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Thursday, September 12, 2013

'NYT' Reporter: Avoiding War Not in Our Interest?

There's one kind of dangerous front-page reporting in the run-up to any possible war: the factually inaccurate, skewed (or possibly not) to the reporter's likely prejudice in favor of, or opposed to, a planned assault, or simply based on poor sourcing and editing.   Let's mention Judith Miller, for example.  But there's another kind, that probably is just as misleading and dangerous and serves the interests of war hawks.  Call it the POV problem, or the national security insider failure, or whatever.

Consider this in the lead front-page piece at The New York Times by Steven Lee Myers (left) on Putin and the Russian proposal--not accepted by Assad today--to put all of Syria's chemical stockpiles under international control.  This would seem like a positive development, especially since President Obama said there was no particular gain in bombing this week vs. two weeks or a month from now.  And Obama and nearly all of our political leadership leaped at the offer.   But consider this near the top of the Myers piece:
Although circumstances could shift yet again, Mr. Putin appears to have achieved several objectives, largely at Washington's expense.
Now ponder that a moment.  Myers is actually declaring that delaying a serious missile attack--which has little international or domestic support, and  nearly everyone agrees would be financially costly, produce images of dead civilians around the world, inflame more hatred of America, possibly provoke a deadly Assad response in various areas, AND not settle a terribly bloody civil war--is "largely at Washington's expense."  He should be moved off this beat just as surely as a Judy Miller might be.

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