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Monday, February 10, 2014

Syria, Schizophrenia and The New York Times

In today's New York Times, there is an excellent article entitled "Break in Siege Is Little Relief to Syrian City" (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/10/world/middleeast/in-homs-syria-still-no-relief-from-a-siege.html?action=click&contentCollection=Opinion&region=Footer&module=TopNews&pgtype=article) by Ben Hubbard, describing how the Assad regime is starving out the civilian population of Homs. Mr. Hubbard writes:

"'We have entire areas of the country where the ability to transport food and other materials is severely hampered because of deliberate blockades and constraints on trucks and convoys,' Matthew Hollingworth, the director of the World Food Program’s Syria program, said by telephone from Homs on Sunday. 'It is a tactic that everybody is using, and it has a massive impact.'

Reflecting the toll of such tactics, one older man evacuated in Homs on Sunday said he had survived on one spoon of bulgur a day for the past week and that his wife had died, malnourished and unable to get medical treatment, according to Dina Elkassaby, a spokeswoman for the World Food Program.

'Some people were living off roots and weeds and grass and olives if they were lucky,' Ms. Elkassaby said."

On the other hand, in keeping with the decision of the Obama administration to observe this human suffering from the sidelines, the editorial page of the Times has given little attention to this tragedy (see: http://jgcaesarea.blogspot.co.il/2014/02/maureen-dowd-still-mad-as-hell-at.html). Would-be Middle East expert Thomas Friedman? He's off on an eco-tour of Israel and the West Bank (see: http://jgcaesarea.blogspot.co.il/2014/02/thomas-friedman-whose-garbage-is-this.html).

The recent New York Observer article entitled "The Tyranny and Lethargy of the Times Editorial Page" (http://observer.com/2014/02/the-tyranny-and-lethargy-of-the-times-editorial-page/#axzz2su9y1r4t) by Ken Kurson, recently caused something of a sensation by highlighting the dichotomy between the excellent newsroom reporting of the Times versus the irrelevance, stupidity and lack of originality of its editorial page. The article focuses on Andrew Rosenthal and Thomas Friedman, but Maureen Dowd also does not emerge unscathed.

The perfect example of this dichotomy? The handling by the Times of the civil war in Syria, described above.

Rosenthal? Have a look at my interaction with the man (see, e.g.: http://jgcaesarea.blogspot.co.il/2012/09/is-new-york-times-columnist-maureen.html) and form your own opinion.

Friedman? Indeed, as I have been saying for many years, the emperor has no clothes.

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