You just don’t get it, Tony
By Colonel Andrew P. O’Meara, Jr.
I read Tony Blankley’s lead Op-Ed column – “Long Live the New York Times” – in the May 2 edition of The Washington Times with great interest, but I was disappointed by his assessment.
The recent scandal of plagiarism and prevarication at the New York Times is but one in a lengthy list of failures that reveals the need for wall-to-wall housecleaning that must include those responsible for misguided policy – the editorial staff – who are ultimately to blame for false reporting.
The New York Times got it wrong, not once, but it got it wrong many, many times because editorial bias edited the topics, the stories assigned to reporters, the facts suitable for print, and the contents of the editorial page. It got it wrong on the Stalin Purges and the famine in the Ukraine in 1932 and 1933. It got it wrong on the Vietnam War, the Cold War, the war in Afghanistan, the war in Iraq, the contemporary role of the U.N. jeopardizing world peace by protecting tyrants like Saddam Hussein, and recently the sniper story that gripped the nation’s capital.
The bottom line is that Mr. Blankley missed the point, which is that politically correct bias shapes everything. It shapes the stories fit to print, the facts suitable for publication, as well as the internal hiring and promotion policies of the news organization itself. Didn’t he read “Bias” by Bernard Goldberg? What about “Useful Idiots” by Mona Charen?
I watched the New York Times take on the foreign policy of the United States and subvert the war effort in Vietnam from a front row seat as a combat infantryman. They got the message upside down. It was Hanoi that waged an immoral war, not the United States. Hanoi violated the Geneva Conventions, waged terrorist campaigns, held the civilian population hostages, and fought from sanctuaries in Laos and Cambodia and North Vietnam, as well as from schoolhouses and pagodas to neutralize the firepower of their opponents. The American rules of engagement were fashioned to protect the population including the no-fire zones and free-fire zones that were falsely reported in the media. The inaccurate reporting gave rise to student protests and the vast antiwar movement that eventually spiked the cannons of those waging the war in Southeast Asia, leaving behind in South Vietnam a ravaged population that has been subjected to terror and totalitarian dictatorship ever since.
The United States did not cause the Cold War by threatening a peace-loving Soviet Union, as readers of the New York Times editorial pages have come to believe. The Cold War was caused by an adventurous and aggressive foreign policy of the Soviet Union as Eduard Shevardnadze, the last foreign minister of the Soviet Union admitted in an address to the Soviet Foreign Ministry on July 25, 1988.
The times got the story wrong. In short, the New York Times fought on the wrong side, prolonging the Cold War, and it continues fighting on the wrong side, greatly undermining public confidence in the Bush administration in the war against terrorism, raising the stakes of hazardous combat operations, and jeopardizing the successful outcome of American foreign policy initiatives.
One can argue that the politically correct bias of the Times is the price of a free press, but let’s not overlook the costs of failed and misguided editorial policy that has consistently gotten the message wrong since Josef Stalin ruled in the Kremlin. The rights of a free press also entail responsibilities. Those at fault should be held accountable as William Kristal suggests in “America’s Next Great Newspaper,” appearing in the Weekly Standard of May 26.
My. Blankley concludes his assessment calling upon the reporters of the New York Times – “proud hunters of the facts” – to stand tall. I suggest the assessment is wide of the mark, containing undeserved praise and avoiding the hard question of responsibility for four decades of failures. If decades of anti-American and vitriolic crusades against the foreign policy of the United States don’t constitute treason, then it certainly constitutes a consistent propensity for abysmally poor judgment – a pattern of behavior not to be rewarded by ill-advised choruses of “long live” the champion of Jacobins of the radical left in America and brutal tyrants abroad.
If the New York Times did not precipitate the overthrow and assassination of President Ngo Dinh Diem and the American defeat in Vietnam, then who did? If the Times can no longer deliver on providing all the news that’s fit to print, it is time to pass the torch to those prepared to underwrite balanced and objective reporting devoid of hidden agendas and support for our enemies abroad.
Published by The Washington Times, Washington, D.C., June 1 2003, page B5.