Random Thoughts

The New York Times on a Roll

Rumor has it that the powers that be at the Times are seriously worried about their paper's reputation. There was the story of outright fabrication by one of its reporters. This could be minimized because the said reporter was from the minority group and his follies could conceivably be excused by the reading public as the result of misguided affirmative action and the undeserving latitude given by the liberal establishment by treating minority employees with kid gloves. There was unfortunately the occurrence of a Pulitzer prize winning accused of plagiarism.

In the pre-war reporting on Iraq, Judith Miller was at best a willing dupe of the administration and at worst a propagandist for an administration cabal. The editors of the paper slept at their job oblivious of the paper's responsibility and their duty to journalism principles and the reading public. There was a brief mea culpa editorial after David Kay's report in the tone of Reagan's confession after the Iran-Contra fiasco saying, "Mistakes were made". The real truth is that the paper has run out of excuses and the time has come to admit to stop masquerading under false pretense. When the good and decent pretend to be bad they destroy themselves like Kurt Vonnegut's hero of "Mother Night". When the propagandists with hidden agendas assume the role of journalists, sooner or later they are ousted and their true identity becomes obvious. Every media company that becomes a behemoth ultimately loses its mission and becomes a golden goose beholden to the owners and subservient to the power elite. Interested readers may wish to read Herman and Chomsky's book Manufacturing Consent.

There are now serious doubts about the real reasons why Judith Miller went to jail and why she agreed to testify to get out of jail and what were the reasons and motives of the paper in going along with this charade. So the time has come to recommend a strategy to put this debacle behind us. The idea came to me when a critical friend remarked that the New York Times was on a roll with its repeated bloopers. After deep and long thought my think tank has come up with a brilliant solution to the problem of the New York Times by embracing the comment literally. My idea is that the paper be available in a roll, thus markedly increasing its spectrum of subscribers and functions without sacrificing its standards. I can see the editors flushing with joy and relief.

One good invention or idea can be put to many uses. Maybe all presidential and congressional speeches and many government publications could also be put on a roll, thus acquiring a functional use and even being branded premier by their smooth lying about their beneficial quality. The cleansing benefit of my idea would be widespread and touch every citizen, while uplifting the bottom almost universally.  


More by :  Gaurang Bhatt, MD

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