Monday, April 04, 2005

"The Point": All the Rubbish That Fits in Two Minutes

In Mark Hyman’s world, the New York Times is a biased, partisan propaganda rag, and the International Republican Institute is a source of “non-partisan” information.


Hyman cites the IRI (
which is exactly as non-partisan as the name implies) while complaining about a Times piece that discussed the frustration of many Iraqis feel concerning the delay in forming a functioning government. Hyman claims this runs “exactly counter to the facts” and through in the assertion that “within days” of the Iraqi elections, democratic reforms swept through Lebanon, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia (a statement which is both a non-sequitur and just plain wrong).

As for the IRI and its agenda, take a look at the fine piece by
Media Matters for America that details the membership of this conservative think tank, and decide whether or not this group is the best source of unbiased facts about the situation in Iraq.

Also note, however, that even if, for the sake of argument, one accepts the IRI findings that Iraqis are “hopeful” about the future, this in no way contradicts the Times piece. One can be hopeful about the long term future of one’s country and still be fed up with the current state of affairs. Ask me if I’m “hopeful” about the future of America, I’ll probably say yes. Ask me if I’m pleased with the current state of our government, and . . . well . . . you get the idea.

As far as pessimism goes, the charge that somehow the New York Times is making it up is untenable. As many of us noted in the aftermath of the elections in Iraq, forming a government is much harder than simply holding a vote The image of purple-fingered Iraqis leaving the polls was hopeful and heartwarming (despite the fact that many Iraqis, including the vast majority of Sunni Muslims, boycotted the election). But everyone can afford to be hopeful when you can still hope that the results will match your desires (compare your own feelings on November 3 and November 4 of last year to get a visceral feel for what the Iraqis are going through).

The fact that the Iraqi government hasn’t even managed to agree on a speaker says all you need about the attitude most Iraqis must have toward their government. How could one not be frustrated? And they’re not alone.
U.S. officials are themselves now acknowledging that the road to a truly democratic government in Iraq will be far bumpier than first expected.

But Hyman’s rhetoric is predicated on things being good or bad, black or white, and simple to the point of being utterly detached from reality. Anyone who offers facts that suggest any complication of Hyman’s worldview (or at least the worldview he paints in his commentaries) is not simply mistaken, but evil. Hence, Hyman’s commentary ends with the despicable and idiotic statement that the New York Times “would like you to think Iraq was better off when Saddam Hussein was in charge.”

I need hardly mention that this claim was not supported by a single bit of evidence. Remember, Hyman is talking about the same New York Times that felt
compelled to admit that it accepted the Bush administration’s case for war in Iraq without the requisite journalistic skepticism and questioning. But Hyman has placed the Times in his constellation of “devil” terms that are to be invoked along with the “liberal media” and academic “failures” whenever these sources of information provide facts that Hyman would like his audience to ignore.

As we’ve seen before, Hyman tends to project his own conflicts, deficiencies, and shady motivations onto others, and we once again see that here. In fact, if we do just a minor bit of editing to Hyman’s words, we end up with a wonderfully succinct self-diagnosis by Mr. Hyman: the facts “do not support the message [Mark Hyman] is trying to spread. In its trademark arrogant way, [“The Point”] is working overtime to portray an attitude in Iraq that just does not exist.”

And that’s The Counterpoint.


At 6:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ted, the real problem is that Hyman has the megaphone and is using it to paint his and the administrations picture of reality for the sheeple to keep them in the heard. It is time to start calling this group of neo-cons what they really are and point out what they are doing to this country. There is nothing conservative about them, they are in fact neo-fascists, and they are driving this country to ruin with their foot on the accelerator through mass-media propaganda.
Thanks, and keep bustin' Hymen!
Mike B. in SC


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