Imperial Messenger : Thomas Friedman at Work
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Thomas Friedman has been a New York Times foreign affairs columnist since 1995. He has written five books, three of which have won the Pulitizer Prize. He is said by many to be a principled observer of international events and an even-handed analyst of American policy. But Belen Fernandez's acerbic close reading of Friedmans voluminous oeuvre reveals instead a ham-fisted apologist for US military excesses and neoliberal corporate policies as well as a risibly bad writer. Fernandez carefully reviews the Friedman corpus, and her documentation of Friedman's sloppy mistakes, inconsistencies, willful ignoring of contradictory evidence, and sheer illogic is both appalling and amusing. Written with a light touch entirely lacking in Friedman's own prose, Fernandez's dissection is engrossing, but also quite serious. To take one example, Friedman's recycling of outdated Orientalist notions about Arab backwardness and fabrications of pro-Israeli truths convey a dangerously distorted picture of one of his areas of self-proclaimed expertise. In Fernandez's analysis, Friedman emerges as both exceptionally dreadful and symptomatic of the laziness of the mainstream media of our times. About the series: Counterblasts is a new Verso series that aims to revive the tradition of polemical writing inaugurated by Puritan and leveller pamphleteers in the seventeenth century, when in the words of one of them, Gerard Winstanley, the old world was â??running up like parchment in the fire.â? From 1640 to 1663, a leading bookseller and publisher, George Thomason, recorded that his collection alone contained over twenty thousand pamphlets. such polemics reappeared both before and during the French, Russian, Chinese and Cuban revolutions of the last century. In a period of conformity where politicians, media barons and their ideological hirelings rarely challenge the basis of existing society, itâ??s time to revive the tradition. Versoâ??s Counterblasts will challenge the apologists of Empire and Capital.