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Pants on Fire Thomas L. Friedman

Daoud Kuttab photo
Daoud KuttabAmman, Jordan
Pants on Fire Thomas L. Friedman
The Pulitzer winning journalist has often circumvented the truth to prove a point he believes in. He has now been caught at clearly parroting the Israeli line and repeating lies as truths by saying Gaza marchers used violence

Writers and pundits (this writer included) often make predictions, call for certain actions and in general pontificate about what would happen if this or that happened. Such pontification is usually done sincerely and without any malice. However, when ones, predictions/claims/expectations turn differently than proposed a sensible writer does one of two things either owns up to the issue and tell his readers that he or she was wrong or if they are cowards, they just ignore the issue hoping people forget.

In an age of Donald Trumps thousands of lies are being sold to us as truths. CNN has to constantly remind us that Facts come first and that an apple is not a banana and even the NY Times regularly tells us the importance of quality journalism that stands apart from fake news.

Not so with the Pulitzer winner Thomas L. Friedman who when he won a Pulitzer for his news coverage the closest people to him asked him if the Pulitzer committee was mistaken and that they wanted to give him the award for his opinion pieces (obviously camouflaged as news reporting.) Not to be outdone the editors of the NY Times realized that Mr. Friedman is so opinionated that he might as well be given a column. And he again won an a Pulitzer this time properly addressed for his opinion pieces.

But as the late American senator once said “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts.” And facts can be troubling sometimes even to a Pulitzer winner like the ‘great’ Thomas L. Friedman. Friedman is often ahead of himself and comes up with theories and then searches to prove them even with the slightest of examples.

In a May 22 column entitled Hamas, “Israel and Mother Nature.” Pulitzer prize winning Friedman committed what politifact would call “pants on fire” untruth. In a paragraph that reeks in blaming the victims mentality Friedman said the following:

Hamas, which just facilitated the tragic and wasted deaths of roughly 60 Gazans by encouraging their march, some with arms, on the Israeli border fence in pursuit of a “return” to their ancestral homes in what is now Israel.

The untruth is in the statement that Hamas encourage the Palestinian march "some with arms." The facts are that not a single person participating in the march was armed and Hamas security checked to ensure that no one was with arms. Even the Israeli army and Israeli media didn't make this UNTRUTH which is clearly must be corrected if the NY Times insists that it is seeking after the truth.

Hundreds of tweets with mentions to @tomasfriedman and letters to the editor of the NY times failed to produce a retraction, a correction, or an apology.

How could Mr. Friedman apologize to Hamas who he continues to defame and demonize without an attempt to get their point of view and without the loaded evidence that show that the bad situation in Gaza is not all the fault of Hamas but falls largely on Israel and its illegal siege.

Thomas L. Friedman goaded Palestinians to try nonviolence. Everyone who knows about nonviolence knows that nonviolent protesters from Gandhi to Martin Luther King Jr. are aware that there is no guarantee that if you carry out nonviolent protests that the other side will not use violent. Did Gandhi deserve the opposite of a Noble Prize when his nonviolent protests caused deaths as Friedman know is blaming Palestinians for protesting and getting killed. Friedman attacked Palestinians (unknowingly crediting all the protests to them) he attacked them saying that they deserve the opposite of the Noble Prize. Why, because they failed to heed his specific demands that the protesters hold a “an olive branch in one hand and a sign in Hebrew and English saying two states for two people.”

Where has Friedman been in the last few years. Not only has the PLO but also Hamas have agreed to the two state solution only to be rebuffed by the right wing of Israel and the Trump administration.

Thomas L. Friedman's columns and books might be readable and profitable but the capital of any good journalist or columnist is sticking to the truth and correcting yourself when you discover that you made a mistake. Will we read a retraction in any of the coming columns? I for one am not holding my breath.

##Friedman, ##Fabrication, ##News, ##Gaza, ##Violence, ##Nonviolence

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