Out Bush!" marched down this city's main drag, Avenida Paulista.

Hundreds of riot police flanked at least 6,000 protesters near the city financial center, and the scent of tear gas hovered along the march route. At least three protesters and a news photographer were reported hurt as baton-wielding police and protesters clashed, but there was no immediate word on their condition. Authorities later said that 16 police officers suffered minor injuries.
Of course, the Times would not want to be accused of distorting the news. The very last paragraph of their story, if you got that far, does indeed report on a bit of actual unrest in Sao Paulo:
Later, the Brazilian news media reported that police officers used tear gas and batons on protesters who were throwing rocks and struggling with the officers, sending hundreds of demonstrators running through the streets of São Paulo. There were no major injuries reported.
Got that? Only "hundreds of demonstrators."

You figure out what's going on. Not in Sao Paulo, that's clear from other stories. I mean, what's going on with the New York Times.


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