A front page article in this morning’s New York Times has the following headline and sub-head:
Trump Tweet Echos Agenda of Supremacy
A Racist Narrative For South African Farms
Now that is a powerful statement. What in the world happened?
Well, here is the beginning of the article:
Like so many of President Trump’s late-night tweets, this one was inspired by a segment on his favorite cable channel, Fox News.
But when Mr. Trump announced Wednesday night that he was directing his secretary of state to scrutinize what he said was the targeting of white farmers for land seizures and “large-scale killing” in South Africa, the president waded into a complex and politically charged debate.
And in doing that, he embraced a common talking point among white supremacists who claim white genocide is being perpetrated in South Africa and around the world.
The presidential tweet on Wednesday appeared to be the culmination of a lengthy lobbying effort by a right-wing South African group that falsely claims that white farmers are being systematically forced off their land and killed in large numbers. Its leaders traveled to Washington this year to press their case.
And what was the tweet which prompted this suggestion that the President of the United States was engaged in White supremacy, and in cahoots with South Africa’s right wing, not to mention the dreaded Fox News?
Well, here it is:
I have asked Secretary of State
@SecPompeo to closely study the South Africa land and farm seizures and expropriations and the large scale killing of farmers. “South African Government is now seizing land from white farmers.”
Point of order: the intent to seize and expropriate land from White farmers without compensation is a fact. If the folks at The Times would like to read about it, perhaps this article from Reuters (among many others to choose from) might be of some help.
And regarding murders, the Transvaal Agricultural Union, which represents South African farmers, claims there were 84 farm murders in 2017 (most of the victims being White, by the way).
Is this true? I don’t know. And neither does President Trump – which, presumably, is why his tweet does not make such a claim, but says he wants Secretary Of State Pompeo to closely study whether it is taking place.
I have read The New York Times for many years. And, because I have, I know it used to be a newspaper.
What is it now? I don’t know. But the term “newspaper” – i.e. neutral source of news – fits less and less.