Former New York Times Executive Editor Defends the Indefensible


Stephen Lendman

From 2003 until September 2011, Bill Keller was Times executive editor. Earlier he was a reporter and Washington bureau chief.

He’s now an op-ed columnist and Times Magazine contributor. His columns are best avoided. They shun truth and full disclosure. They avoid telling readers what they most need to know.

Former New York Times Executive  Editor Defends the Indefensible

Managed news misinformation substitutes. All of it fit to print isn’t fit to read. It’s typical Times journalism.

Readers are cheated. They’re betrayed. They deserve better. Growing millions seek it. Alternative media sources provide it.

One day perhaps they’ll entirely replace sanitized corporate ┬ájournalism. It can’t come a moment too soon.

George Seldes (1890 – 1995) called corporate journalists of his day “prostitutes of the press.” This writer calls them paid liars. Paul Craig Roberts calls them “presstitutes.”

They “whore for Washington and the corporations,” he explains. “(T)he entire Western media (establishment is) a collection of bought-and-paid-for whores.”

“Real new is their last concern.” They shun it. They abhor it. They avoid it at all costs. Seldes-type journalism is verboten.

What Chicago columnist Mike Royko (1932 – 1997) once said about Murdock broadsheets applies across the board. “(N)o self-respecting fish would (want to) be wrapped in” a major media publication.

Imagine a scoundrel media free world. Imagine only credible sources. Imagine an idea whose time has come.

The Times is the closest thing in America to an official ministry of information and propaganda. It masquerades as real news, commentary and analysis.

It supports powerful government and corporate interests. It shuns populist ones. When America goes to war or plans one, it marches in lockstep.

It ignores Washington’s collusion with Wall Street. It supports wrong over right. It whitewashes dark forces destroying fundamental freedoms.

It’s comfortable about powerful interests running America. It’s unconcerned about an unprecedented wealth gap. Depression level poverty, homelessness, hunger and human misery get short shrift.

Police state repression gets no coverage. Journalism the way it should be is systematically spurned. America uber alles is featured. Lies substitute for truth.

Keller’s worried. On October 27, he headlined “Is Glenn Greenwald the Future of News?”

He and Greenwald exchanged comments. He credited him with perhaps the year’s biggest news story.

Snowden’s revelations are extremely important. Greenwald works with him. Americans now know lawless spying is official US policy. It targets them. It directly harms their well-being.

Keller and Greenwald “come at journalism from different traditions,” he said.

He lied saying he “put(s) a premium on aggressive but impartial reporting.” A previous article exposed wrong questions he asked about war.

He admitted earlier mistakes. He didn’t correct them. In 2001, he claimed protecting America’s “national interest” required “go(ing) after the homicidal zealots” responsible for 9/11, “and the Afghan regime that hosted them.”

Taliban officials, bin Laden, and others associated with them had nothing to do with 9/11. The Big Lie of our time was state-sponsored terrorism.

Keller knows or should. He lied to readers. He called lawless aggression the right thing to do.

Francis Boyle called Bush’s Afghan war “clearly illegal. (It) cannot be justified on the facts or the law.”

It created a humanitarian disaster. The same holds wherever America shows up. Mass slaughter, destruction and human misery follow.

Discredited reporter Judith Miller worked for Keller during the Iraq war. Daily Pentagon propaganda substituted for real news. Keller gave it prominent front page space. WMD lies were featured.

He supported Obama’s war on Libya. Naked aggression masqueraded as humanitarian intervention. Daily violence and charnel house conditions persist.

Don’t expect Keller to explain. He lies for power. He supports Obama’s war on Syria. He wants direct intervention. He pilloried Vladmir Putin’s efforts to prevent it.

He lied calling Assad a chemical weapons abuser. He wrongfully blames him for Western-enlisted death squad crimes. “(G)etting Syria right starts with getting over Iraq,” he says.

Both countries are cauldrons of violence. Washington bears full responsibility. So do supportive media scoundrels.

Promoting wars provide cover for waging them. They enlist public support. They do so based on lies.

Keller claims “the kind of journalism The Times and other mainstream news organizations practice – at their best – includes an awful lot to be proud of.”

He, current Times editors and reporters knew about lawless spying. They knew years ago. They stayed silent. They said nothing.

They obeyed Bush administration requests. In December 2005, they reported what should have been featured earlier.

Post-9/11, lawless spying became official US policy. Times editors were silent. Keller remains proud. He’s got lots of explaining to do.

He wrongfully called Greenwald’s writing activist journalism. Reporting vital truths reflects the best of what journalists are supposed to do. Suppressing them reflects the worst.

He claims “most readers trust (The Times) because they sense that we have done due diligence, not just made the case.” He ignored growing numbers abandoning it and other traditional sources because they don’t.

He deplores Greenwald type exposes. He strongly disagrees with him excoriating mainstream media’s “allegiance to protecting the interests and policies of the US government.”

He lied claiming Times journalism is polar opposite. At the same time, he admitted suppressing information Washington considers harmful to national security. In other words, the full truth on issues mattering most.

So-called security threats don’t exist. America’s only enemies are ones it invents. Doing so reflects imperial priorities. Keller knows. He didn’t explain.

Greenwald is right saying good journalism requires “informing the public of accurate and vital information, and provid(ing) a truly adversarial check on those in power.”

Journalism’s job above all is truth and full disclosure. Especially on issues mattering most.

It’s comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable. It’s speaking truth to power. It’s getting the facts right and reporting them. All of them. Especially those most sensitive.

It’s going head-to-head with entrenched interests. It’s giving no quarter telling all. It’s doing what Keller, Times editors, and other media scoundrels systematically avoid.

Journalism the way it should be is verboten. It’s a longstanding Times tradition. It’s perhaps worse today than ever. It’s scandalous.

Paul Craig Roberts calls today’s presstitute media “America’s greatest affliction.”

America’s wars are based on lies. “(N)o presstitute member of the media would dare” admit it.

None believe rule of law principles are sacrosanct. None challenge Washington’s war on freedom.

Fronting for power substitutes for doing their job. Accountability is someone else’s problem.

Keller lied claiming otherwise. “(A)ccountability begins at home,” he said. The proof is in the pudding.

Times journalism falls woefully short. Today is the most perilous time in world history. Times editors support responsible dark forces.

Naked aggression is glorified in the name of peace. Imperial wars are called liberating ones. Managed news enlists public support.

America ravages and destroys one nation after another or in multiples. Exploitation follows. Monied interests alone benefit.

Patriotism means going along with ruthlessness. Sacrificing human lives and freedoms are small prices to pay. Humanity is at risk but who cares.

Times and other media scoundrels aid and abet state crimes. Militarism and perpetual wars reflect official US policy. Peace is spurned to wage them. Might overrides right.

Resistance is called terrorism. Democracy is a convenient illusion. Fealty to power substitutes for doing their job. Keller and likeminded scoundrels defend the indefensible. Don’t expect them to explain.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at

His new book is titled “Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity.”

Visit his blog site at

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