Tuesday, January 11, 2011

"A quarrel in a far-away country between people of whom we know nothing."

At least Neville Chamberlain, the British Prime Minister who sold out Czechoslovakia to Hitler, admitted his own pig ignorance in his infamous disgrace of a speech to the British people. Our own day's Neville Chamberlains are comfortably ensconced at the New York Times, where they heavily censor reality and never admit error.

Still, reality's cold tendrils occasionally intrude even into the Sacred All-The-News-That's-Fit-To-Print-Room. Carlotta Gall reports the following sickening news: "Cheering crowds have gathered in recent days to support the assassin who riddled the governor of Punjab with 26 bullets and to praise his attack — carried out in the name of the Prophet Muhammad — as an act of heroism. To the surprise of many, chief among them have been Pakistan’s young lawyers, once seen as a force for democracy."

Hmm, "seen as a force for democracy." When I was a baby journalist, I was taught to avoid the passive voice as if it were an anthrax-ridden letter bomb. The passive voice, I was taught, is the last refuge of scoundrels wishing to conceal responsibility (as in President Ronald Reagan's waffle on Iran-Contra, "Mistakes were made.") So, who was it who saw these fresh-faced fanatics as a force for democracy? Why... no, it couldn't have been...

"Pakistani lawyers, who fueled serious political opposition to General Musharraf when he first suspended Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry last March, have courageously taken the lead in protests since the imposition of martial law on Saturday [November 3, 2007]. An incongruous sight in their business suits during street fights with police, they have spoken eloquently of how the general’s suspension of the Constitution and abolition of the court grievously undermines the modern, reform-minded country Pakistan was meant to become." ("The Gathering Storm," Editorial, New York Times, November 8, 2007)

But lest disturbing thoughts enter the minds of Times readers now, Ms. Gall solemnly passes on without filter or countervailing comment the claims by the leaders of the lawyers' pro-assassination movement that they are "interested only in ensuring the rule of law" and are "liberal, not religious conservatives." So what we have here is a regular bunch of Pakistani Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jrs., who just happen to believe that your freedom of speech is trumped by their freedom to cut your head off.

One must conclude that the New York Times is continuing its fine tradition of lulling its readers to sleep with reassurances that totalitarianism is really nothing to worry about.

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