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The New York Times Endorses Hillary, Scorns the World

The New York Times’ latest endorsement of Hillary Clinton is, as any reasonable person might assume, and to use Hillary’s favorite new word, deplorable. In the interest of discharging the irritation engendered by reading it, I’ll just briefly highlight some of the Gray Lady’s more outrageous assertions.

First, though, I’d like to applaud them for a rather novel, albeit entirely incoherent, bit of duplicity. Acknowledging in their euphemistic way that Hillary Clinton has achieved nothing of any significance while serving in government (“Mrs. Clinton’s work has been defined more by incremental successes than by moments of transformative change”), the editors contend that this ought to be counted as one of her strengths, for “[i]t shows a determined leader intent on creating opportunity for struggling Americans at a time of economic upheaval and on ensuring that the United States remains a force for good in an often brutal world.”

It’s a total non-sequitur, but at least they tried something wild. It’s sort of like what Robert De Niro’s character in Wag the Dog, Conrad Brean, does when he’s confronted by an intelligence official who says there’s no evidence of a war in Albania.

“Our spy satellites show no secret terrorists training camps in the Albanian hinterland, the border patrol, the FBI, the RCMP report no—repeat, no—untoward activity along our picturesque Canadian border,” the official (William H. Macy) says very sternly. “The Albanian government is screaming its defense; the world is listening. There is no war.”

Brean’s response is a masterclass in obfuscation. After being told again that the spy satellites show no war, he says the following:

“Then what good are they if they show no war? … What good are they if they show nothing? What are they, useless? Are they just broke? If there’s no threat then where are you? Let me go you one more: If there’s no threat what good are you?”

He succeeds in confusing the official into submission, making for one of the film’s funniest scenes. But that’s a film. This is real life, and one would need a very black sense of humor indeed to find the Times‘ doublespeak amusing.

One notes that they managed to squeeze the doctrine of American Exceptionalism—according to which every person we incinerate more or less had it coming to them—into their Breanian logic, taking for granted that the U.S. is a “force for good in an often brutal world.” Yes, such a brutal world; and what would its inhabitants do without the philanthropic United States military? Die of brutality, presumably.

Moving on. As a prime example of Hillary Clinton’s lifelong “record of service to children, women and families,” the Times cites her announcement in 1995 that “women’s rights are human rights”—”one of her boldest acts as first lady.” One wonders whether the good editors have gotten around to interviewing the children, women and families living in Honduras and Libya, whose idyllic circumstances bear the mark of HRC’s world-famous “pragmatism.”

(As I’ve written elsewhere, the idea that Hillary Clinton is a champion of women’s rights is one of the most preposterous, and pernicious, lies being peddled this campaign.)

Hillary’s “unusual capacity to reach across the aisle” (not so mysterious considering her right-wing fanaticism on issues of war and capitalist depredation) is what makes the Times confident that she’ll, you know, get things done as president. She’s even “earned the respect of [warmongering psychos] like John McCain with her determination to master intricate military matters.” And who wouldn’t want respect from those quarters? Such an honor!

The only “black mark” on Hillary’s record as a senator, according to the Times, is her vote in favor of Bush’s criminal war on Iraq (“but, to her credit, she has explained her thinking rather than trying to rewrite that history”—i.e. no big deal). In other words, the Times agrees with her votes in favor of the invasion of Afghanistan, the Patriot Act and the Wall Street bailout. No surprise there.

Which brings us to the Rodham woman’s tenure in the State Department, where “her achievements are substantial.” Among them: leading “efforts to strengthen sanctions against [the people of] Iran” (who, lest you forget, she’s prepared to “totally obliterate”), and helping to “negotiate a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas” in 2012, after the IDF had managed to kill over 100 Palestinian civilians in only a week. Needless to say, Hillary didn’t lead efforts to impose any sanctions on Israel.

Next, and this is interesting, Hillary is lauded by the Times for her support of the TPP, “an important trade counterweight to China and a key component of the Obama administration’s pivot to Asia.”

Of course, Hillary has since come out in opposition to the TPP, which only the most gullible of observers believe is sincere. Indeed, after acknowledging that her “reversal on that pact has confused some of her supporters,” the Times emphasizes that Hillary’s “underlying commitment to bolstering trade along with workers’ rights is not in doubt.” So there you have it: the New York Times, in its endorsement of Hillary Clinton, has called bullshit on her current anti-TPP stance. Remember this the next time a Clintonoid tries to use her TPP about face as an example of her progressivism. Remember it also the next time one of your Democrat friends argues that the New York Times is not a purveyor of neoliberal propaganda.

These are Hillary Clinton’s “substantial” achievements as secretary of state, the ones that are supposed to offset the fact that “she bears a share of the responsibility for the Obama administration’s foreign-policy failings, notably in Libya.” Funny how the dissolution of Libyan statehood—a major crime spearheaded by Hillary herself—is worthy only of casual reference. I suppose it’s better than total omission, which is the treatment given to Hillary’s successful efforts to undermine democracy in Honduras, as well as her pro-jihadist policy in Syria.

The Times editorial board proceeds to sum up its own ideology with the following:

“Mrs. Clinton has shown herself to be a realist who believes America cannot simply withdraw behind oceans and walls, but must engage confidently in the world to protect its interests and be true to its values, which include helping others escape poverty and oppression.”

In other words, the rest of the world can rest assured that relief from American imperialism, and all its gory consequences, is nowhere in sight—not if the New York Times has anything to say about it.

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Michael Howard is a freelance writer from Buffalo, NY.

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