Democratic Underground Latest Greatest Lobby Journals Search Options Help Login

FAIR Alert: A New Blacklist for "Excuse Makers"

Printer-friendly format Printer-friendly format
Printer-friendly format Email this thread to a friend
Printer-friendly format Bookmark this thread
This topic is archived.
Home » Discuss » Archives » General Discussion (Through 2005) Donate to DU
G_j Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-05 02:02 AM
Original message
FAIR Alert: A New Blacklist for "Excuse Makers"
Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting
Media analysis, critiques and activism

A New Blacklist for "Excuse Makers"
Those who think Iraq War sparks terror are "despicable," says Friedman

July 27, 2005

New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman has urged the U.S. government to create blacklists of condemned political speech--not only by those who advocate violence, but also by those who believe that U.S. government actions may encourage violent reprisals. The latter group, which Friedman called "just one notch less despicable than the terrorists," includes a majority of Americans, according to recent polls.

Friedman's July 22 column proposed that the State Department, in order to "shine a spotlight on hate speech wherever it appears," create a quarterly "War of Ideas Report, which would focus on those religious leaders and writers who are inciting violence against others." But Friedman said the governmental speech monitoring should go beyond those who actually advocate violence, and also include what former State Department spokesperson Jamie Rubin calls "excuse makers." Friedman wrote:

"After every major terrorist incident, the excuse makers come out to tell us why imperialism, Zionism, colonialism or Iraq explains why the terrorists acted. These excuse makers are just one notch less despicable than the terrorists and also deserve to be exposed. When you live in an open society like London, where anyone with a grievance can publish an article, run for office or start a political movement, the notion that blowing up a busload of innocent civilians in response to Iraq is somehow 'understandable' is outrageous. 'It erases the distinction between legitimate dissent and terrorism,' Mr. Rubin said, 'and an open society needs to maintain a clear wall between them.'"

The "despicable" idea that there may be a connection between acts of terrorism and particular policies by Western countries is one that is widely held by the citizens of those countries. Asked by the CNN/Gallup poll on July 7, "Do you think the terrorists attacked London today mostly because Great Britain supports the United States in the war in Iraq?" 56 percent of Americans agreed. In a CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll (7/7-10/05), 54 percent said "the war with Iraq has made the U.S....less safe from terrorism." Since they see a connection between Iraq and terrorism, a majority of Americans are what Friedman calls "excuse makers" who "deserve to be exposed."

Friedman's column urged the government to create quarterly lists of "hatemongers" and "excuse makers"--as well as "truth tellers," Muslims who agree with Friedman's critique of Islam. Friedman's proposed list of "excuse makers" would have to include his New York Times colleague Bob Herbert, who wrote in his July 25 column, "There is still no indication that the Bush administration recognizes the utter folly of its war in Iraq, which has been like a constant spray of gasoline on the fire of global terrorism."

Leading members of the U.S. intelligence community might also find themselves on such a blacklist, based on a report summarized earlier this year in the Washington Post (1/14/05):

"Iraq has replaced Afghanistan as the training ground for the next generation of 'professionalized' terrorists, according to a report released yesterday by the National Intelligence Council, the CIA director's think tank.... According to the NIC report, Iraq has joined the list of conflicts--including the Israeli-Palestinian stalemate, and independence movements in Chechnya, Kashmir, Mindanao in the Philippines, and southern Thailand--that have deepened solidarity among Muslims and helped spread radical Islamic ideology."

Though Friedman calls on the State Department to compile the "Top 10 hatemongers" list in a "nondiscriminatory way," it's doubtful that such a list would, in fact, even-handedly include all advocates of violence. It would not be likely, for example, to include someone like Thomas Friedman, who during the Kosovo War (4/6/99) called on the Clinton administration to "give war a chance," writing, "Let's see what 12 weeks of less than surgical bombing does." In a follow-up column (4/23/99) he declared that "Like it or not, we are at war with the Serbian nation," and insisted that "every power grid, water pipe, bridge, road and war-related factory has to be targeted." Despite the fact that by calling for attacks on civilian targets he was advocating war crimes, Friedman should have no fear that he'll find himself on a State Department list of "hatemongers."

Friedman's suggestion that those who seek to understand or explain political violence are not part of "legitimate dissent" comes at a time when calls for censorship are becoming more and more blatant. Bill O'Reilly (Radio Factor, 6/20/05, cited by Media Matters, 6/22/05) made a chilling call for the criminalization war opponents:

"You must know the difference between dissent from the Iraq War and the war on terror and undermining it. And any American that undermines that war, with our soldiers in the field, or undermines the war on terror, with 3,000 dead on 9/11, is a traitor. Everybody got it? Dissent, fine; undermining, you're a traitor. Got it? So, all those clowns over at the liberal radio network, we could incarcerate them immediately. Will you have that done, please? Send over the FBI and just put them in chains, because they, you know, they're undermining everything and they don't care, couldn't care less."

The call for the arrests of Air America Radio hosts was said as though it were a joke, though O'Reilly is deadly serious when he says that the commentators on that network are "undermining" the war--and that such "undermining" is treason.

O'Reilly more recently (7/25/05) went after Herbert's column that argued that the Iraq War fueled terrorism: "Bob Herbert is most likely helping the terrorists, but his hatred of Mr. Bush blinds him to that. He's not alone, but this kind of stuff has got to stop. We're now fighting for our lives. And those helping the enemy will be brought to your attention."

"Attention," rather than arrests, is all that Friedman has threatened "excuse makers" like Herbert with. But it's a small step, as O'Reilly's rhetoric demonstrates, between marginalizing critics of U.S. foreign policy as "just one notch less despicable than the terrorists"--and criminalizing criticism itself.

ACTION: Please let Thomas Friedman know that opponents of the Iraq War do not deserve to be on a government blacklist--even if they oppose the war because they believe it encourages terrorism.

Thomas Friedman
c/o New York Times Editorial Page

As always, please remember that your comments have more impact if you maintain a polite tone.

Read Friedman's column here:
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
lvx35 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-05 02:12 AM
Response to Original message
1. God Thomas Friedman is a dumbass.
Yes, attacking muslim countries will tend to make you a target of terrorist from those countries. Doesn't make the terrorists right, but that's reality. That's why they're not attacking Switzerland you dumass Friedman.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
burrowowl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-05 02:17 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. McCarthyism coming back
like wildfire!
Yes, tell this jek he is a JERK!
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
mrdmk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-05 02:33 AM
Response to Reply #2
4. Yes, the paper of record prints this crap. I have asked the wifey
to cancel the New York Times, but she needs it for her work!
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
wookie294 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-05 02:32 AM
Response to Original message
3. It's past time to stop respecting Friedman
He's a neo-liberal -- which is the same thing as a neoCon. Most Americans don't want to die for his lofty ideals. Let him fight Corporate America's wars and leave the rest of us alone.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
Lecky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-05 05:01 AM
Response to Original message
5. What an arrogant clueless moron
Has the New York Times been invaded by neocons as well?
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
charlie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-05 05:36 AM
Response to Original message
6. So the Flat Earther's got his groove back
He was a little chagrined for a while about his excuse making... erm, naive advocacy for the Neocon Roadshow. Geez Tommy, don't be such a wuss. Let Hitchens handle if you can't, no need to squall for a federal program.

This is the first column in a long time that wasn't posted from a cab in Bangalore. Has the Times cut his travel budget? Must be making him cranky.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
G_j Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-05 07:32 AM
Response to Reply #6
7. lol
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
DU AdBot (1000+ posts) Click to send private message to this author Click to view 
this author's profile Click to add 
this author to your buddy list Click to add 
this author to your Ignore list Wed Sep 19th 2018, 11:20 PM
Response to Original message
Advertisements [?]

Home » Discuss » Archives » General Discussion (Through 2005) Donate to DU

Powered by DCForum+ Version 1.1 Copyright 1997-2002
Software has been extensively modified by the DU administrators

Important Notices: By participating on this discussion board, visitors agree to abide by the rules outlined on our Rules page. Messages posted on the Democratic Underground Discussion Forums are the opinions of the individuals who post them, and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Democratic Underground, LLC.

Home  |  Discussion Forums  |  Journals |  Store  |  Donate

About DU  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy

Got a message for Democratic Underground? Click here to send us a message.

© 2001 - 2011 Democratic Underground, LLC