Dec
04
2013

Why Can't Karzai Be More Blase About US Killing Kids–Like US Press Is?

nyt-afghans-assail

It's not unheard of for journalists to express strong opinions about how the United States should conduct its wars. But sometimes reporters express their opinions by attributing them to others.

Nov
26
2013

Maybe Don't Take Travel Tips From the New York Times

American flag in Benghazi

The New York Times found a place where Americans don't encounter the lack of gratitude they find in countries occupied by US troops. You may have heard of it.

Nov
25
2013

How Many Unnamed Officials Does It Take to Deny Civilian Deaths?

Hamid Karzai (cc photo: Smithsonian/Jim Wallace)

What do you do when the president of another country says US forces killed civilians there? You get US and other allied officials to anonymously deny it.

Mar
16
2012

Do Afghans Love Their Holy Book More Than Their Kids?

I felt like there was something slightly off about this New York Times story yesterday (3/15/12), "In Reactions to Two Incidents, a U.S.-Afghan Disconnect." Reporter Rod Nordland wanted to explore why Afghans seemed so much more outraged over the recent burnings of the Quran than they were about a massacre of 16 civilians by a U.S. servicemember. His piece begins: KABUL, Afghanistan– The mullah was astounded and a little angered to be asked why the accidental burning of Korans last month could provoke violence nationwide, while an intentional mass murder that included nine children last Sunday did not. "How can […]

Aug
24
2011

NYT Points Out 'Racist Overtones' in Libyan Disinformation It Helped Spread

Today's New York Times has a story by David Kirkpatrick and Rod Nordland running down the exaggerations and misinformation that have been spread throughout the Libya War. There's been "spin from all sides," they report. Gadhafi's exaggerations are well-known, but this passage is rather striking: Still, the rebels have offered their own far-fetched claims, like mass rapes by loyalist troops issued tablets of Viagra. Although the rebels have not offered credible proof, that claim is nonetheless the basis of an investigation by the International Criminal Court. And there is the mantra, with racist overtones, that the Gadhafi government is using […]

May
31
2011

Some Muslims Like Us! The Lighter Side of the Libya War

New York Times reporter Rod Nordland (5/29/11) gave readers a lighter look at the war in Libya from rebel-controlled Benghazi. Some versions of the story were actually headlined, "In Benghazi, Warmth for West Doesn't Come from Burning Flags"–which pretty well captures the tone of the piece. Nordland observes: Americans and, for that matter, all Westerners are treated hereabouts with a warmth and gratitude rarely seen in any Muslim country–even those with 100,000 American troops–in probably half a century or more. I'm not sure there's a reliable survey of Muslim hospitality, but the idea that even Iraqis or Afghans aren't fond […]

Aug
06
2010

NYT Passes Along Anonymous Denial of Civilian Deaths

We often heard during the WikiLeaks controversy that civilian deaths in Afghanistan are well-covered in the corporate media, so the revelations in the documents about such incidents were "old news." A report in today's Times from Rod Nordland ("Afghans Say NATO Strikes Killed Civilians," 8/6/10) teaches a useful lesson in how such reporting appears. There are actually two different attacks discussed in the piece, but the more revealing coverage concerns fallout from a July 26 attack. The Afghans say 52 civilians died. But the verdict from the U.S./NATO side is very different–and the Times delivers it via an anonymous source […]