Readability

Tommy and Trump

It’s dif­fi­cult to deter­mine which one of the colum­nists for DaTimes writes the most absurd clap­trap. Char­lie Blowhard? Paul, Nick, Frank?

Tommy Fried­man just moved to the top of my list when he calls Don­ald Trump a “Chi­nese agent” in a recent col­umn. Here’s Tommy’s “proof”:

No. 1: Trump ended U.S. sup­port for the Trans-​Pacific Part­ner­ship, or the TPP. That would be the same eco­nomic deal opposed by Hillary Clin­ton, the AFL-​CIO, the Roo­sevelt Insti­tute, and myr­iad groups from both the right and the left.

No. 2: Trump tossed out Obama’s plans to shrink the U.S. depen­dence on coal-​fired power and changed mileage require­ments on auto­mo­biles. Tommy cites China’s plan to build more clean-​energy devices that will leave the United States behind.

Tommy lives in a man­sion in Mary­land of more than 11,000 square feet. That is quite a car­bon footprint!

More impor­tant, China is a coun­try that chokes its cit­i­zens nearly every day and doesn’t even recy­cle its trash.

No. 3: Trump wants to slash the State Depart­ment and for­eign aid bud­gets and make it harder for peo­ple to immi­grate to Amer­ica, par­tic­u­larly Muslims.

China has one of the tough­est immi­gra­tion poli­cies in the world and just issued new rules to tighten restric­tions for for­eign work­ers and banned wear­ing Islamic veils and long beards.

Tommy ends his silli­ness by writ­ing: “So you tell me that Trump is not a Chi­nese agent. The only other expla­na­tion is that he’s igno­rant and unread — that he’s never stud­ied the issues or con­nected the dots between them.”

I have known Tommy since 1979 when we worked across the hall from one another in Beirut. He was at United Press Inter­na­tional; I worked for Newsweek. Despite his Pulitzer Prizes and his books, I never thought much of his report­ing. I have found out I am not alone.

Rolling Stone writer Matt Taibbi, a long­time Tommy critic, writes: “This is Friedman’s life: He flies around the world, eats pricey lunches with other rich peo­ple and draws con­clu­sions about the future of human­ity by look­ing out his hotel win­dow and count­ing the Applebee’s signs.”

The Huff­in­g­ton Post, not exactly a mem­ber of the alt-​right, describes Fried­man this way: “He’s not just a mil­lion­aire or a mul­ti­mil­lion­aire — he’s mem­ber of one of the wealth­i­est fam­i­lies in the world, and is one of the most influ­en­tial media voices on the planet, who writes specif­i­cally about economic/​class issues. If politi­cians are forced to dis­close every last asset they own, you’d think at the very least, The New York Times — in the inter­est of basic dis­clo­sure — should have a tagline under Friedman’s eco­nomic columns that says “Tom Fried­man is an heir to a multi-​billion-​dollar busi­ness empire.”

One of his many sim­plis­tic analy­ses is called the Golden Arches The­ory of Con­flict Pre­ven­tion: No two coun­tries that both had McDonald’s had fought a war against each other since each got its McDonald’s.

He sup­ported that obser­va­tion, as a the­ory, by stat­ing that when a coun­try has reached an eco­nomic devel­op­ment where it has a mid­dle class strong enough to sup­port a McDonald’s net­work, it would become a “McDonald’s coun­try,” and will not be inter­ested in fight­ing wars anymore.

Not sur­pris­ingly, the the­ory has bro­ken down repeat­edly in Panama, Yugoslavia, Ukraine, India, Pak­istan and many more places.

Here is how Taibbi ranks Tommy’s bat­ting aver­age on other issues: “To review quickly, the ‘Long Bomb’ Iraq war plan Fried­man sup­ported as a means of trans­form­ing the Mid­dle East blew up in his and every­one else’s face; the ‘Elec­tronic Herd’ of highly volatile inter­na­tional cap­i­tal mar­kets he once touted as an eco­nomic cure-​all not only didn’t pan out, but led the world into a ter­ri­fy­ing chasm of seem­ingly irre­versible eco­nomic cat­a­stro­phe; his beloved ‘Golden Strait­jacket’ of American-​style global devel­op­ment (forced on the world by the ‘hid­den fist’ of Amer­i­can mil­i­tary power) turned out to be the vehi­cle for the very energy/​ecological cri­sis Fried­man him­self warns about.”

A New York writer has kept a record of all of Tommy’s mis­steps: http://​jil​lian​cy​ork​.com/​2011​/​12​/​14​/​t​h​e​-​d​e​f​i​n​i​t​i​v​e​-​c​o​l​l​e​c​t​i​o​n​-​o​f​-​t​h​o​m​a​s​-​f​r​i​e​d​m​a​n​-​t​a​k​e​d​owns/

On the right, The New York Observer pro­vides a par­ody of how to write a Tommy col­umn with a step-​by-​step guide at http://​observer​.com/​2004​/​05​/​w​r​i​t​e​-​y​o​u​r​-​o​w​n​-​t​h​o​m​a​s​-​f​r​i​e​d​m​a​n​-​c​o​lumn/

Tommy has fooled too many peo­ple too often. Trump, the alleged China agent, should con­sider a libel suit against The New York Times for reck­lessly dis­re­gard­ing the truth on too many occasions.

It’s difficult to determine which one of the columnists for DaTimes writes the most absurd claptrap. Charlie Blowhard? Paul, Nick, Frank?

Tommy Friedman just moved to the top of my list when he calls Donald Trump a “Chinese agent” in a recent column. Here’s Tommy’s “proof”:

No. 1: Trump ended U.S. support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or the TPP. That would be the same economic deal opposed by Hillary Clinton, the AFL-CIO, the Roosevelt Institute, and myriad groups from both the right and the left.

No. 2: Trump tossed out Obama’s plans to shrink the U.S. dependence on coal-fired power and changed mileage requirements on automobiles. Tommy cites China’s plan to build more clean-energy devices that will leave the United States behind.

Tommy lives in a mansion in Maryland of more than 11,000 square feet. That is quite a carbon footprint!

More important, China is a country that chokes its citizens nearly every day and doesn’t even recycle its trash.

No. 3: Trump wants to slash the State Department and foreign aid budgets and make it harder for people to immigrate to America, particularly Muslims.

China has one of the toughest immigration policies in the world and just issued new rules to tighten restrictions for foreign workers and banned wearing Islamic veils and long beards.

Tommy ends his silliness by writing: “So you tell me that Trump is not a Chinese agent. The only other explanation is that he’s ignorant and unread — that he’s never studied the issues or connected the dots between them.”

I have known Tommy since 1979 when we worked across the hall from one another in Beirut. He was at United Press International; I worked for Newsweek. Despite his Pulitzer Prizes and his books, I never thought much of his reporting. I have found out I am not alone.

Rolling Stone writer Matt Taibbi, a longtime Tommy critic, writes: “This is Friedman’s life: He flies around the world, eats pricey lunches with other rich people and draws conclusions about the future of humanity by looking out his hotel window and counting the Applebee’s signs.”

The Huffington Post, not exactly a member of the alt-right, describes Friedman this way: “He’s not just a millionaire or a multimillionaire – he’s member of one of the wealthiest families in the world, and is one of the most influential media voices on the planet, who writes specifically about economic/class issues. If politicians are forced to disclose every last asset they own, you’d think at the very least, The New York Times – in the interest of basic disclosure – should have a tagline under Friedman’s economic columns that says “Tom Friedman is an heir to a multi-billion-dollar business empire.”

One of his many simplistic analyses is called the Golden Arches Theory of Conflict Prevention: No two countries that both had McDonald’s had fought a war against each other since each got its McDonald’s.

He supported that observation, as a theory, by stating that when a country has reached an economic development where it has a middle class strong enough to support a McDonald’s network, it would become a “McDonald’s country,” and will not be interested in fighting wars anymore.

Not surprisingly, the theory has broken down repeatedly in Panama, Yugoslavia, Ukraine, India, Pakistan and many more places.

Here is how Taibbi ranks Tommy’s batting average on other issues: “To review quickly, the ‘Long Bomb’ Iraq war plan Friedman supported as a means of transforming the Middle East blew up in his and everyone else’s face; the ‘Electronic Herd’ of highly volatile international capital markets he once touted as an economic cure-all not only didn’t pan out, but led the world into a terrifying chasm of seemingly irreversible economic catastrophe; his beloved ‘Golden Straitjacket’ of American-style global development (forced on the world by the ‘hidden fist’ of American military power) turned out to be the vehicle for the very energy/ecological crisis Friedman himself warns about.”

A New York writer has kept a record of all of Tommy’s missteps: http://jilliancyork.com/2011/12/14/the-definitive-collection-of-thomas-friedman-takedowns/

On the right, The New York Observer provides a parody of how to write a Tommy column with a step-by-step guide at http://observer.com/2004/05/write-your-own-thomas-friedman-column/

Tommy has fooled too many people too often. Trump, the alleged China agent, should consider a libel suit against The New York Times for recklessly disregarding the truth on too many occasions.