Almost all organizations have at least short-term institutional memory, and many apprehend a consistent reality based on a set of principles. The New York Times appears unable to achieve either. Christopher Hitchens points this out today in Slate.
I’ve been fond of Chistopher Hitchens since I first became aware of his disillusion with statism upon reading No One Left to Lie To. Part of the attraction is that he is a long time left-wing writer who finally recognized his comrades’ tendency toward lunar orbit, and had the intellectual honesty to say so.
He used to perceive a lot more totalitarian fascism and a lot less totalitarian communism than the real world presents.
I’ll grant that “ totalitarian”, in either case, is redundant. But I consider including the term necessary to remind those for whom it isn’t an automatic assumption beside the word “communism”.
Hitchens is occasionally recidivist regarding statism and he is a hyper-curmudgeon.
He is worth reading. There is the occasional whiff of Orwell.
Today Hitchens writes about mainstream media bias and the nagging question of Iraqi WMD. An excerpt:
As printed, the implication of the story was not dissimilar from the Al-Qaqaa disclosures, which featured so much in the closing days of the presidential election last fall. In that case, a huge stock of conventional high-explosives had been allowed to go missing and was presumably in the hands of those who were massacring Iraqi civilians and killing coalition troops.
It was eye-rubbing to read of the scale of this potential new nightmare. There in cold print was the Al Hatteen “munitions production plant that international inspectors called a complete potential nuclear weapons laboratory.”
My first question is this: How can it be that, on every page of every other edition for months now, the New York Times has been stating categorically that Iraq harbored no weapons of mass destruction? And there can hardly be a comedy-club third-rater or MoveOn.org activist in the entire country who hasn’t stated with sarcastic certainty that the whole WMD fuss was a way of lying the American people into war. So now what? Maybe we should have taken Saddam’s propaganda seriously, when his newspaper proudly described Iraq’s physicists as “our nuclear mujahideen.”
His second question is worth reading, also.