The New York Times today shattered journalism's fixation on faithfully presenting misinformation, rants and false statements from politicos as unvarnished facts. That misguided practice undermines the credibility of the media.
The Times stood tall today in its coverage of Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann's swing through Egypt.
Joined by conservative Republican colleagues Louie Gohmert of Texas and Steve King of Iowa, Bachmann's purpose was to show support for Egypt's generals, who ousted a democratically elected government, and America’s $1.3B billion in military aid to the Egyptians.
On Egyptian state TV, Bachmann said "We are here as members of Congress to say, 'We are with you, and we encourage you.'"
She tied Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood political organization, which the generals drove from power, to the 9/11 terror attacks.
"We have seen the threat that the Muslim Brotherhood has posed around the world. We stand against this great evil. We remember who caused 9/11. We remember who it was that killed 3,000 brave Americans," the Congresswoman said.
NYT writer David Kirkpatrick pointed out that Bachmann falsely linked the Brotherhood, which still leads opposition to the generals, to the Al-Qaeda attacks on the U.S.
The Brotherhood condemned the 9/11 attacks and is a long-time critic of Al Qeada, which – in turn – raps it for a commitment to non-violence and long-term change.
Kirkpatrick noted that Gohmert compared Egypt’s top general, Abdul-Faytah el-Sisi, to George Washington. The Congressman conveniently overlooked the untidy fact that Sisi gave the order to kill hundreds of unarmed protestors.
The Egyptian government has rounded out political opponents and suspended protection against arbitrary arrests. Those are very un-George Washington moves.
Samer Shephata, political scientist at the University of Oklahoma who studies Egyptian politics and the Brotherhood, told Kirkpatrick the remarks of the Congressional trio were "utterly absurd" and compared their news conference to a "Saturday Night Live skit. Their performance was "unbelievable, ludicrous, almost comic if it wasn’t so painful," added Shephata.
The great and late former Senator from New York, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, once said everybody is entitled to their own opinions, but not their own facts.
Congratulations to the Times for setting the record straight on Bachmann, who mercifully will soon exit the national political stage, and her sidekick Gohmert.
The paper can now move on to global warming, which has many juicy denier targets.