Saturday, July 23, 2005

An Adventure in Bad Reading

Reading a New York Times editorial on the Middle East is always an adventure. What technique will the Times editorialists use to bash Israel? Which combination of distortions, cliches and sanctimony will be used to advance the Sulzberger Indifference Template?

Today's editorial, "Midsummer Mideast Madness," focuses on two of the Template's bedrock principles, No. 3: Promote the Myth of Palestinian "Moderation," and No. 1, "Whatever The Problem, Blame Israel." A corollary of the latter is the Template sub-principle that "Sharon Is a Thug Who Does Stuff Because He's Mean and For No Good Reason."

Thus in a discussion of infighting between the "extreme" Hamas and the "moderate" Fatah and Palestinian Authority, we have the following:

This really is a textbook case in the myriad ways that extremists can hijack an entire population. No reasonable person can doubt that the Hamas attacks hurt the Palestinians more than the Israelis. That is exactly the kind of violence that has given the Israeli prime minister, Ariel Sharon, the ammunition to destroy the Palestinian police force, freeze the movement of ordinary Palestinians throughout the occupied territories and seal disputed land behind Israel's new security fence.
The Palestinian population is moderate and peace-loving, as is the Palestinian Authority. Thus what is daintily referred to as "Hamas attacks" (translation: "Palestinians murdering Jews") is really counter to the interests of the "moderate" Palestinian population.

Since that assumption is a lot of hooey -- Hamas, and its murderous tactics, have widespread popular support -- we thus have the title of the editorial, the "Madness" bit. In fact, terrorism is perfectly logical for a radicalized population that 1) Hates Jews, 2) Believes with some justification that terrorism offers political rewards, and 3) Has seen its tactics supported by much of the world (as well as, of course, the United Nations).

Recognition of that reality would undercut the Template Principle No. 3, which is inviolable.

In contrast to the moderate and peace-loving Palestinian population, Sharon is a heavy-handed thug who does things for no reason, except maybe sadism. And, of course, the Palestinian "police" are just peace-loving men twirlingnight sticks and not thugs who engage in terrorism -- as is the reality.

Look how many Template themes we have in just three sentences!

Next comes another Template sub-principle: There are extremists on both side and they are both equally bad. In both its editorial and news pages, the Times equates Palestinians who murder civilians with Israelis who peacefully demonstrate: "Meanwhile, Israel's extremist right wing is doing its own hijacking."

Hamas and demonstrators against the Gaza disengagement are exactly the same. Both sides are crazy. Fortunately we have the Times editorial board, the same editorial board that ignored Auschwitz, the same editorial board that has white-washed terrorism for years. Three cheers for the Times editorial board!

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