Consistancy, as I like to say here, is only a virtue if you’re not a total screwup. Bruce Bawer has a note today over at Pajamas Media that reminds us that the New York Times has been fairly consistant in it’s anti-American slant. In this case, the main topic is The Times and it’s slant on the resugence of radical Islam and the threat it represents to the west. But, says Bawer, they’ve been making small of threats against the west for years, now. Decades, in fact.
First case in point: Walter Duranty, the Times’s Moscow correspondent during much of the Stalin era. The celebrated British author Malcolm Muggeridge once commented that “no one…followed the Party Line as assiduously” as Duranty did; Tim Rutten, in a 2003 Los Angeles Times article, called Duranty “an active agent of Soviet propaganda and disinformation – probably paid, certainly blackmailed, altogether willing.” Author of a novel, One Life, One Kopeck (1937), that was pure Communist cant and a non-fiction book, The Kremlin and the People (1941), that another old Moscow hand, Louis Fischer, described as a “Song of Praise” for Stalin, Duranty was an unswerving Kremlin apologist: he praised a 1932 law that forbade peasants to leave their collective farms, insisted (to Trotsky’s consternation) that the false confessions extracted at Stalin’s show trials were true, and condemned the Berlin Airlift. It was Duranty who coined the term “Stalinism” and who, rationalizing Stalin’s brutality, first said “You can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs.” Duranty claimed to want to bring about “Russian-American…understanding” â€” which is to say that he used the word “understanding” in exactly the same way that it’s often used now vis-Ã -vis Islam. (What’s being encouraged, of course, isn’t understanding at all but its opposite â€” a determination not to understand, see, or acknowledge certain facts. In the 1930s, Britons who were desperate to avoid war with the Nazis also spoke about “understanding” in this way – refusing to recognize that there are some things that, once properly understood, must be actively resisted and destroyed.)
Duranty’s position afforded him immense power to shape the American public’s image of the Soviet Union. As Muggeridge biographer Ian Hunter put it in 2003, Duranty was “the most influential foreign correspondent in Russia,” a man whose articles were “regarded as authoritative” and “helped to shape U.S. foreign policy.” While Stalin was shipping people to the Gulag, Duranty’s rosy dispatches were taken by many American leftists as confirmation that the USSR was indeed a veritable workers’ paradise.
Billy Beck, call your office. I can just picture Billy sittting down in the Hollow, smiling and nodding. But of course Duranty isn’t the only thing going on in this short glimpse of the History of The Times. he points their Polyanna-ish coverage of Castro, and to the Khmer Rouge, and to Hitler, as well:
Not only did the Times give America a fraudulent picture of the Soviet Union in the 1930s; its coverage of the Holocaust in the next decade suggests a determination both to maintain an appearance of impartiality and to preserve an illusion that Hitler’s regime was not as monstrous as it really was. Hitler’s destruction of the Jews was so blatantly evil that to write about it in a civilized and responsible manner meant taking sides; but that was apparently too much for the Times to ask of itself.
I would add that Anthony Lewis was an apolist for Mugabe as well… and the Times has yet to really tell the truth of what’s going on down there, just now. Too ugly, one supposes.
The Times as of yet is unrepentant; they still hold Duranty’s Pulitzer, for example, which is as well, given the quality of the work that has been assocaited with that award in recent years, hasn’t gotten much better than that of Duranty himself.
I suggest the same kind of slant, however, occurs at CNN/NBC/CBS/ABC, etc, and to a lesser degree, Fox… and that mostly because of relationships with such dictators as there are have not been around for very long; eventually, I suspect, that situation will change to the worse for them as well.
The central issue of course, is the idea that telling both sides of the story as if they were equal, in the cases mentioned and so many more, is in itself, bias. And that’s what my commentary, here is building to. The truth, you see, never is neutral. It ALWAYS takes sides. What I’ve listed here are but a few of the examples where neutrality is itself bias. Or, where, “not to decide is to decide.” Irony abounds; the very reason that they consider themselves unbiased is the reason that they’re bias, and in many cases, the cause of it. More, there is a lack of counterbalance against this bias, because of the longstanding claim of a lack of bias.