Trending Topics:

The Times discovers ‘the best interests of the American people’ in the Russia case

Media Analysis

New York Times columnist David Leonhardt discusses the burning question, the Trump campaign’s sinister “friendliness” with Russia in 2016, and offers a theory:

Top Trump officials understood that they were doing something wrong. Perhaps they were trying to help their campaign with tactics they understood were wrong. Or perhaps they were working to advance the interests of a foreign power, because of financial entanglements between those officials — maybe including Trump — and Russia. These officials, and others who were aware of the entanglements, then lied about the contacts. In that case, [Brookings legal expert Susan] Hennessey explains, “the decision making at the top of the executive branch is not in any meaningful way being guided by the best interests of the American people.”

Anyone reading this has to ask, Is supporting Israel right or wrong in the best interests of the American people? No. Supporting the Saudi bombing of Yemen, with such horrific consequences to civilians? No. Invading Iraq and causing hundreds of thousands of deaths, to which the Times gave full-throated backing? Of course not. Plus various domestic issues where clearly it is the interests of rich donors that matter, not the people.
What counts as scandal to the New York Times? In one element of collusion with the Russians that is documented: Trump security aide Michael Flynn talked to Russian diplomats to urge them to support Israel against President Obama at the U.N. Security Council in December 2016. (They did not comply.) In that case, Trump officials were patently “working to advance the interests of a foreign power,” Israel.
There is of course no mention of that Russian angle by Leonhardt, even as it is hard to discern any case where the Trump administration has deferred to Russian interests in the Middle East today. Israel is pretty much out of the picture again, after a very brief limited appearance with the story about Flynn.
Phil Weiss and Donald Johnson

Phil Weiss and Donald Johnson are NY writers and regular contributors to this site

Other posts by .

Posted In:

7 Responses

  1. Boris on January 10, 2018, 3:48 pm

    Is it just possible that supporting Israel IS in the interest of this country?

    Obviously, it is not in the interest of Russia – they voted against Israel in the Securities Council.

    Does not that also mean that Obama was colluding with Russia against American interests?

    • Donald on January 10, 2018, 4:20 pm

      Although we used it here, I am actually not comfortable with the phrase “American interests”. Whose interests? Rich Americans have different interests from others, at least in some cases. And obviously some Americans have an interest in Israel, for better or worse.

      But if the NYT is going to use the phrase, it is on them to explain how Russiagate is different from a lot of other sleazy things that happen.

    • annie on January 10, 2018, 4:34 pm

      Is it just possible that supporting Israel IS in the interest of this country?

      no. israel has one of the worst reputations on the planet. for the US to align itself so closely and seamlessly with an apartheid pariah nation is not in the best interest of the nation. that’s a no brainer. and it’s something the american people should have a choice about, but we don’t.

      plus, the hypocrisy of the press, making this all about trump collaborating with russia, that when the news breaks trump&co were appealing to russia at the request of the israeli government, the press is totally silent — because israel is sacrosanct!

      and, why aren’t you asking ‘Is it just possible that supporting Saudi Arabia IS in the interest of this country?’. why? was invading iraq in the interest of the country? why?

      but this:

      they were working to advance the interests of a foreign power, because of financial entanglements between those official

      it’s worth asking! but if you said it about israel, with the largests FP lobby in the country, it’s anti semitic! btw, did you read the nyt kersher/israel/30million profit story? what do you think of that?

      • Citizen on January 10, 2018, 5:19 pm

        Not to mention that the cost of everything is a subject of big conflict discussed in the news, e.g., the wall–at a mere $18 Billion– less than half of merely the latest $38 Billion gifted to Israel. Per capita, Jewish Israelis get a free check from US taxpayers of at least $600 per year.

    • RoHa on January 10, 2018, 5:44 pm

      I think it is pretty obvious that supporting Israel could be in the interest of Israel. But, if by “this country” you mean some other country than Israel, you will have to tell us which country before I can give an opinion.

    • JosephA on January 11, 2018, 1:33 am


      I need to get some popcorn ready for when Boris the circus clown writes his wonderful ideas!

  2. RoHa on January 10, 2018, 5:46 pm

    Misleading headline again, Phil, though the first sentence does clear up the confusion.

Leave a Reply