By Richards Murphy
At a time that the media industry, globally, is confronting dwindling revenue for a host of reasons, it appears the New York Times is yet to fully harness the full potentials of revenue models available to it. New York Times only needs apply a little touch to its so called investigative stories to deliver a readymade blockbuster script to Hollywood in the fiction category. A recent piece by the publication, “They Fled Boko Haram, Only to Be Raped by Nigeria’s Security Forces” would break the cinema once appropriately titled “Travesty” or “Multiple Jeopardy”.
The piece tells the story of Falmata, a teenager who was repeatedly raped by Boko Haram abductors only to fall into the hands of military rapists when she escaped from the terrorists. Consistent with Hollywood standards of scripting these kind of flick, there is a near happy ending as “Falmata now lives with her grandmother, but is too ashamed to tell her what happened. Someday, she hopes to continue her education and become a lawyer. She wants to represent the powerless.”
The “travesty” is not that fourteen-year-old Falmata was reportedly abused and exploited by persons who should be protecting her from terrorists; the travesty is that New York Times is again shamelessly peddling its crisis entrepreneur wares to the unwary world. In that single piece the American media organization encapsulated its arrogance, cowboy impunity and disdain for races other than the ones it holds as superior – a justification for its persistent agenda for the destabilization of other countries.
This same New York Times, between September 2002 and June 2003, frantically reported how Saddam Hussein of Iraq possessed a frightening arsenal of “Weapons of Mass Destruction”, which turned out to not only be a lie but such agenda driven journalism laid the foundation for the chaos that today reigns supreme in Iraq. Writing in ‘The Public Editor” section of the paper, Daniel Okrent on May 30, 2004 quoted a Bill Keller as admitting that there was an internal examination of the flawed journalism that contributed to misleading the world about the weapons of mass destruction hoax.
There is no debate as to whether the likes of New York Times were remorseful about the lies and pandering to the agenda of bloodthirsty western politicians in reporting once stable countries into crises. The glee with which New York Times marketed the “Arab Spring” as the next best thing since the discovery of anti-biotics is enough proof that once a group of entitled people become addicted to lying to destroy others there is no turning back.
The Arab Spring, contrary to what New York Times and others in the ‘Fake Mainstream Media’ (credits to President Donald Trump) want us to believe, the countries that were touted as being on the way to becoming democratic free market entities are everything but that. Almost all the nations whose citizens were gullible enough to be misled by the idyllic Arab Spring today wish they were more circumspect of being misled with the kind of special report/coverage offered by such entities. Egypt is stuck under a metamorphosed military al-Sisi, Libya is the definition of hell, Yemen is a Houthi rebels’ hotbed with the worst humanitarian crisis in history, Syria is a disaster playing on a loop and they all combine to birth the Islamic State (ISIL) to which Boko Haram is a franchise.
In practical terms, to the extent that the kind of journalism it engages gave rise to ISIL, New York Times should accept part responsibility for the ascendancy of Boko Haram. It should apologize to Falmata and to every other woman ever raped by the terrorists. The horror it midwifed in the Middle East spread through the Maghrib and the Sahara to manifest as an embolden Boko Haram in North East Nigeria. This is bad enough on its own without New York Times attempting to shift the blame to the Nigerian military as it attempted to do in “They Fled Boko Haram, Only to Be Raped by Nigeria’s Security Forces”.
Even the report it attempted to use for this is flawed in the New York Times Tradition.
First, the story is mostly a rehash of old reports offering nothing new save to sensationalize the accounts of one survivor in a manner that both shocks readers and advance its larger agenda.
Secondly, it is appalling that it presented the government, military and police response in only 143 words for a story length in excess of 1600 words and completely repressed the fact that all the affected agencies have taken steps to deal with the situation.
Furthermore, what will likely be achieved by the New York Times article is to keep security forces away from the displaced persons’ camps, which is just what Boko Haram fighters want to be able to resume attacks on the population of these facilities.
Those with capacity to contain the excesses of New York Times should thus immediately call it to order now that it is back on the offensive against Nigeria. It has demonstrated sufficient lack of capacity for remorse even in the face of its past errors and those running the publication must now be thought to have the thinnest filament of conscience to help them appreciate that it is human life they toy with each time to push their agenda.
Murphy, a security expert sent this contribution from Calabar.