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‘NYT’ runs U.S. propaganda on Russian crimes– without even a comment thread

US Politics
on 13 Comments

Last week the New York Times ran an article titled “Samantha Power: My Friend, the Russian Ambassador,” in which the former US ambassador to the UN described herself as “heartbroken” over the death of Vitaly Churkin, with whom she had worked closely.

First the good part.  I like that Samantha Power recognizes that the late ambassador was doing his job and probably wanted peace:

It is well known that it was Vitaly Churkin who raised his hand six times to veto Syria-related resolutions, but it is less known that it was Vitaly who worked frantically (and in the end futilely) to try to secure enough changes to the drafts that Moscow might support them…

I got the sense that he valued Mr. Putin’s restoration of Russia’s relevance on the global stage, but would have preferred peaceful methods.

This might also be true of Power. Maybe she is consciously or not describing how she sees herself: someone who wants peace but works within the system and covers up or whitewashes the brutal atrocities supported by the government she represents.  This piece might be a kind of absolution Power is granting herself.

But whatever subtext might be there, what is actually on the page is self-serving propaganda. She talks about “countless civilians” killed by Russia in Syria. This is a one-sided and frankly dishonest contrast between Russia and the US. She is right that Russia has killed thousands of civilians (not “countless”,  whatever that means) in Syria. But according to Airwars, which seeks to tabulate the killings by all sides in a thorough manner, the US has killed a lesser but comparable number of civilians in Iraq and Syria.

Our ally the Saudis have killed thousands of civilians in Yemen with our help. The Israelis killed about 1500 civilians in Gaza in 2014 with no condemnation from its prinicipal ally and arms supplier in DC. In all cases, the parties responsible either deny the facts or blame the other side.

So Power is basically describing herself when she both praises and criticizes her late friend the Russian ambassador.

Sometimes — such as when he ludicrously argued that civilians in Aleppo had simply covered themselves in dust to look like bombing victims for photographers — my abhorrence infected our working relationship.

The bigger issue is how the New York Times can justify giving space to a former government official to indulge in such hypocritical propaganda– with little or no likelihood that a detailed response will ever appear in the paper’s pages. There isn’t even a comment thread available on this article by a former official.

I don’t get why liberals tolerate this hypocrisy. Though perhaps this is the function of the New York Times: dishing out pseudo-liberal tripe that reinforces complacency among its readers about the crimes of the people they voted for.

You would like to think it would stop working.  You’d like to think political satirists would turn this kind of piece into an occasion for mockery, so that the readers would wise up.

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Donald Johnson is a regular commenter on this site, as "Donald."

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13 Responses

  1. Maghlawatan
    March 4, 2017, 1:20 pm

    Well there’s no time for doubt right now,
    And less time to explain.
    So get back on your horses,
    Kiss my ring,
    And join our next campaign,

    And the Empire grows
    with the news that we’re winning,
    With more fear to conquer,
    more gold thread for spinning,
    Till it’s bright as the sun,
    Shining on everyone.

  2. HarryLaw
    March 4, 2017, 1:44 pm

    Harold Pinter when accepting his Nobel Prize had a dig at the “exceptional” nation..
    “The crimes of the United States have been systematic, constant, vicious, remorseless, but very few people have actually talked about them,” Mr. Pinter said. “You have to hand it to America. It has exercised a quite clinical manipulation of power worldwide while masquerading as a force for universal good. It’s a brilliant, even witty, highly successful act of hypnosis.”

  3. Danaa
    March 5, 2017, 3:18 am

    Samantha Power is an intellectual and spiritual midget when compared with her betters such as Churkin. Her diatribes in the UN were the object of mirth and derision the world over. especially when she’d go half -cocked against Russia or Syria.

    Also, Donald – Russia absolutely did NOT kill thousands of civilians in Aleppo – that is sheer nonsense worthy only of the propaganda arm of Al-Qaeda such as the illustrious White helmets, and that discredited pathetic SOHR serving as the mouthp[iece of the hotel hopping “Syrian opposition” clowns. Not that the White helmets were not worthy of an oscar just may be in the actor and supporting actor categories.

    Also what was this mention of the US being responsible “only” for thousands of dead civilians in Iraq and Syria? try over a Million and you’ll be closer to the truth. Indeed the entire destruction of Syria – including by the US supported ISIS and al-Nusra (OK, OK, it was behind the scenes, I know) should be laid at the feet of the US and its malicious treasonous CIA. naturally with credit being shared with the most reactionary regime in the world – the great and illustrious Kingdom of saudi Arabia. yes the one whose king just recently took a little vacation with a retinue of 1500 and 150 tons of luggage.

    The great king of kings – our buddy of the guilded age, bathing in the blood of innocents. relishing it too,no doubt. While israel and the CIA are rubbing his back……even as that joker harpy samantha is off peddling her next book – probably something oh so very humanitarian.

    • Donald
      March 5, 2017, 12:33 pm

      On the number killed by the US you make a good point– I was thinking of the number killed by US air strikes in the past few years, which is probably in the thousands based on the Airwars site. The total killed by the US since 2003 is much much higher. I should have been clearer.

      • Danaa
        March 5, 2017, 3:54 pm

        OK. Peace. A start.

        PS hope you didn’t miss my acid tinged keyboard too much.

    • Keith
      March 5, 2017, 3:54 pm

      DANAA- “Her diatribes in the UN were the object of mirth and derision the world over. especially when she’d go half -cocked against Russia or Syria.”

      In spite of that, she appears to be the role model for Nikki Haley.

      • Danaa
        March 5, 2017, 6:36 pm

        Indeed. Alas. It must be the playbook they all have to play by.

        So when was the last time the US had a UN ambassador that was not female? is this also one of the rules?

      • Keith
        March 6, 2017, 12:41 am

        DANAA- “So when was the last time the US had a UN ambassador that was not female?”

        Who better to represent warmongering males than a female? Who better to represent racist whites than a person of color?

  4. iResistDe4iAm
    March 5, 2017, 4:40 am

    “Sometimes — such as when he ludicrously argued that civilians in Aleppo had simply covered themselves in dust to look like bombing victims for photographers — my abhorrence infected our working relationship.”

    Sometimes — the fake victims simply cover themselves in dust.
    Other times — as in the FAKE Rescue video below — the fake victims get fake rescuers to cover them in both dust and debris for added effect…

    Unfortunately, there are too many real victims on both sides of the US/Saudi/Turkish/Qatari/UK/French/Jordanian sponsored war on Syria.

  5. Citizen
    March 5, 2017, 8:22 am

    It’s amazing to me that the NYT, WaPo, Wall St Journal, for example, have any credibility on this issue, not to mention on the subjects of Israel and Wall Street, and The Fed, and Inflation.

  6. gamal
    March 5, 2017, 11:12 am

    “the US has killed a lesser but comparable number of civilians in Iraq and Syria”

    and how many American civilians have the Iraqis and Syrians killed?

    how many cities destroyed?

    or am i missing something? You do know that American invovlement is illegal ( in Iraq ( the invasion of Iraq and installation of a sectarian regime) and Syria and a crime even more heinous than “terrorism”?)

    “in Iraq” well that rather depends from when and how you are counting, since 1990 the toll is put at 4 million conservatively, in Iraq alone, ah sure but then again who’s counting.

    not getting hot about Mosul? all Americans should be compelled to wear a “Mission Accomplished” badge.

    nearly fifty years of continuous war in Iraq 1980-2017, who do you think is responsible?

    • Donald
      March 5, 2017, 12:40 pm

      As I just wrote Dana, that part of my post was poorly written. I was only comparing the death tolls caused by Russian and American air strikes in the past few years as counted by the Airwars site. The total number of deaths caused by US policy in the Mideast is going to be vastly larger.

    • Kay24
      March 6, 2017, 5:37 am

      The numbers killed go into the millions, millions more injured, and millions of refugees.

      We have had pre-emptive wars, decided what kind government they should have, who should be leader of that nation, and have shocked and awed sovereign nations. We must hold the record for killing the most Muslims for the past few decades. Some Americans should stop wondering why the US is hated so much.

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