By Glen Ford
July 11, 2013 “Information Clearing House – One consumes U.S. corporate media at the risk of one’s sanity. Schizophrenia, for example, appears to be the permanent mental state at the New York Times, which cannot figure out which global reality is operative on any given day. Last week, the Times almost simultaneously painted a picture of two different and contradictory worlds – or, at least, two very different Obama administrations. On Friday, June 5, in the wake of the military coup against Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, the Times depicted the Obama administration as totally unruffled by the turmoil in Cairo – as if the U.S. had little stake in the outcome. The Times headline proclaimed: “Egypt Crisis Finds Washington Largely Ambivalent and Aloof.” The newspaper of record gave the impression that Egypt was no longer a “strategic player” in the region and, therefore, the political complexion of its government was nothing for Washington to worry its last nerve about.
By Saturday, July 6, the article had been replaced by reporting on what the Obama administration had really been up to as the coup unfolded. It described President Morsi’s “last hours” in office, awaiting his fate at the hands of an Egyptian military that has been a United States asset for the last 40 years. An Arab foreign minister telephoned to ask if Morsi would accept the appointment of a new prime minister and cabinet, which would make Morsi a mere figurehead. The Arab foreign minister made it clear that he was acting as an emissary of Washington.
Morsi rejected the offer. His top foreign policy advisor stepped out of the room to call the U.S. ambassador to Egypt, Anne Patterson, and tell her so. But, when he came back, he said he’d been on the phone with Susan Rice, Obama’s national security advisor, in Washington, who advised him that the coup was about to begin.
So, of course, the U.S. was deeply involved in the events that were swirling in Cairo – it would have been bizarre beyond belief if the superpower had, indeed, been “ambivalent” or “aloof” about the fate of the Arab world’s most populous country. What is amazing, is the ability of an organization as large as the New York Times to accommodate two opposite realities within its own pages, and pass off both as the truth, without shame or even visible embarrassment.
The New York Times and its corporate colleagues are not in the business of providing reliable information, but of rationalizing and sanitizing the behavior of those in power. If there are contradictions in the narrative, they can always be papered over with more lies in the next edition.
However, the lies told by the Times and its ilk cannot alter the reality of U.S. decline; they can only make Americans oblivious to the facts. The United States will get the kind of civilian front men it wants in Egypt: international corporate citizens like economist el-Hazem Beblawy, as interim prime minister, and Mohamed ElBaradei, the darling of the global rich, as a vice president. But the U.S. is also now dependent on Muslim fundamentalists as the foot soldiers of imperialism in Syria and North Africa, even as it double-crossed its Muslim Brotherhood friend, former president Morsi. And the Arab royals of the Persian Gulf have their own plans for the region. The superpower isn’t as super as it used to be – but you won’t find out why in the New York Times.