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AL: Why does The New York Times, arguably the most influential newspaper in the world, have a Thomas Friedman?
BF: Friedman is far from alone when it comes to providing a veneer of independent validation to state and corporate hegemonic endeavors – ones in which they are entirely complicit. He just happens to enjoy a special symbiosis with centers of power. He is sought out by Barack Obama to explain phenomena like the Arab Spring (which Friedman obligingly determines was in fact propelled by five “not-so-obvious forces,” among them Obama himself). He receives awards from Goldman Sachs for writing about how important corporate globalization is for human progress. He boasts of plugging the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) without perusing its contents beyond the two words “free trade.” He emits grating corporate-military slogans like: “Attention Kmart shoppers: Without America on duty, there will be no America Online.” The New York Times itself is nothing but a mouthpiece for empire and capital. When considered from that perspective, it makes perfect sense that the Times would have a Friedman. And as long as there is no overwhelming uproar over his stupidity, there’s no reason they should dismiss him; it’s a winning partnership.