The New York Times, first losing touch, then losing control
by The Editorial Board
ISTANBULJan 18, 2017 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by The Editorial Board
Jan 18, 2017 12:00 am
When the elites of a country and their enablers in the media begin to lose touch with ordinary people, they tend to become fringe representatives of their own interests, belittling anyone who does not think or act like them. However, once they start to reap what they sow and sense that their status as upholders of the status quo is nearing its end, these so-called crème de la crème of the nation suddenly become conveyors of hate-filled primitive propaganda against their own people.
Any impartial observer, who has an inkling of how things were in Turkey before 2002, would justify the public turning its back on the establishment and choosing to support the then-newly-founded Justice and Development Party (AK Party). The Turkish people rallied behind Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the former mayor of Istanbul, to save their country from the Ankara establishment and as the subsequent elections have proven, have not regretted their choice ever since. Still, the certain elites both within Turkey and abroad attack the change, preferring the status quo irrespective of the people's will. Their arrogance, compounded with hostility to change that threatens their welfare, continues to know no bounds.
On Nov. 8, the American electorate sent a very similar message to the powers that be. They rejected the bankrupt establishment that ignored their interests and welfare and chose to go with a New Yorker with the mandate to "drain the swamp."
While nothing alike in their public and private lives, the response they elicited from the establishment is remarkably similar.
In both cases, the hegemonic media elites responded with a perpetual smear campaign. For years, Erdoğan was called many things that Donald Trump supporters would recognize immediately – inexperienced, ignorant, inept. They just can't handle the fact that the people would elect an individual who abhors everything they represent. Time will tell whether Trump will be able to keep his word, but what's important is the fact that Americans have given him the mandate to do so. It's now up to him.
In truth, the Western media's problem with the Turkish president was his eagerness to speak inconvenient truths: He criticized the Obama administration for the bloodshed in Syria, took a jab at the European Union for their (mis)treatment of refugees and called for a reform of the United Nations Security Council. Eventually, the Western establishment's frustration with Turkey's unwillingness to do their bidding evolved into a narrative on the country – which is reproduced in editorials and news stories alike.
A string of recent editorials in The New York Times that take aim at both Trump and Erdoğan bare its incomprehension of how such developments can happen despite its "wise" counsel. The evident anger felt results in venomous rhetoric in the guise of editorials.
In the latest attack by the newspaper, an editorial it published last week criticized Erdoğan's praise for Trump's refusal to talk to a CNN reporter at a news conference. To be clear, the people, whom we came to know and love for their Upper-East-Side self-righteousness, outdid themselves this time by arguing that Fetullah Gülen and members of his criminal gang had nothing to do with the July 15 coup attempt – even though Gülen himself had to admit that some Gülenist operatives were indeed among the coup plotters. Legal action taken against two employees of Doğan Holding, the parent company of several media outlets in Turkey, was presented a crackdown on "independent voices."
The NYT editorial was not just about a bunch of out-of-touch individuals in Manhattan tricking themselves into believing that they call the shots. It was also intended to remind the next president of the United States that the establishment will fight back.