Don's Blog: New York Times Assigns "Army" of Reporters to Investigate Purpose of Iran's Nuclear Program, Ahead of War by U.S.

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Sunday, March 3, 2013

New York Times Assigns "Army" of Reporters to Investigate Purpose of Iran's Nuclear Program, Ahead of War by U.S.

The premier old-style newspaper in the U.S., The New York Times, has decided to tackle the issue of potential warfare between the United States and Iran in a novel way; it is going to investigate, in a big way, the cause of the future war to determine if the cause itself is credible.

Arthur Ochs "Judy" Sulzberger, Jr., Publisher of the newspaper, and son of the former publisher, Arthur Ochs "Punch" Sulzberger, Sr., announced the program at a news conference.

"In the past," Sulzberger said, "media corporations in the United States have tended to operate hand-in-glove with the Federal government when it comes to warfare. We have accepted the surface explanation for going to war without asking too many questions.

"There is a business reason for that model. We could cover the buildup to the war, demonizing whatever nation we were at odds with, and our readers eagerly followed along. Then  we could cover the beginning of the war itself, embedding ourselves with troops, and giving all kinds of funny, ironic, and sad stories; our readers couldn't get enough of those for a while. Later, when we have stayed too long at the fair, or the war, perhaps, we could cover the long buildup of opposition, including anti-war rallies, violent protests, and so forth.

"Look at CNN, who has used the model very successfully for television, breaking new ground even. The Gulf War in 1991 brought CNN millions of first-time viewers, many of whom never even had cable TV before then. Later, in 2003, the fine-tuned it with Sanjay Gupta and his roving "Devil Docs"....Caught us with our pants down, I can tell you.

"This time, we are going to do our homework ahead of time. We are not going to rest until we at the paper, independently, have verified either that Iran's nuclear program is aimed at producing nuclear weapons, or that it is 100 per cent for peaceful purposes. In that way, we will avoid the messy WMD issue, or even the issues that arose, years earlier, with the sinking of the Maine, the incident in the Gulf of Tonkin, even the bombing of Pearl Harbor....There is no need for Americans, or even foreign citizens, for that matter, to die in massive numbers for a false purpose on our end."

Journalists in the room generally appeared skeptical; several wondered if the Times wasn't taking a considerable risk. "Hasn't the old model worked pretty well?" asked Don Lemon of CNN.

"This is the new journalism, " Sulzberger reassured the crowd. "We think it will help build circulation, at least for a while."

Jill Abramson, the paper's executive editor, who sat in a chair next to Sulzberger, didn't seem quite as enthusiastic about the idea.

"Personally," she said quietly, "I'd rather just run another couple of articles about Clarence Thomas's Playboy collection."

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