Alas, Poor Editor – The Times Hardly Knew Ye

Posted: March 28, 2009 by Shawn in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Subcomandante Marcos, seen here conveniently not existing.

[Mexico] has no serious prospects of regional secession or disputed territories, unlike the Middle East.

-Enrique Krauze, New York Times

Dear NY Times,

I know financial times are tough and you want to trim the fat, but it is probably not advisable for you to continue to publish your paper sans an editor. Y’know, one of those people in suspenders who hold a pencil between their teeth and squint at the articles you are going to run. They usually serve to make sure you don’t print insane things.

Hell you could just hire some kid to scan Wikipedia and give him or her college credit. Spending 45 seconds visiting at the Wiks would have revealed that: “In August 2003, the EZLN declared all Zapatista territory an autonomous government independent of the Mexican state.”

[pause for any gasps or drinks spit out]

Now, it would seem that the Zapatistas would perfectly fit the example of “regional secession or disputed territories.” It’s not like the Mexican government is unaware that a bunch of ragamuffins in black ski masks who are always yakking about democracy and liberty have declared their autonomy in Chiapas. Otherwise they wouldn’t have sent in the army or sponsored anti-EZLN paramilitaries. Hell, it’s not like Enrique Krauze hasn’t heard of them, he mentions the EZLN later in the column.

What is surprising here is not that the Times’ ran some shoddy copy, but that the misrepresentation does not appear to be politically motivated.

But, fret not. Just one paragraph down, we return to the good, old quotidian misrepresentation that you can count on most days in the Op-Eds.

And with all its defects, the domination of the party, known as the P.R.I., never even approached the same level of virtually absolute dictatorship as that of Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe, or even of Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez.

Of course Hugo Chavez isn’t a dictator. You wouldn’t know that by reading the Times who applauded the 2002 attempted coup against the democratically elected Chavez as a move towards democracy.

Sure, Chavez certainly has an authoritarian bent, but he has repeatedly won multiple internationally monitored elections and referendums.

Chavez threatening to make American youth's listen to loud music, play violent video games and wear baggy pants.

But then again we are talking about NY Times Land where true to life dictators like King Abdullah (#5 on this year’s list of The World’s Dictators) get meek editorial finger-wagging (“King Abdullah has demonstrated a laudable desire for change, but he must make even bolder changes to meet the needs of his people and to set an example of moderation and tolerance for the rest of the Arab world.”) as long as they are politically friendly. However, when Chavez sought to remove term limits (via a democratic referendum which passed this February) for the Venezuelan Presidency the Times cried that “Mr. Chávez must accept democratic limits to his rule” and “Venezuelans deserve the chance to choose a competent government.”

No editorials followed decrying the governments of Germany, Iceland or Britain for their lack of term limits on executives. Those must have slipped through the cracks I suppose.

As Thomas Pynchon once said, “if they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don’t have to worry about the answers.”

~ Shawn O’Donoghue

  1. Kate says:

    I like this quote from the Times : “Although addiction rates among Mexicans are on the rise, the vast majority of the drugs flowing through Mexico will be sniffed, smoked or injected by Americans” because Mexico isn’t in North America?

  2. Katie says:

    Americans generally refers to citizens of the United States. It’s just common parlance. You’d never call a Brazilian an “American” even though they live in South America.

  3. Brendan says:

    The Times left itself a pretty clear out with the qualifier “serious prospect.” I think the folks in question could be considered a “concerning prospect” or perhaps an “unlikely but plausible prospect” for regional secession…but certainly not a “serious” prospect.

    Also, defending Chavez’s democratic legitimacy makes you look a little too “rive gauche” to be taken seriously…let it go Shawn…he’s a jerk.

  4. Shawn says:

    Kate – Brown people only count as part of the continent when we want them to sign trade agreements. Duh.

    Katie – But what do they call brazil nuts in brazil?

    Brendan – Right you are! Elections and referendums only mask the desire to consolidate power and then invade the Sudetenland. Coups all around, huzzah!

  5. Kate says:

    It may be a common misconception to only include US citizens as “Americans” but being common doesn’t change the fact that it is still a misconception.

  6. Kate says:

    It may be a common misconception to only include US citizens as “Americans” but being common doesn’t change the fact that it is still a misconception.

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