Wednesday, March 27, 2024

From the Holodomor to Gaza: NYT softfocuses on famine - the spirit of Walter Duranty lives!


When Gareth Jones, a former secretary of David Lloyd George, made a walking tour in Ukrainian agricultural districts in 1933, he wrote a series of articles about the famine and the pitiable state of the villages.

The articles caused a stir. So the New York Times reporter, Walter Duranty, decided to put an end to this. Having talked to Jones and found that he did not report seeing dead people, Duranty turned to the sources the New York Times has always held in highest regard: the government. And looking at the Soviet Government’s account of its agricultural policy, Duranty, who in the article acknowledges “you can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs”, wrote that there was a serious food shortage, but no famine. No indeed.

In an article about Jones, Duranty and the Holodomor in Journalism History, Winter 2014, Ray Ganache writes: “Evidence clearly shows that the newspaper was complicit in duping the public. In a memorandum dated June 4, 1931, A. W. Kliefoth, a member of the U.S. Berlin Embassy, summarized a meeting he had with Duranty. The final sentence of the memorandum read: "In conclusion, Duranty pointed out that 'in agreement with NEW YORK TIMES and the Soviet authorities,' his dispatches always reflect the official position of the Soviet regime and not his own."

Well, the NYT seems determined to return to its Duranty-esque reporting  on the terror famine in Gaza. I was unsurprised, though morally shocked, when NYT’s “analysis” of the split between Biden – who continues to supply arms to Israel – and Netanyahu over the United Nations censoring of Israel with comments from sources within the Biden administration expressing surprise – the censoring of Israel was not “serious” after all – and this bit

 "Mr. Biden is facing outrage from his own supporters and global allies about the toll of civilian deaths in the war against Hamas and Israel’s seeming reluctance to allow into Gaza adequate amounts of food and medicine."

The “seeming reluctance” is definitely an improvement, in the propaganda field, over Duranty’s remark about omelettes. That was, in retrospect, so gross! No, the way you handle your favoured governments atrocities is that you soften them down. You make them sound like, oh, innocent mistakes. Mistakes they might not even know they are making! Surely the Israeli government would just be rushing that food to Gaza’s starving population if there wasn’t something blocking them. It must be just like the reporting on the flour massacre on March 1, where the story’s headline explainer was:  "The deaths of scores of Palestinians in a desperate rush for food aid in northern Gaza..." It leaves one pondering. Did God himself strike down those Palestinians. Or was it the seemingly reluctant machineguns in the hands of seemingly reluctant Israeli soldiers that spewed seemingly reluctant bullets into the heads and hearts and stomachs and legs of scores of Palestinians?

 Your incense is detestable to me.
New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations—
    I cannot bear your worthless assemblies.
14 Your New Moon feasts and your appointed festivals

    I hate with all my being.
They have become a burden to me;
    I am weary of bearing them.
15 When you spread out your hands in prayer,

    I hide my eyes from you;
even when you offer many prayers,
    I am not listening.

Your hands are full of blood!


- Isaiah 1, 13-15


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Duranty used the phrase "you can't make an omelette without breaking eggs" in an article on famine or if famine apparently didn't exist at least hunger did!? And NYT editors didn't say peep. Damn. Eggs might have saved some of the 4 million who starved to death.

- Sophie

Lawrence's Etruscans

  I re-read Women in Love a couple of years ago and thought, I’m out of patience with Lawrence. Then… Then, visiting my in-law in Montpellie...