Dateline: 43rd Street

How the ‘Times’ Straddles the Globalization Debate

The Times' attitude about crusades can also be detected in its coverage of paramilitary massacres in northwestern Colombia. First, consider the view from another paper: On August 3, The Washington Post reported that the Colombian government has abandoned efforts to stop the paramilitaries from killing civilians in a region that lies north of Medellín.

It was a dire story, and by the fourth graf, Scott Wilson had made it clear that the U.S. bears some responsibility, considering all the money it spends on Plan Colombia. "The absence of government has left a vacuum in which armed groups flourish across the country. The state's abiding weakness is an element of Colombia's war often overlooked in Washington."

Five days later, the Times ran a similar story by Juan Forero. Like Wilson, Forero traveled to a region where paramilitaries "have stepped up the killing." But whereas Wilson focused on families of the massacre victims, Forero interviewed the ranchers who have paid off the right-wing paramilitaries in exchange for protection.

On August 11, the Times ran another Forero story, this one promoting the same ranchers' plan to begin exporting their beef to the world. There was no mention that the ranchers are in bed with the murderers, but then, that's something Americans apparently don't care about. At heart, Rosenthal may be more pro-globalization than he is letting on.


ccotts@villagevoice.com

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