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Biased “Journalism” as Seen by Joe Morris

November 18, 2018

“J” Schools, indeed the entire “Left University” system of Progressives who dominate American higher education, are responsible for lack of objectivity and adversarial reporting of today’s media. For that reason, many no longer watch CNN or look for alternatives to the Washington Post and The New York Times. Immediately after the election of 2016, President-Elect Trump took aim at biased reporting. And yesterday, a Chicago conservative Republican, Joe Morris, took time to analyze biased “journalism” at the New York Times.  

Here is his analysis. 

The lead story on the front page of The New York Times this morning announces, under the gleeful subhead “A  PROBLEM  FOR  TRUMP”, that CIA briefers have told Congressional that the agency has concluded that Prince Mohammed Bin Salman (“MBS”), the Saudi Crown Prince, ordered the killing of Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018.  You will find the NYT article linked and set forth below.

I offer a few observations:

(1)  Under Executive Editor Dean Baquet, and as advocated by Media Columnist James Rutenberg, The New York Times has abandoned objectivity in news coverage and now sees itself as an advocacy organ whose first priority is opposition to the unacceptable presence of Donald Trump on the national scene.  On this proposition:

A summary of the controversy appeared in a column in mid-August of this year by Michael Goodwin in the New York Post. 

You will find it linked here:

Mr. Goodwin cites (and links to) a pivotal op / ed essay by James Rutenberg, theTimes‘s Media Columnist, of August 7, 2016, in The New York Times, which is here:

and quotes Dean Baquet, the Executive Editor of The New York Times, as embracing the Rutenberg imperative.

Controversy soon erupted after the Rutenberg essay appeared, and it has continued in both academic and journalistic circles.  Here, for example, is a piece addressing some of my concerns that appeared in the Claremont Review of Books in 2017, written by William Voegeli (who earned the Ph.D. in political science at Loyola University Chicago): 

Not only all editorials and columns, but all purported news reports, appearing in The New York Times must therefore be analyzed through critical lenses.  Put otherwise, based on the NYT’s openly-declared change in its mission, nothing that appears in The New York Times can be accepted at face value and must be assessed as a species, not of journalism, but of partisan advocacy.

(2)  The underlying story of the Khashoggi murder, if true, represents a gross violation of human rights and of international legal norms reaching and tainting the highest levels of the Saudi government.

(3)  Anything the C.I.A. tells Congress will almost certainly be leaked. 

(4)  The left, in Congress and at the NYT, finds the situation useful as an embarrassment and quandary for President Trump, who has (a)  sided with Saudi Arabia in what the Saudi government perceives to be its existential conflict with Iran and (b) has used evolving Saudi perceptions of their interests to tone down Sunni Arab conflicts with, and actually significantly improve cooperation with, Israel.

(5)  Note the quick pivot reported in the article:  “Lawmakers are hoping to use the controversy over the assassination to try to force an end to the Saudi war in Yemen, or at least the American military support for it.”  The “lawmakers” in question are Democrats.  The “Saudi war in Yemen” is the civil war there between the government of the Republic of Yemen, recognized by the United States and most of the world, and militarily backed by Saudi Arabia;  and the Houthi rebels, an insurgency militarily and financially supported by Iran.  Yemen, the second-largest state (after Saudi Arabia) on the Arabian Peninsula, is situated along the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean at the southwest of the peninsula and its border with Saudi Arabia is the longest land-border on the peninsula. 

(6)  The left remains invested in the Obama deal with Iran, which, in addition to the “Joint Plan” on Iran’s nuclear weapons program (since abandoned by President Trump), involved the transfer, promptly accomplished, of billions of dollars in hard Western currencies to the Iranian regime physically transported in a series of secret airborne shipments.  Most observers agree that the Iranian regime has invested the cash windfall from Mr. Obama in its military adventures abroad, including, for examples, the Houthi rebellion in Yemen and the supply to Iran’s proxy, Hamas, in Gaza, of thousands of rockets and other weapons, among them those that Hamas rained down on Israeli civilians in the last few weeks.  This, on top of the left’s antipathy to Israel and its pandemic worldwide antisemitism, leads to rather reflexive support for Iran and for opportunities to undermine progress toward the pacification and normalization of relations between Israel and Arab states. 

(7)  Note, too, the passing references in the NYT article to a few aspects of Washington “inside baseball”:

(a)  The Times reports:  “The [C.I.A.], and its former director, John O. Brennan, had a close relationship with Prince Mohammed’s rival, Mohammed bin Nayef. The young crown prince outmaneuvered his rival in 2017 to consolidate his position.”  Mr. Brennan, perhaps the most partisan CIA director in history, opposed the rise of MBS and has been furious at Trump Administration changes in Middle East policy and at the agency.

(b)  The Times further reports:  “Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, has been particularly close to Prince Mohammed.  Mr. Kushner has long advocated that a strong relationship with the Saudis is in the United States’ interest, and he has pushed to maintain support for the crown prince despite the death of Mr. Khashoggi….”  The NYT’s aim here is to locate White House support for Saudi Arabia and MBS as personally close to Mr. Trump as possible.  In any event, Mr. Kushner has his enemies, not just on the left and in Congress, but within the Administration and inside the White House itself (which, in Mr. Trump’s administration, is unusually volatile and given to visible internecine conflicts).


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