Former NYT Bureau Chief Wants Greek-style Riots in US - Media Silent
"Here’s to the Greeks," wrote Chris Hedges at Truthdig.com. "They know what to do when corporations pillage and loot their country." Riot, by Hedges's account, is the correct response. That the riots in Greece have so far killed three innocent people doesn't seem to bother him.
Oh but it's not violence borne of a frustration with an unsustainable welfare state that finally reached the inevitable conclusion of skyrocketing public benefits coupled with a fast-shrinking population. No, the riots are "a struggle for liberation" against the oppressive bourgeoisie (capitalists). Hedges is advocating in no vague terms mass political violence. The response from the media: crickets.
Greeks, Hedges writes,
know what to do when Goldman Sachs and international bankers collude with their power elite to falsify economic data and then make billions betting that the Greek economy will collapse. They know what to do when they are told their pensions, benefits and jobs have to be cut to pay corporate banks, which screwed them in the first place. Call a general strike. Riot. Shut down the city centers. Toss the bastards out. Do not be afraid of the language of class warfare—the rich versus the poor, the oligarchs versus the citizens, the capitalists versus the proletariat. The Greeks, unlike most of us, get it.Language really does not get much more violent and incendiary than that. Hedges is a rhetorical bomb-thrower, but by the mainstream media's standards, he might as well be an actual bomb-thrower.
Journalists have condemned language for less, after all. For months, we have heard that heated rhetoric at tea party rallies could dangerously provoke protesters -- despite the total absence of violence at those rallies. Now we have actual violence taking place across the Atlantic, and an American journalist advocating its importation -- all at a time when populist tensions are dangerously high in the United States.
Hedges isn't holding a sign demanding that we "water the tree of liberty with the blood of patriots and tyrants." The utterance of that Thomas Jefferson quote at a tea party was enough to send media liberals into hysterics. He is condoning the murder of innocent Greeks, and suggesting that Americans whip up some populist violence of their own.
Along the way, Hedges manages to regurgitate every leftist cliche concerning capitalism, globalization, conservatism, and the evil corporations devised since 1960. His opinions are his, and the piece at Truthdig is commentary. He is wrong in virtually all these areas, but it is not the job of the news media to debunk every wackjob conspiracy theory and accusation of white collar crime uttered by the liberal intelligentsia.
It is the media's self-appointed duty, however, to report fairly and accurately, regardless of political considerations. Yet even after condemning rhetoric on the right for supposedly inciting violence, major media outlets -- beyond Hedges's former employer -- have not only been completely silent on his advocacy of violence, but have even given him a platform to voice his radical views.
As Reason's Matt Welch points out,
Hedeges' recent apocalyptic tear (which has resonance for at least some libertarians, not to mention Pagans) includes urging on sabotage two months ago, and calling corporations "little Eichmanns" last week. And this is no fringe character here–Hedges continues to receive respectful hearings in the Washington Post, Philadelphia Inquirer, Vancouver Sun, et al, and just last week he was named a finalist for the L.A. Press Club's Online Journalist of the Year. You will search in vain for any mention of Hedges by the scores of journalistic commenters who have been warning for more than a year now (inaccurately, in my opinion) about impending political violence, inciteful right-wing rhetoric, and borderline sedition.In short, memebers of the the journalistic establishment continue not only to give Hedges's opinions fair hearings, but even to lend their respective megaphones and give awards to a man who believes that fatal political violence is commendable, and should be replicated on the home front.