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Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Thomas Friedman, "Social Media: Destroyer or Creator?": Tahrir Square and the Times's Three Blind Mice

In February 2011, Thomas Friedman reported to us in a video from Tahrir Square in Cairo:

"This is the most remarkable thing I have ever seen. This is the single most authentic expression of Arab aspiration, hope, frustration, culture, identity, that I ever seen anytime, anywhere. Somebody broke open a fire hydrant here, and the real Egypt in all this energy, passion and hope is just gushing out.

. . . .

All I can tell you is what you see behind me here is the new realism. Whatever policy we make in the Middle East better be based on what's going on back here, which is an authentic expression of hopes and aspirations of Egyptians, and I would say even Arabs, to own their countries."

The "new realism"? Yeah, right.

Well today, Friedman is back with a New York Times op-ed entitled "Social Media: Destroyer or Creator?," which begins:

"Over the last few years we’ve been treated to a number of 'Facebook revolutions,' from the Arab Spring to Occupy Wall Street to the squares of Istanbul, Kiev and Hong Kong, all fueled by social media. But once the smoke cleared, most of these revolutions failed to build any sustainable new political order, in part because as so many voices got amplified, consensus-building became impossible."

"So many voices got amplified," or were Thomas Friedman and his colleagues Nicholas Kristof and Roger Cohen (the Times's three bind mice), who were also singing paeans to the Arab Spring from Tahrir Square, ignorant of Egypt's poverty, unemployment, economic stagnation, inadequate education system, and oppression of women?

Go back to sleep, Tom, before you hurt yourself.  

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