Day By Day

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

The New York Times Changes Its Spots, Or Does It?

Gregory Djerejian over at Belgravia Dispatch claims to have found a major discrepancy in NYT coverage of the democratic revolution.

After going to extraordinary lengths to deny that the Bush administration deserves credit for the wonderful things going on around the globe, the NYT now points to a US role in promoting democratic change in Kyrgyzstan. Programs to promote society, largely funded by the US, the NYT admits, "played a crucial role in preparing the ground for the popular uprising that swept opposition politicians to power."

Nice catch, Greg, but the NYT really hasn't conceded much. It wraps US contributions into a larger context of western aid:
In addition to the United States, several European countries - Britain, the Netherlands and Norway among them - have helped underwrite programs to develop democracy and civil society in [Kyrgyzstan].
And, it locates the primary source of aid in the "Freedom Support Act, passed by Congress in 1992 to help the former Soviet republics in their economic and democratic transitions."

Dubya, you see, had little to do with it. The program was passed long ago by a Democrat Congress, was implemented for eight crucial years by the Clinton administration, and now is just part of a general western aid package for which Europe deserves much credit. The most that can be claimed for the current administration is that Freedom House helped to disseminate information.

So goes the story at the NYT. No inconsistency there -- just the usual dirty pool. They don't call her the "gray lady" for nothing.

Greg's larger point, though, is certainly valid. He points to a US role in promoting democracy in Georgia, Lebanon, Egypt and Palestine in addition to Kyrgyzstan. In all those places the US deserves some credit for the reform imperatives currently playing out before our eyes.

Read Greg's post here.
Read the NYT article here.

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