Yesterday I began my series of primers on how to read the Los Angeles Times without getting taken in by its liberal bias. Today’s lesson is one of the trickiest, but also one of the most important: Don’t take anything at face value.
For example, take the case of Bill Arkin, who writes opinion pieces on military issues for the Times. Arkin’s latest column is a diatribe against the use of certain non-lethal weapons in combat. His Times byline describes him simply as “a military affairs analyst who writes regularly for Opinion.”
Don’t take this description at face value, as there is more to Arkin than meets the eye. Once you know where he’s coming from, you will not be surprised to learn that his pieces are chock-full of liberal claptrap.
For starters, you may recall Arkin as the guy who manufactured a quote from Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin in October of 2003. You may read more about that here.
Spurred by this blatant misuse of quotation marks, Hugh Hewitt published this Weekly Standard article laying out Arkin’s background. It turns out that this “military affairs analyst” used to be a former activist in Greenpeace and several other leftist organizations.
But it doesn’t stop there. It appears that Hewitt may have actually been too kind to Arkin. Hewitt concluded that, in recent times, Arkin “has taken more mainstream work as a senior fellow at the School for Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University.” But yesterday, I received an e-mail from Armed Liberal (a brilliant media observer at the Winds of Change blog) which casts considerable doubt on any conclusion that Arkin has gone “mainstream.”
Armed Liberal points out that Arkin’s e-mail address, listed in his byline, traces to igc.org, the home page for a radical leftist organization called the “Institute for Global Communications.” (Note: In my research of this organization, I learned that this point was discussed, albeit in less detail, at AmericanDigest.org in October.)
The home page for igc.org is fascinating. It contains prominent links to such leftist sites as PeaceNet, AntiRacismNet, Women’sNet, and EcoNet. A recurring message scrolls across the home page, stating:
IGC Internet is about advancing the work of progressive organizations and individuals for peace, social justice, and sustainability through the strategic use of the internet.
A list of links to leftist articles adorns the right side of the home page. The home page contains a link to a page titled “About IGC,” which explains the origins of the organization:
Beginning in 1987, the Institute for Global Communications (IGC) played a formative role in bringing advanced communications technologies to grassroots organizations worldwide working for peace, human rights, environmental sustainability, women’s rights, conflict resolution and worker rights.
If you click on the link to “Advocacy Tips,” you will find a list of leftist organizations supported by the site. If you then click on a link at the bottom of the page that says “Donate,” you will go to a page that seeks your money by delivering this blatantly leftist pitch:
The Bush administration has abandoned diplomacy, shunned international alliances and ignored the largest global demonstrations for peace in history. Meanwhile pressing domestic concerns — such as a flagging economy, a continuing health care crisis and constant assaults on the environment and civil liberties — are either pushed to the side or exacerbated by an aggressive and unchecked administration.
But as bombs drop and the war machines roll, we must not abandon the fight for peace and justice. Organizations working to stop the war and advance peaceful, diplomatic and just alternatives to war need financial support today.
When you send an e-mail to Bill Arkin, you send it care of this radical leftist organization. This is where Bill Arkin is coming from, ladies and gentlemen. Yet the Los Angeles Times would have you think of him as simply a “military affairs analyst.”
I can’t think of a better illustration of the principle: Don’t take anything at face value.
(Cross-posted at Oh, That Liberal Media.)