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The NYT and various other "prestigious outlets" are very clever about portraying themselves as bastions of journalistic integrity. The signs that they are anything but are there for all to see and, in the case of the NYT at least, have been for many decades.

Many of us remember very well the NYT's role in driving our country to war with Iraq through its endless repetition of the WMD myth. I went back to reread its tepid apologies for participating in that disaster. Here is a striking example for anyone wondering what their "exit strategy"' will be for their current journalistic lying and misbehaviors (From a 2004 "self-reflective editorial," written to mollify readers angry with the paper for drumming up support for the Iraq War):

"But we have found a number of instances of coverage that was not as rigorous as it should have been. In some cases, information that was controversial then, and seems questionable now, was insufficiently qualified or allowed to stand unchallenged. Looking back, we wish we had been more aggressive in re-examining the claims as new evidence emerged -- or failed to emerge."

And then, they wrote "Hey, everyone! Quick, look at the pretty butterfly!" (Or something like that.)

Of course, that the NYT did such a despicable thing should not have come as a surprise. In 1988 Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman wrote the 400 p. Manufacturing Consent, in which they documented a sickening succession of cases where the NYT and the other "prestigious outlets" effectively inflamed some stories, while suppressing others, in ways that overwhelmingly favored corporate elites and government. To quote the book, the news media "are effective and powerful ideological institutions that carry out a system-supportive propaganda function, by reliance on market forces, internalized assumptions, and self-censorship, and without overt coercion." Chomsky and Herbert make a very careful and thorough case. But I save the NYT"s most despicable moment for last.

In the early 1930s Stalin, eager to impress the world with the Soviet Union's rapid industrialization under communism, cleared all the grain and food out of Ukraine to be sold on the open markets to fund his scheme. Between 3 and 10 million people lost their lives to this artificial famine. The NYT's Walter Duranty, stationed in Moscow during this time, shilled for Stalin and convinced the readership that nothing bad was happening, that Stalin was doing amazing things, that if anything it was sometimes necessary to break a few eggs to make an omelet. We know that Duranty knew about what was happening in Ukraine but chose instead to loan Stalin the NYT as a propaganda platform. However, in this case the NYT didn't feel a need to apologize. To really get a feel for the evil that the NYT organization is capable of: in the '00s Ukrainian activists banded together to demand that the NYT forfeit Duranty's Pulitzer for his Soviet coverage. (Yeah, Duranty won a Pulitzer for that.) NYT fabricated some kind of marble-mouthed technicality as an excuse for not giving back the Pulitzer.

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