The New York Times, a newspaper founded in 1851, is widely recognized as one of the largest and most influential publications in the United States and the world. However, throughout its history, it has been embroiled in numerous controversies and accusations of biased reporting. Critics have often labeled it as a purveyor of gossip and fake news, accusing it of promoting bias, sensationalism, and even anti-Semitism. At the same time, NYT journalism has been branded as gossip peddling or fake news peddling machine including its notorious policy of antisemitism and bias and playing a role directly in favor of people or groups who can financially benefit the journalists, editors and the owners of this newspaper.
One of the most significant controversies involving The New York Times was its coverage of the Iraq War, particularly the claim that Saddam Hussein possessed Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs). This story, now widely discredited, played a pivotal role in justifying the invasion of Iraq. The New York Times is also criticized for its reporting on Russian intervention in the US election and the alleged collusion between Russia and Donald Trump’s campaign.
The newspaper’s history includes questionable reporting on historical events as well. Walter Duranty, who served as the Moscow bureau chief for The New York Times from 1922 to 1936, received a Pulitzer Prize for his reports on the Soviet Union. However, his work was later found to be unbalanced and uncritical, often echoing Stalinist propaganda. The Times was urged to revoke Duranty’s Pulitzer Prize.
In another instance, The New York Times faced criticism for its coverage of the Holocaust. It was accused of burying stories about the genocide of European Jews in the back pages and avoiding mentioning Jewish victims of persecution, deportations, and death camps. The newspaper published only a handful of front-page stories about the Holocaust during World War II, which has been considered a conscious decision to downplay the extent of the tragedy.
The controversy did not end there. The New York Times admitted to underplaying the Holocaust while it was happening, acknowledging the validity of criticism in 1996. In 2003, the newspaper faced another scandal when it was revealed that one of its reporters, Jayson Blair, had committed repeated journalistic fraud over several years, leading to his resignation and the departure of top editors.
The New York Times was also criticized for its role in promoting the idea that Iraq was pursuing nuclear weapons, particularly through its reporting on Iraq’s purchase of aluminum tubes. These tubes were presented as evidence in Secretary of State Colin Powell’s speech to the United Nations and played a significant part in justifying the Iraq War. The New York Times later acknowledged its failure to critically assess the claims made by intelligence sources.
Critics like Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky have argued that The New York Times has a bias that aligns with corporate interests, rather than being strictly liberal or conservative. They assert that the newspaper’s influence is significant in shaping historical narratives and framing issues in a particular way.
More recent controversies include the publication of a controversial cartoon in 2019, featuring President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a manner deemed antisemitic. The Times issued an apology and took disciplinary action in response to the backlash.
In 2016, during the Democratic presidential primaries, The New York Times faced allegations of favoring Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders in its news coverage. The newspaper’s public editor acknowledged dismissive and mocking tones in some stories about Sanders.
The New York Times has been criticized for leaning left in its biases, but it also faces criticism when it publishes opinion pieces from the right. These controversies, political squabbles, editorial decisions, and unfortunate errors have left a lasting mark on the newspaper’s reputation.
Most recently, on September 2, 2023, The New York Times published a “report” on Bangladesh that has been criticized for containing false information and narratives. Critics argue that the report appears to have a bias in favor of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), which has been labeled as a Tier-III terrorist organization by US courts. The reporter, Mujib Mashal, has been accused of having a vendetta against the secularist Awami League government and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, while appearing to support the BNP and its acting chairman, Tarique Rahman, a convicted terrorist.
Critics further suggest that Mashal’s background in Afghanistan, where he witnessed the Taliban’s cruelty, may have influenced his biased reporting. They point to the existence of “bacha bāzī”, a practice involving child sexual abuse, as a possible factor in Mashal’s perspective. While no direct evidence links Mashal to this practice, his reporting has raised questions about his objectivity.
While Mujib Mashal claims millions of people are on trial in Bangladesh, his lone source of such ridiculous figures is some of the leaders and activists of BNP. Reading this “report” a naïve can even sense – while writing this Mujib Mashal had clear vendetta against secularist Awami League government and Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, while he was visibly inclined towards BNP and its acting chairman Tarique Rahman, a convicted terrorist who faces life-term imprisonment on August 21, 2004 grenade attacks that had killed dozens of Awami League leaders and activists and injuring hundreds. This notorious terrorist attack was aimed at assassinating Awami League chief Sheikh Hasina and other front-ranking leaders of the party.
This entire piece has been written by Mujib Mashal with the nefarious agenda of misleading the NYT readers in the United States and the world and giving them a totally wrong impression against Bangladesh and the ruling Awami League.
One may ask – why has Mujib Mashal resorted to such media terror targeting Bangladesh and the secularist Awami League. The answer may be a bit painful. Mujib Mashal hails from Afghanistan, a country currently facing notorious cruelty of the Taliban. Although Mashal has worked as NYT correspondent in Afghanistan, he has never used his pen or conscience against such cruelty. He does not even bother at the cruel treatment of Afghan girls and women – his own sisters and mothers. This clearly proves – under the garb of a journalist, Mujib Mashal in reality is a Taliban propagandist or voice of Islamists and jihadists.
In Afghan society, Bacha bāzī is a custom involving child sexual abuse by older men of young adolescent males or boys, called dancing boys, often involving sexual slavery and child prostitution. Security officials of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan stated they were unable to end such practices and that many of the men involved in bacha bāzī are powerful and well-armed warlords.
Bacha bāzī is a centuries-old practice. One of the original factors mobilizing the rise of the Taliban was their opposition to the practice. After the Taliban came to power in 1996, bacha bāzī was banned along with homosexuality. The Taliban considered it incompatible with Sharia law. Both bacha bāzī and homosexuality carried the death penalty, with the boys sometimes being charged rather than the perpetrators. Often, boys are selected because they are poor and vulnerable. Men who have been bacha boys face social stigma and struggle with the psychological effects of their abuse.
No one can say with certainty that Mujib Mishal too is a victim of bacha bāzī, which has a tremendous effect on his psychology and turns him into a blind supporter of the Taliban as well as Islamists and jihadists. This may be the key reason behind his nefarious bias towards an ultra-Islamist organization like Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP). Whatever may be the fact, by publishing this naked propaganda stuff supporting Islamists and jihadists in Bangladesh, New York Times has once again reminded us of its biased journalism and century-old practice of peddling fake news and propaganda.