Robert Worth, staff writer for the New York Times Magazine, wrote a “news analysis” for the paper's Sunday Review, “The Arab Intellectuals Who Didn’t Roar,” suggesting the Arab spring needs a Communist tyrant like Lenin or Mao to become a symbol of “people’s aspirations.”
More than 10 months after it started with the suicide of a Tunisian fruit vendor, the great wave of insurrection across the Arab world has toppled three autocrats and led last week in Tunisia to an election that many hailed as the dawn of a new era. It has not yielded any clear political or economic project, or any intellectual standard-bearers of the kind who shaped almost every modern revolution from 1776 onward. In those revolts, thinkers or ideologues -- from Thomas Paine to Lenin to Mao to Vaclav Havel – helped provide a unifying vision or became symbols of a people’s aspirations.
The accompanying text box was even more ridiculous: “The upheavals of the Middle East lack a Mao or a Thomas Paine. Do they need one?”
It’s not the first Worth article to nod and wink at Communism. A Worth piece in the February 24, 2002 of the paper’s “Week in Review” drew the wrath of the MRC’s Brent Baker:
...Morton Kondracke of Roll Call condemned a Sunday New York Times "Week in Review" piece which began: "As President Bush toured Asia last week, some world leaders worried publicly that the war on terrorism was starting to look suspiciously like the last great American campaign -- against Communism." As if that’s a bad thing?
"The first victims of anti-Communist hysteria were immigrants, and hundreds of immigrants have been detained since Sept. 11, many with little apparent cause beyond the fact that they were Middle Eastern men." Worth warned: "The McCarthy years in some ways were eerily similar to the present moment."
After quoting Attorney General John Ashcroft as saying, "a calculated, malignant, devastating evil has arisen in our world. Civilization cannot afford to ignore the wrongs that have been done," Worth asserted: "It is not hard to see in Mr. Ashcroft's language traces of what the historian Richard Hofstadter famously described as ‘the paranoid style in American politics.’"
During the roundtable on Monday’s Special Report with Brit Hume, Kondracke opined: "The editors of the Week in Review section ought to be ashamed of themselves. This piece belongs in the Nation or the Progressive or some other, you know, America-hating publication. I mean the idea, just the whole premise of the piece was that communism was okay and that to have an American campaign against communism was somehow bad."