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‘NY Times’ rigs a purported news article to push U.S. escalation in Syria

US Politics
on 12 Comments

Let’s say you are New York Times reporters, and you want to rig an article to help push the U.S. even deeper into the terrible civil war in Syria. As mainstream journalists, you are prohibited from writing an editorial, or an Op-Ed piece.

No problem, as Mark Landler and Mark Mazzetti have just shown. You can get away with writing a slanted opinion piece disguised as a news story, and the Times will put it on Page 1, as the lead article.

The giveaway that the article is hopelessly biased is right in the third paragraph. Landler and Mazzetti note that President Obama’s Syria policy is unchanging, a fact “that frustrates many analysts because they believe that a shift in policy will only come when Mr. Obama leaves office.”

Note the weasel words: “many analysts.” We will learn nowhere in this article that “other analysts” argue persuasively that Obama’s hesitation to add even more fuel to the flames in Syria is the right thing to do.

Next, the Times rigs the actual “analysts.” Their first specimen, Frederic C. Hof, is a retired U.S. army officer who has long promoted American escalation in Syria. They then turn to Andrew J. Tabler, who just recently co-authored a Times Op-ed piece (with Dennis Ross, the pro-Israel former State Department official) that was titled “The Case for (Finally) Bombing Assad.”

Landler and Mazzetti could not find a single expert with an opposing point of view, even though someone like Marc Lynch, the distinguished professor at George Washington University, should not be hard to track down.

The biased Times duo do note in passing that Secretary of State Kerry has been in talks with the Russian foreign minister, trying to reach a cease-fire in Syria, but they barely hide their lack of respect for his efforts to reduce the awful violence.

The Times article did not even take President Obama seriously enough to let him give his side of the story. Landler was actually traveling with Obama in China, but even if he couldn’t get a question in on the presidential plane he might at least have quoted the president’s valuable insight earlier this year in The Atlantic:

There’s a playbook in Washington that presidents are supposed to follow. It’s a playbook that comes out of the foreign policy establishment. And the playbook prescribes responses to different events, and these responses tend to be militarized responses. Where America is directly threatened, the playbook works. But the playbook can also be a trap that can lead to bad decisions. In the midst of an international challenge like Syria you get judged harshly if you don’t follow the playbook, even if there are good reasons why it does not apply.

The otherwise slanted and useless Times article does have one valuable and alarming piece of information. Landler and Mazzetti ignore our actual president, but they do report what Hillary Clinton said about Syria at a private fund-raiser with millionaires “in the Hamptons.”

. . . Mrs. Clinton delivered, unprompted, a lengthy policy prescription for what to do in Syria, including a gentle critique of the Obama administration for not pursuing her original proposal of a no-fly zone. . .

If Mrs. Clinton ever holds a press conference, someone from the Times might ask her why, when the U.S. is already mired in conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Yemen, she wants to escalate in Syria.

James North
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12 Responses

  1. gamal
    gamal
    September 6, 2016, 3:26 pm

    “The Case for (Finally) Bombing Assad.”

    He is just using Syria as a national (human) shield, we must not lose our resolve.

  2. pabelmont
    pabelmont
    September 6, 2016, 3:40 pm

    NYT preparing the way for Hillary? Writers applying for jobs in the new administration or for favorable press-corps spots?

  3. annie
    annie
    September 6, 2016, 3:50 pm

    these guys are following goldberg’s lead. kagan and the team are all waiting on bated breath for hillary to decimate syria. another quote from that article re the ‘washington playbook’ which (i believe) is obama’s euphemism for the neocon/israel dc think tank like winep i wrote about/picked it up (with a few other quotes) in “Goldberg on Obama’s Syria credibility ‘crisis’”: >> http://mondoweiss.net/2016/03/goldberg-does-obama/

    “I’m very proud of this moment,” he told me. “The overwhelming weight of conventional wisdom and the machinery of our national-security apparatus had gone fairly far. The perception was that my credibility was at stake, that America’s credibility was at stake. And so for me to press the pause button at that moment, I knew, would cost me politically. And the fact that I was able to pull back from the immediate pressures and think through in my own mind what was in America’s interest, not only with respect to Syria but also with respect to our democracy, was as tough a decision as I’ve made—and I believe ultimately it was the right decision to make.”

    This was the moment the president believes he finally broke with what he calls, derisively, the “Washington playbook.”

  4. John Douglas
    John Douglas
    September 6, 2016, 6:33 pm

    And why would Dennis Ross and the Washington Foreign Policy establishment want to kill Assad and reduce Syria to the rubble of a failed state? Netanyahu let the cat out of the bag months ago. The Golan Heights will be Israel’s in perpetuity.

    http://www.timesofisrael.com/netanyahu-vows-golan-heights-will-remain-part-of-israel-forever/

    And then, too, there are the defense industry’s lobbyists throughout the Pentagon, State Department, law offices and “Think Tanks”of Washington. And don’t forget CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, FOX and MSNBC.

    Only on the WEB and a few remaining print publications is a side presented that would actually be good for the US and its citizens. Thanks one more time to James North.

    • Kay24
      Kay24
      September 7, 2016, 6:33 am

      Of course. The zionist have a filthy greedy streak for lands, and will say/do anything to get some from the neighbors they have always despised and blamed for all their ills. Just read the comments in that article and you will see how misguided people are, and blaming Islam and demonizing Muslims, while totally ignoring the crimes of the zionists, as if the Devil’s chosen have a right to ill gotten lands.

  5. JLewisDickerson
    JLewisDickerson
    September 7, 2016, 8:01 am

    RE: The otherwise slanted and useless Times article does have one valuable and alarming piece of information. Landler and Mazzetti ignore our actual president, but they do report what Hillary Clinton said about Syria at a private fund-raiser with millionaires “in the Hamptons.”
    . . . Mrs. Clinton delivered, unprompted, a lengthy policy prescription for what to do in Syria, including a gentle critique of the Obama administration for not pursuing her original proposal of a no-fly zone. . .
    ~ North

    MY COMMENT: Scott Ritter addresses Clinton’s proposal for a no-fly zone in Syria in the video below.

    Scott Ritter and Ray McGovern on the Dem Candidates

    Published on Apr 18, 2016
    4/17/2016
    Judson Memorial Church – NYC
    Category – News & Politics
    License – Creative Commons Attribution license (reuse allowed)

    • Tuyzentfloot
      Tuyzentfloot
      September 7, 2016, 5:36 pm

      Interesting video, with some good insights from Scott Ritter. I think he’s going a bit overboard in claiming the Syria uprising was basically violent. It was a spectrum. There was a violent side and there was foreign intervention very early on but there was a major democratically inspired arab-spring component which later became sidelined.

      • CigarGod
        CigarGod
        September 8, 2016, 10:07 am

        “…a major democratically inspired arab-spring component…”

        The Arab-Spring phrase didn’t exist for years yet, when the usa/israel had been busy destabilizing Syria.

      • Tuyzentfloot
        Tuyzentfloot
        September 9, 2016, 3:48 am

        CigarGod: The Arab-Spring phrase didn’t exist for years yet, when the usa/israel had been busy destabilizing Syria.

        No, but what would you conclude from that? That the US/Israel are the driving forces? When the regimes ofTunisia and Egypt fell that provided one hell of a boost to aspirations for change, especially in a bad economical climate. And when it got the mere vocal support of the US, who stated (more or less) Assad had to go the way the others had gone, then that was all that many people needed for an uprising without any need to negotiate. The US is always important, but not in a secretly-pulling-the-strings way. They’ve been important in blocking solutions. They’re important as enablers of their allies. But it would have required a radical change of course for the US to block the Saudis and Turkey from fanning the flames.

    • ritzl
      ritzl
      September 7, 2016, 6:53 pm

      Thanks JLD. Very informative vid. Ritter is great about stressing the same mechanical pattern of “disinformation” tells us intervention is imminent and in process.

      He had the audience (and me) repeating it with him. I really had no idea that it was that mechanical, but it appears to be.

      Tweeted it and one of the #DemExit folks retweeted, so it got some play. Thanks again.

  6. DaBakr
    DaBakr
    September 9, 2016, 5:44 pm

    “You can get away with writing a slanted opinion piece disguised as a news story, and the Times ….”

    you can get away with writing slanted opinion pieces disguised as a news stories almost every month on mondoweiss so the whining is a bit disingenuous.

  7. talknic
    talknic
    September 9, 2016, 8:36 pm

    @ DaBakr

    “you can get away with writing slanted opinion pieces disguised as a news stories almost every month on mondoweiss so the whining is a bit disingenuous”

    The MW slant is towards peace and justice. The NYT, you and your fellows are slanted towards continued injustice on behalf of the vile Zionist Colonization of Palestine. You must be so proud

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