The media maintained its embargo on President Morsi’s speeches until the New York Times chose to run a piece highlighting both the Memri released video and a second video, featured on Bassem Youssef’s show and now also translated and released by Memri, until the New York Times ran a piece on both videos. This was followed by a condemnation from the White House.
The connection between these two events remains unclear. Did the administration prompt the New York Times to run a piece on the videos so that it could condemn Morsi or did the piece lead to the issue coming up?
The question asked of Carney by Ken Thomas of the AP referenced the “nurse our children on hate” quote from the second video, which was not widely known at the time, and so likely was derived from the New York Times article, followed by Carney reading from a prepared statement condemning the remarks.
The New York Times then ran an editorial expressing a species of bafflement at Morsi’s behavior. “When Mohamed Morsi became Egypt’s president in June, he rose, unknown and untested, from the Muslim Brotherhood to the leader of the most important Arab country. He has made missteps and some truly alarming decisions, but there was still reason to hope that he might grow into the job and become the kind of leader that could benefit Egypt and the region.”
Did the Times seriously believe that Morsi would somehow transcend the Muslim Brotherhood? Did they truly not understand what the Muslim Brotherhood was?
In 6 paragraphs, the Muslim Brotherhood is only mentioned once and with no reference points to its Nazi roots or its pervasive anti-Semitism. It’s as peculiar as an editorial taking David Duke or Hitler to task for their bigotry without ever mentioning their political affiliation.
So what exactly is going on here?
1. The New York Times really is this clueless. It’s not inconceivable. The liberal establishment gets its ideas from the left and is then often completely clueless about their inevitable consequences.
2. This is a show. A carefully staged show whose purpose is to divert attention from something else. And there are a number of candidates for what that something else might be.
The most obvious one is the Hagel nomination. The timing of the two are closely intertwined. Morsi’s comments had been around for a while. A staged condemnation of them however would allow the White House to posture as pro-Israel at an extremely critical period.
Around the same time, Senator Schumer came out of the closet for Chuck Hagel. It is possible that the condemnation was there to give him cover, or perhaps Schumer actually wanted it to happen as part of whatever deal was made behind the scenes to win his support.
These are the two possibilities. Either the Times is dangerously naive about the Middle East. Or it isn’t naive at all.