In Which the NY Times Suddenly Decides It Respects Noam Chomsky

Noam Chomsky

The Times ran a serious and substantive story two days ago about Noam Chomsky’s attempt to persuade Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez to free a judge from house arrest. Look out for tomorrow’s follow-up story, in which Ethan Bronner devotes a respectful 600 words to Chomsky’s thoughts on the Gaza Flotilla.


  1. Donald Pruden a/k/a The Enemy Combatant October 25, 2011 at 11:16 am | #

    “Mr. Chomsky’s willingness to press for Judge Afiuni’s release shows how the president’s aggressive policies toward the judiciary have stirred unease among some who are generally sympathetic to Mr. Chávez’s socialist-inspired political movement.”

    The New York Times is assuming that it is Chomsky’s actions that “have stirred unease among some” who have sympathy to President Chavez’s movement rather than, say, the suspect imprisonment of Judge Afiuni. Leave it to this “some” (“leftists”) to be peachy-keen with a the imprisoning and abuse of cancer-ridden judges, and to feel “unease” with Professor Chomsky’s intervention on the said judge’s behalf, an intervention motivated by humanitarian concern deriving from and connected to a critique of the highly problematic use of executive power. Note that the Times does not actually cite anyone who could be moved to “unease” by Chomsky’s actions — but is willing to indulge a little left-baiting in the phrase suggesting that this “unease” feeling bunch have sympathy for Chavez’s socialist inspired movement. After all, we know that socialists just want to imprison judges suffering from dread diseases. “Death Panels”, anyone?

  2. Donald Pruden a/k/a The Enemy Combatant October 25, 2011 at 11:25 am | #

    Oops! I think I might have mis-read the quote. Of course any decent leftist would have serious unease with the abuse of the judiciary by an executive, and would cheer Chomsky’s actions. It is not Chomsky who brings unease, but a president that does not respect the judiciary’s independence. At least we are found to be capable of being troubled by some of Chavez’s actions in this regard. It was not always thus — and generally, it still ain’t!

  3. Cavoyo November 11, 2012 at 1:51 am | #

    Didn’t Chomsky write about this in one of his books once? He called it worthy and unworthy victims I think.

  4. GCM March 16, 2013 at 8:32 pm | #

    On humanitarian grounds, sure, but the NYT is bullshitting hard when it says that Chávez “ordered” her arrest: she was arrested immediately prior to his saying anything, because she was suspected of actively helping a wanted criminal and fraudster escape.

    It’s hard to build moral judgement on a foundation of bullshit, sadly.

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