TheNew York Times and "The Other"

as soon as conservativesclaim that there is a liberalmedia biasin the united States, they are more than likely correct. On social issues,daily printmedia in this country, specifically the four significant national dailies, the NewYork Times, the WashingtonPost, the Los AngelesTimes, and also the BostonGlobe, space by-and-large sociallyliberal. By sociallyliberal, I median pro-choice, racially sensitive, feminist-friendly,gay-friendly, and secular. That course, TV media and also weekly print mediaare anentirely different thing; for reasons that others recognize better, TV (thenetworks, CNN, Fox) and also weekly print media (Time, Newsweek)are primarily socially conservative. And, the course, Fox is morefascistthan conservative.

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The scholastic communitylargely adheres to theseliberalbeliefs. Having passed through many humanities departments in manyinstitutionsof greater education, I can attest come the fact that only rarely have Iever metanyone that is no pro-choice, racially sensitive, feminist-friendly,gay-friendly, and also secular. Academics invest a many time beingunderstanding ofthe "other." You would think the this would certainly be a good thing, and also yes,ofcourse it is. Ns strongly support every one of these values.

yet there isalso miscellaneous cloying and annoying about thisbehavior. This is because all of these media, including National PublicRadio,while being socially liberal space all usually politically conservative.

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This is what denudesliberalism inAmerica of all of its power, defangs it, and also makes it worthless andwhiny. Andnowhere is this an ext starkly on display than in the brand-new YorkTimes. Liberals almost everywhere thecountry check out the Timesas a signifier ofintellectualstatus, ~ above Sunday mornings over their coffees or on-line in ~ theircomputers,feeling great about the socially liberal stance.

that satisfiesevery straightforward requirement that the modern liberal position: onsocial issues, the paper serves together a mirror for your very own biases andpreferences, confirming those things that have actually a moral standing in yourworld view, censuring those that room uncivilized. And also on foreignissues, friend learn about the human being through a prism that benevolentcondescension. A few years ago, Catherine Lutz and Jane Collins created abook, Reading nationwide Geographicabout the ways that magazine has actually represented "the other" through thedecades come an inquisitive and predominantly for free American audience.The writers:

assess just how the social narratives ofthe newspaper arereceived

andinterpreted, and identify a tension in between the desire toknow around other peoples andtheir ways and also the wish to validatemiddle-class American values. . . .inpromoting a sort of conservative humanism the acknowledges universalvalues and celebrates diversity when it permits readers come relegate non-Westernpeoples come an previously stage the progress. We view themagazine and also theSociety as a an essential middlebrow arbiter the taste, wealth,and strength in America, andwe obtain a telling glimpse into middle-classAmerican culture and all thewishes, assumptions, and also fears that bringsto be affected by each other on ours armchair explorationsof the world. You can easily instead of the brand-new York times for nationwide Geographic. Normally, Iwouldn"t suppose a newspaper to it is in sensitive around notions of languageand power yet liberals expect and also see the Times together much much more than simply anewspaper. The is a home window into the civilization for countless educated world inthis country. That is thought about an educated forum, not one prone to shyaway from complexities. And also I guess the that"s the can be fried achievementof the new York time --wrapping dumbed under observations around the remainder of the world in thefalse sheen that erudite sophistication. Youcanpickup the record on any given job andthere will certainly be some nice piece on some nation "far away," an evaluationof that society through the prism of modern socially consciousliberalism.
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Wecan feel an excellent aboutexpanding our expertise base around "the other" (where else would youread around Gabon?). We nicely divide "the other" into two camps, the"reformers" (a synonym because that those who interact in the rhetoric that modernWestern liberalism) and also the "radicals" or "orthodox" who cling to"regressive" (i.e., non-Western) notions the governance and also civilsociety.We feeling a pang the sympathy for the former ("these women want to bedrive too!"), and refrain from criticizing the latter (because goodliberals don"t criticize, lock merely explain things), generallyfeeling good once again (we learned however we didn"t criticize!), and also thusaffirmed our global values of celebrate diversity.

One common rhetorical machine is theoft-repeated story about the "Muslim woman." In the brand-new York Times, there"s never ever anyquestion that Islam defines everythingthat happensto women in Muslim countries. (Apoint in reality made much previously by buy it Graham-Brown in a book in thelate 1980s). For them, there"s no other way to understand or locatethese women.And so, where you live, whatever you do, if you have been defined asbeing a Muslim mrs (often characterized for girlfriend by others, of course), yourentire presence is defined asone for or against some abstractnotion that "Islam." Thus, occasionally, the new York times will print somefiery interview v some mrs in California or somewhere that is(gasp) an important of Islam.

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Islam sucks! Screw that crap! Onthe otherhand, it will print a story about women in some generic Arab countrywho are (gasp) proud of attract the veil. Proud of attract the veil?Goldarn it. Over there arebasically 2 positions come take and both arecircumscribed through Islam on the one end and also (liberal) modernity ~ above theother. It would be incomprehensible to think that women from Muslimcountries (in both their own countries or in the U.S.) might haveidentities not conquered by religion. An excellent liberal publications (suchasthe Times) propagate thisdichotomy job in and day the end by publishing photos of females in veilswalking infront the "modern" things. How clever they should think theyare, by having actually their photographers track under that veiled woman infrontof the McDonald"s!! Or imagine the genius it took to chase ~ thatperfect shoot of the veiled mrs infront that the billboard advertisingthe iPod!!

Publishingarticles and also cliched photographs v these themes might not seemparticularly political, but they are around politics—they areabout the politics of culture, a specifically potent type of politicsthat provide fodder for those who are out there yammering on around aclash of civilizations. When the NewYork time represents the foreign "other" in that is newspaper, bytaking an latent political place of modern-day vs. Anti-modern, itdumbs under its socially liberal and tolerant stance to the barest ofits ineffectual essentials. Its insidious strength is the you review thenewspaper as an act of liberal faith -- to get upset around thedisturbing habits of crooked republic or the hypocricy ofright-wing pro-life activists, but then you move to, say, the polite Warin Congo, and you space left through an article that has installed within itthe deep Orientalist assumptions about a people in i m sorry everybodywants to have liberal concepts or everybody no them. The subtleaffirmation of her life here.

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you read, andthen yougoabout your organization in life through nothing changed either way. Over there wasnothing political in that interaction since there to be no commitmentmade come anything. The newspaper reaffirmed every little thing you know, and youwere never confronted with any kind of cognitive dissonance around any worth that youmight hold. For all the news that we got via the document about theworld past America, in ~ the end, we continue to be unchanged, unaltered, andultimately uninformed.

Many people (mostly conservatives)criticize the new York time . . . So my critiqueis simply the incremental fall in the bucket. Part say that, "yes, the time is flawed" but it"s the bestdaily source we have on the world. This is partially true. On worries ofWestern culture (film, music, literature, and social ephemera, bothhigh and also low), the is unrivalled. They likewise do great reporting ondomestic concerns within the U.S. An excellent writers, lock have. There areothers whosay we must read the Timesbecause, even if us disagree withits contents, it"s an essential indicator that the current people as seenby the American elite. True, also. Read it and also learn around the powersthat be. But I quiet think the on international politics, the is aterrible terribleresource. Of course, ns don"t suppose my small diatribe come changeanyone"s behavior,especially those who space addicted to reading the time becauseit offers their stays an imprimatur of notified status......but offer ita try. Protect against reading it. Read various other stuff. Over there are plenty of otherplaces to walk to, particularly if you have accessibility to the web: the L.A.Times, TomDispatch, Democracy Now, etc., etc.FredNo.7 main Page