by Ahmed Amr
The name Safire, as in William Safire of the New York
Times, is a name they recognize well at the State Department. He is one of
the high priests of Sulzberger's New York Times empire which has a
franchise to dictate terms to the State Department. Of course, it is
Safire himself who appears to be taking in dictation work these days from
his old pal, Ariel Sharon. Before you read on, note that the Boston Globe
is also a publication owned by Sulzberger. Is their a civil war breaking
out among the Yiddish Supremacists? Or is Sulzberger trying to deflect
some of the damage that is bound to come his way as a result of
transforming his media empire into just another corner of the Israeli
Lobby? Who cares? Let Sulzberger explain his shadow government's antics.
But do read on.
"Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon is not one of the
world's great or eager orators. His public pronouncements tend to be
brusque and infrequent. Yet, in a time of crisis, Sharon has chosen an
unusual way to communicate with the United States, whose support is
strategically vital. He uses New York Times columnist and ideological soul
mate William Safire as a press secretary.
On numerous occasions since Sharon's
election in February of last year, Safire has written columns
quoting the prime minister at some length on subjects of peace and war. "
(Mark Jurkowitz, The Boston Globe 4/10/2002, For Sharon, Times' Safire is
a column of support).
Jurkowitz goes on to note that "the Times doesn't seem
to be averse to having columnists serve as de facto diplomats: Thomas
Friedman, who won a Pultizer Prize this week, is a midwife of the recent
Saudi peace plan." And Safire delights in boasting of his intimate
relationships with this particular war criminal. He is quoted as saying
that "whenever he would come to America, he would call me and we would
have lunch or breakfast. I stayed in touch with him. ... If I can get
through to him when others can't, I'm delighted.''
More from Jurkowitz on the Sharon/Safire marraige "in
return for that extraordinary access, Safire is clearly serving as an
unabashed propaganda outlet for the hard-line Israeli leader. The more
intriguing question is whether he's also presenting a sanitized - and more
palatable - version of Sharon to the American public."
And on a final note Jurkowitz writes that "Safire says
he's heard nary a peep from his bosses about his handling of Sharon,
noting that ''anything to do with content is never intruded upon.'' That's
the way it should be. But when a columnist turns stenographer for a head
of state - or a ''warrior-patriarch,'' as Safire has called Sharon - the
public ought to be wary."
Of course, considering that Jurkowitz is also employed
by Sulzberger's publisher, It is not suprising that his criticism of the
Safire/Sharon alliance is so mild. A more strident critique of the New
York Times and its arsenal of war criminals can be located by following