The NYT Veers Neocon

Many American progressives don't want
to recognize how bad the U.S. mainstream news media has become. It's
easier to praise a few exceptions to the rule and to hope that some
pendulum will swing than to undertake the challenging task of building a
new and honest media infrastructure.

But the hard reality is that the U.S. news media is getting
worse, with now both premier national newspapers - the New York Times
and the Washington Post - decidedly sliding into the neocon camp, where
the likes of the Wall Street Journal have long resided.

For the Post, this may
already be an old story, given its enthusiastic cheerleading for the
Iraq War. The Times, however, was a somewhat different story. Yes, it
did let Judith Miller and other staff writers promote the fictions
about Iraq's WMD, but it hadn't sunk to the depths of the Post.

That is now changing as
the Times - behind executive editor Bill Keller and editorial page
editor Andrew Rosenthal - tosses aside all pretense of objectivity in
the cause of seeking "regime change" in Iran, today's top priority for
the neoconservatives.

At, we
have noted this trend for some months, not only in the New York Times
opinion section but in its news columns where Iran's alleged interest
in acquiring a nuclear weapon is trumpeted incessantly (despite its
denial of such a desire), while rogue nuclear states in the region
(such as Israel, Pakistan and India) are given a pass. [See, for
example, "US
Media Replays Iraq Fiasco in Iran

This Sunday, the Times'
bias was on display again in the lead editorial entitled, "New
Think and Old Weapons
," which purported to examine the state of
nuclear weapons in the world.

Fitting with the Times'
deepening neocon tendencies, Iran's nuclear weapons (even though they
don't exist) were a major topic, while the rogue nuclear states of
Israel, Pakistan and India (which have refused to sign the Nuclear
Non-Proliferation Treaty) weren't mentioned.

So, you had formulations
like this: "Iran, North Korea and others have seemingly unquenchable
nuclear appetites" and the need to "bolster American credibility ... to
rein in Iran, North Korea and other proliferators." In all, there were
four such references to North Korea and Iran, but no specific
references to Israel, Pakistan and India.

The Times also observed
that China was "the only major nuclear power adding to its arsenal
[which] is estimated to have 100 to 200 warheads." There was no mention
of Israel, which is believed to possess one of the most sophisticated
nuclear arsenals in the world, totaling some 200 or more devices.

Ironically, the Times
editorial also cited problems of "hypocrisy and double standards" and
noted that the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty was "battered."

The Times did not seem at
all embarrassed by its own hypocrisy and double standards. Nor did it
bother to note that one of the key reasons this "bedrock" treaty is in
trouble is that non-signatories - like Israel, Pakistan and India -
have built nukes, often with a wink and a nod from Washington.

As neocon propagandists
pursue their goal of riling up the American public against some new
foreign threat, that effort requires highlighting certain facts (and
even fictions). But the propagandists equally must make sure that many
inconvenient truths are conveniently forgotten. Otherwise the alleged
threat might not seem all that unusual or threatening.

So, in the world of
neocon propaganda, Iran - a treaty signatory that has no nuclear
weapons and insists its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes - must
be endlessly badgered, but Israel - an undeclared rogue nuclear state
with a vast arsenal - must be shielded from similar criticism and

That the New York Times
has now embraced these neocon biases, almost with the ardor of the
Washington Post, is a serious development for the U.S. news media and
for the nation.

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