NYT Too Quick to Target Assault Rifles


As many know, the New York Times’ first front-page house editorial in nearly 100 years appeared Dec. 5, arguing for a broad ban on “assault rifles” of the AR-15 variety—along with banning the relevant ammunition.

This call was tied to the assault, allegedly carried out with weapons of that type, by an Islamic husband and wife “terrorist” team in San Bernardino, Calif.

Some will agree with the Times’ firearms stance, and some will not. But what’s likely to be overlooked is that the nation’s illustrious “newspaper of record” pushed for all-out war in the Middle East in that same edition—when the real lack of “gun control” is the war the US has carried for the last 15 years, which has killed hundreds of thousands of innocents but left Al Qaeda and other terrorist elements miraculously intact.

The Times’ reports on the California matter that day were heavily laced with stark quotes and dark inferences, saying that the military’s armed violence must increase, and only domestically-based gun violence is bad.

“The Republican candidates for president angrily demanded that the United States face up to a new world war, one that has breached its borders, threatens the safety of Americans and has brought the menace of Islamic terrorism deep into the homeland,” the Times intoned in its Dec. 5 California coverage, which was centered on that theme.

We’re beset by deadly doublethink. We cannot bring ourselves to admit that modern no-win military missions are just another form of murder, with the exception that we glorify the military version of murder. When will learn that murder is murder no matterwhat garb it wears?

Yet, major media tell us that while “civilian” arms used for violent ends are bad, Western militaries, armed with ever-more-deadly weapons, should be granted even greater license to kill—and that includes targeting an ISIS faction that Russia had no trouble driving to the margins in just a couple months.

Meanwhile the US government-led coalition, which has been shadow-boxing ISIS for over a year, has been dodging substantial claims that ISIS is a Western intelligence asset that provides a springboard to overthrow Syria’s government.

Regarding the California event, we’re asked to believe that two Muslims in their late 20s, with a baby girl only seven months old, would be the type of people who’d go on a shooting “rampage” while invoking ISIS.

And the Times, with its slip-shod “journalism,” took the word of the FBI at face value when the agency claimed that the wife used to have a Facebook posting—conveniently taken down the day of the shooting before reporters could confirm it. The posting allegedly pledged loyalty to ISIS.

Yet, President Obama, by Dec. 7, was quoted by the Times as saying that this Islamic Bonnie and Clyde were loosely “inspired” by ISIS. Thus, the story line that this duo were sworn adherents to the Islamic State began to soften.

Consider America’s long road to empire. By the time the Spanish-American War came about, the “yellow journalism” of the day—especially via the newspapers of William Randolph Hearst—pounded the war drums and jumped to conclusions that the Spanish were behind the sinking of the battleship Maine in Havana harbor.

Things didn’t improve much through the world wars to the present. Some reporters with a truly hard-nosed, inquisitive spirit—a quickly dying breed today—back then were dragged into court and sometimes jailed during both World Wars.

Meanwhile, historians such as John Toland saw the treachery of modern military states, especially through his book Infamy which, I’m sorry, nailed FDR to the wall and proved beyond a reasonable doubt that he knew the Japanese were going to hammer Pearl Harbor. FDR maneuvered the US into war. Period.

The populist “isolationists” of that time, including Sen. Burton K. Wheeler (D) and his fellow US legislators from Montana, James F. O’Connor (D) and Jeannette Rankin (R), along with Dr. Jacob Thorkelson and famed aviator Charles Lindbergh Jr., fought valiantly but lost against the ruthless pro-war forces of the latter 1930s into the ’40s. Those forces included virtually the entire press of the day.

Rankin, the first woman to hold a high US office, was one of 56 Congress members who voted against entering World War I in 1917. And she was the only member of Congress to vote against declaring war on Japan after Pearl Harbor.

Pro-war “yellow journalism”—short on hard facts and big on fear-mongering—still haunts us, as today’s “journalists,” utterly failing in their core mission to check state power, instead act as a mouthpiece in support of it. And the New York Times, in its foreign policy perspective, has placed itself at the forefront of “shoot first, ask real questions never.”

Mark Anderson is a veteran journalist who divides his time between Texas and Michigan. Email him at truthhound2@yahoo.com.

From The Progressive Populist, January 1-15, 2016


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