Dec
16
2010

For Real Criticism of Holbrooke, Go Beyond NYT

In the proud tradition of objective journalism, the New York Times included both positive and negative views of Afghan envoy Richard Holbrooke in its December 14 obituary:

Some called him a bully, and he looked the part: the big chin thrust out, the broad shoulders, the tight smile that might mean anything. To admirers, however, including generations of State Department protégés and the presidents he served, his peacemaking efforts were extraordinary.

On the one hand, the big chin and a tight smile; on the other, the extraordinary peacemaking efforts. The Times leaves it to you, the reader, to decide for yourself which is more important.

In reality, of course, Holbrooke was called much worse than a bully; he's been criticized for facilitating genocide in East Timor, for delivering the designed-to-be-rejected ultimatum that started the Kosovo War and for cheering the military targeting of journalists. If you'd like to see what an actual critic has to say about Holbrooke's career, rather than relying on the Times' false balance, read Steven Zunes' piece in Huffington Post (12/15/10), "Richard Holbrooke Represented the Worst Side of the Foreign Policy Establishment."

About Jim Naureckas

Extra! Magazine Editor Since 1990, Jim Naureckas has been the editor of Extra!, FAIR's monthly journal of media criticism. He is the co-author of The Way Things Aren't: Rush Limbaugh's Reign of Error, and co-editor of The FAIR Reader: An Extra! Review of Press and Politics in the '90s. He is also the co-manager of FAIR's website. He has worked as an investigative reporter for the newspaper In These Times, where he covered the Iran-Contra scandal, and was managing editor of the Washington Report on the Hemisphere, a newsletter on Latin America. Jim was born in Libertyville, Illinois, in 1964, and graduated from Stanford University in 1985 with a bachelor's degree in political science. Since 1997 he has been married to Janine Jackson, FAIR's program director. You can follow Jim on Twitter at @JNaureckas.