• Monthly
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $other
  • use PayPal

ONE WEEK TO DOUBLE YOUR DONATION!

A generous CounterPuncher has offered a $25,000 matching grant. So for this week only, whatever you can donate will be doubled up to $25,000! If you have the means, please donate! If you already have done so, thank you for your support. All contributions are tax-deductible.
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Ukraine and the Dumbed-Down New York Times Columnist

I was reading the latest smug piece by New York Times columnist Timothy Egan, when I came across the most amusing example of being what you’re criticizing.

Egan, in a piece titled “The Dumbed Down Democracy,” bemoaned the spreading ignorance of the American electorate.

Not only are 10 percent of Americans illiterate, Egan groaned. They’re also “politically illiterate.” Expressing mock astonishment, he wrote, “I give you Texas. A recent survey of Donald Trump supporters there found that 40 percent of them believe that Acorn will steal the upcoming election.”

He goes on: “Acorn? News flash: That community-organizing group has been out of existence for six years. Acorn is gone, disbanded. dead. It can no more steal an election than Donald Trump can pole vault over his Mexican wall.”

In Egan’s view, it’s those Trump voters who are ignoramuses.

Egan goes on: “We know that at least 30 million American adults cannot read. But the current presidential election may yet prove that an even bigger part of the citizenry is politically illiterate — and functional. Which is to say, they will vote despite being unable to accept basic facts needed to process this American life.”

Example?

Well, Egan says, “If Trump supporters knew that illegal immigration peaked in 2007, or that violent crime has been on a steady downward spiral nationwide for more than 20 years, they would scoff when Trump says Mexican rapists are surging across the border and crime is out of control.”

Maybe he’s right (though I’ve heard supposedly well-educated college grads tell me they believe the same stuff), but then Egan goes on to write: “If more than 16 percent of Americans could locate Ukraine on a map, it would have been a Really Big Deal when Trump said that Russia was not going to invade it — two years after they had, in fact, invaded it.”

I don’t know what knowing that Ukraine shares a long border with Russia has to do with knowing Russia supposedly invaded the place in 2014, but in any case, Russia never invaded Ukraine. Only in the New York Times would you read such bullshit propaganda.

Egan apparently doesn’t know that there has been no evidence of Russian troops fighting in Ukraine, though there are NATO troops, including US ones, there. And as for Crimea, a former part of Ukraine populated by about 90 percent ethnic Russians, it came under Russian military protection not by way of an invasion, but because with the government in Kiev threatening an ethnic cleansing campaign against Russian speakers living in eastern Ukraine and Crimea (where Russia had a long-term lease on its Black Sea naval base), the 20,000 Russian troops stationed in Crimea, also by treaty with Ukraine, simply took control of that territory. There was then an internationally observed plebiscite, much like ones the US supported in Kosovo and other breakaway states over the years. In that plebiscite, over 90 percent of the citizens said they wanted to rejoin Russia, which Crimea had historically been an integral part of, and so the region was annexed by Russia.

As for the breakaway region in eastern Ukraine known as the Donbass, its primarily ethnic Russian people have been doing their own fighting against Ukranian military forces thank you, albeit with Russian aid (the kind of military aid that the US has provided to Georgia, Ukraine, Syrian rebels, Afghan mujahadeen, and myriad other places. No Russian invasion occurred in the Donbass either. In fact, while the people of Donbass have been begging to be allowed to rejoin Russia, and would probably overwhelmingly vote to do so if allowed a chance, Moscow has said no, for fear of sparking a wider conflict in eastern Europe.

Egan may be confused because he no doubt gets most of his information about current affairs by reading the paper he works for, a paper which is notorious for spreading lies and scare stories about an allegedly resurgent and expansive Russia led by a dangerous dictator, Vladimir Putin. (Putin, for the record, is elected and various polls show him backed by 80-90 pecent of Russian people.)

In fact, part of the reason that American voters — and that applies to Clinton supporters too — are so “dumb” is that the Times, a publication that much of the rest of the US media rely on to calibrate their own reporting, has been doing such a great job of misinforming them. And not just about Russia. It misinforms them about Israel’s actions in Gaza and the West Bank, it misinforms them about NATO, it misinforms them about the nuclear-tipped missiles that the US is installing near Russia’s border in Poland, it lies about Venezuela, it lies about Iran, and most egregiously, it lies about Syria, just as it earlier lied about WMDs in Iraq.

Here at home the Times lies too. It lied during the primaries about Bernie Sanders and his chances to win the Democratic primary, and it has lied about Hillary Clinton’s accomplishments as First Lady, Senator and Secretary of State.

The thing is, if a supposedly well-intentioned and honest Times columnist like Tim Egan can be so wrong about Russia in the Ukraine, it shows how pernicious the Times lying really is. Either that or Egan is just one of the deliberate liars at the Times.

More articles by:

Dave Lindorff is a founding member of ThisCantBeHappening!, an online newspaper collective, and is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press).

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
October 16, 2019
Patrick Cockburn
How Turkey’s Invasion of Syria Backfired on Erdogan
Chitrangada Choudhury – Aniket Aga
How Cotton Became a Headache in the Age of Climate Chaos
Jack Rasmus
US-China Mini-Trade Deal: Trump Takes the Money and Runs
Michael Welton
Communist Dictatorship in Our Midst
Robert Hunziker
Extinction Rebellion Sweeps the World
Peter A. Coclanis
Donald Trump as Artist
Chris Floyd
Byzantium Now: Time-Warping From Justinian to Trump
Steve Klinger
In For a Dime, in For a Dollar
Gary Leupp
The Maria Ramirez Story
Kim C. Domenico
It Serves Us Right To Suffer: Breaking Down Neoliberal Complacency
Kiley Blackman
Wildlife Killing Contests are Unethical
Colin Todhunter
Bayer Shareholders: Put Health and Nature First and Stop Funding This Company!
Andrés Castro
Looking Normal in Kew Gardens
October 15, 2019
Victor Grossman
The Berlin Wall, Thirty Years Later
Raouf Halaby
Kurdish Massacres: One of Britain’s Many Original Sins
Robert Fisk
Trump and Erdogan have Much in Common – and the Kurds will be the Tragic Victims of Their Idiocy
Ron Jacobs
Betrayal in the Levant
Wilma Salgado
Ecuador: Lenin Moreno’s Government Sacrifices the Poor to Satisfy the IMF
Ralph Nader
The Congress Has to Draw the Line
William A. Cohn
The Don Fought the Law…
John W. Whitehead
One Man Against the Monster: John Lennon vs. the Deep State
Lara Merling – Leo Baunach
Sovereign Debt Restructuring: Not Falling Prey to Vultures
Norman Solomon
The More Joe Biden Stumbles, the More Corporate Democrats Freak Out
Jim Britell
The Problem With Partnerships and Roundtables
Howard Lisnoff
More Incitement to Violence by Trump’s Fellow Travelers
Binoy Kampmark
University Woes: the Managerial Class Gets Uppity
Joe Emersberger
Media Smears, Political Persecution Set the Stage for Austerity and the Backlash Against It in Ecuador
Thomas Mountain
Ethiopia’s Abiy Ahmed Wins Nobel Peace Prize, But It Takes Two to Make Peace
Wim Laven
Citizens Must Remove Trump From Office
October 14, 2019
Ann Robertson - Bill Leumer
Class Struggle is Still the Issue
Mike Miller
Global Climate Strike: From Protest To Power?
Patrick Cockburn
As Turkey Prepares to Slice Through Syria, the US has Cleared a New Breeding Ground for Isis
John Feffer
Trump’s Undeclared State of Emergency
Dean Baker
The Economics and Politics of Financial Transactions Taxes and Wealth Taxes
Jonah Raskin
What Evil Empire?
Nino Pagliccia
The Apotheosis of Emperors
Evaggelos Vallianatos
A Passion for Writing
Basav Sen
The Oil Despots
Brett Wilkins
‘No Friend But the Mountains’: A History of US Betrayal of the Kurds
John Kendall Hawkins
Assange: Enema of the State
Scott Owen
Truth, Justice and Life
Thomas Knapp
“The Grid” is the Problem, Not the Solution
Rob Kall
Republicans Are Going to Remove Trump Soon
Cesar Chelala
Lebanon, Dreamland
Weekend Edition
October 11, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Becky Grant
CounterPunch in Peril?
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail