Tuesday, August 08, 2006


I’ve referred to New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman roughly a half-dozen times in this blog, each time bashing him as uselessly obtuse and confused. I’ve called him “deranged,” an idiot, theorized he’s “absolutely fucking nuts,” “wrong-headed,” a weirdo, “off the rails,” a babbler, a “bright-eyed rube,” someone struggling to “stay on his meds.”

But now I feel like the idiot, because he’s none of the above.

What he is, it turns out, is an extraordinarily wealthy man — living in a $9.3 million home, married into a family with an estimated worth of $2.7 billion — essentially working undercover as a shill, a beard, a stalking horse for his class, nine times out of 10 espousing cynically self-serving ideas in the guise of globalized idealist.

Struggling to see clearly into the reasoned, liberal penumbra of the Times, I imagined him to be smart but misguided, intellectually isolated by the shock of 9/11 but worth listening to for signs of recovery. In fact, his dangerous opinions (Iraq is a grand experiment we should support! It’s a flat flat flat flat world, and we should embrace a globalized economy because it’s so exciting to compete!) are nothing but the standard arguments of an elite who doesn’t have to care what happens to the rest of us — and doesn’t.

His biography on the Times’ Web site somehow fails to give full disclosure of his immense wealth or suggest how it may affect his views or writing; David Sirota, writing late last month on Huffingtonpost.com, fills in the missing details.

I’ve rolled my eyes uncountable times after reading Friedman’s columns, but never caught on to why they’re so overwhelmingly misguided. Despite my acknowledgment that I was a willing participant in my own deception, that doesn’t mean I feel any less deceived. Or angry.

With the very rare exception, notably his columns on GM feeding American’s oil addiction, Friedman does not write as one of us. He is, in fact, one of them — a member of one of the 100 richest families in the country, according to Washingtonian Magazine, one of those who are not hurt by war or globalism and thus cannot honestly discuss it from the level of one who is.

Spread the word: Friedman doesn’t write nonsense; he writes propaganda.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I sat next to him once on a long overseas flight in business class.

Here's my theory: They, meaning "star columnists," begin to play a part in what they write because it fills a niche. He's like a character in an overall NYT entertainment package.