Saturday, January 8, 2011

"Pop Culture" Or Anti-American, Antisemitic Incitement? The Times Leaves Out Stuff

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By Barry Rubin

Amazing. The New York Times has a long piece about how Turkey is becoming an important factor in Iraq. Fair enough. But it includes the following paragraph:

"A surprising feature of Turkey’s success is the image it has managed to project in Iraq. On the road from Erbil to Baghdad, its pop culture is everywhere....The action series `Valley of the Wolves' is a sensation, the lead actor lending his name to cafes. His own posters are computer-altered to show him in traditional Kurdish or Arab dress — grist for a graduate school seminar on the adaptability of cultural symbols."

Well, how about a graduate school seminar on how the Times censors news? After all, "Valley of the Wolves" is not just an "action series" but a show whose plot is about how Americans are genocidal maniacs trying to murder Arabs--especially Iraqis--and Turks as well as seeking to destroy Islam under the evil direction of horrible demonic Jews who kill people to steal their organs.

A Turkish Islamist newspaper summarizes the Iraq part of the series as showing "American soldiers running amok in northern Iraq," One American who has seen it calls it the first "racist, anti-Christian" film he's ever seen. Another episode shows Israeli soldiers as kidnapping children and murdering civilians on purpose as well as raping Palestinian women.  
 In other words, the film does and is intended to spread anti-Americanism, hatred of Israel, and antisemitism. Presumably, when people in Iraq watch the "action series" that's how it affects them. When in the Netherlands immigrant Muslims flock to see it and cheer the hero it conveys a dangerous political viewpoint likely to produce hatred and violence. So the influence of the current Turkish regime in Iraq is not some harmless "pop culture" phenomenon but the promotion of radical Islamism. An Iraqi who believes this film would be much more likely to go out and shoot an American.

No joke: When one of the Turkish characters was killed off in the series irate fans beat up the actor who played his murderer. That gives you a sense of how provocative this program has been.

This story is one of a long series of such omissions in the newspaper, like the Times' article lavishing praise on Egypt's best-known archaeologist (including portraying him as a moderate who is friendly toward Jews)  without mentioning that he has spread the most vile antisemitic slanders.

So instead of the Times's old slogan, "All the news that's fit to print," one might substitute, "All the news that doesn't show Muslims or Arabs as hating or slandering America and Israel or expressing the equivalent of racism is fit to print.

I'm tempted to satirize this by describing how a Times article of the 1930s might have explained growing German influence in Austria by mentioning how the book Mein Kampf is so popular as a stirring authobiography without further explanation.

Here's another example of such doings from the same article:

"Turkish diplomats...have managed to reach out to unlikely partners, namely the followers of the populist Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr."

So he is a "populist Shiite cleric."  Actually, he's not a cleric but a thug and terrorist. Everyone knows in Iraq that Sadr is one of Iran's main clients there, is close to the Syrians (who sponsor anti-American terrorism in Iraq) and has fought U.S. troops. Might the reader like to know that this initiative is also to a friend of Tehran and an enemy of the United States working hard to align Iraq with the Iran-Syria-Turkish regime-Hamas-Hizballah alliance of revolutionary Islamists, sponsors of terrorism, and terrorists?

I want to make it clear that I have no grudge against the New York Times nor do I have a desire to keep writing about it. It's just that the newspaper (not all reporters, of course, are responsible for this) does so many horrendous things.

In fact, despite the wackiness of the Los Angeles Times, I don't think that all the other daily newspapers in America put together do as much harm as the New York Times to public knowledge, accurate reporting, U.S. interests, and people around the world who don't want to live under radical nationalist or Islamist dictatorships.

Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. His latest books are The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley), and The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan). The website of the GLORIA Center is at and of his blog, Rubin Reports,

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