The New York Times Is A Disgusting Militarist Smut Rag

Caitlin Johnstone
7 min readMar 27, 2023

Listen to a reading of this article (reading by Tim Foley):

I hate The New York Times. Hate it, hate it, hate it, hate it. With every fiber of my being, from the depths of my immortal soul.

The “paper of record” for the most murderous and tyrannical nation on earth, The New York Times has been run by the same family since the late 1800s, during which time it has supported every depraved American war and has reliably dished out propaganda to manufacture consent for the political status quo necessary for the operation of a globe-spanning empire that is fueled by human blood and suffering. It is a plague upon our world, and it should be destroyed, buried, and peed on.

And I am being charitable.

Among the latest items of unforgivable militarist smut churned out by the Times is an article titled “An Anxious Asia Arms for a War It Hopes to Prevent,” which freakishly frames the US as just a passive, innocent witness to the US military encirclement of China.

Times author Damien Cave writes ominously that China’s president Xi Jinping “aims to achieve a ‘national rejuvenation’ that would include displacing the United States as the dominant rule-setter in the region,” as though it makes perfect sense for the US to be the “dominant rule-setter” in the continent of Asia.

(You see lines like this in The New York Times constantly; earlier this month the Times editorial board bemoaned the fact that “the United States had tried with little success to persuade or compel China to abide by American rules,” like that’s a perfectly sane and normal line to write. Other nations make demands, the US makes “rules”. These people really do begin with the premise that the US government owns the entire world, and then write from there.)

Watch how Cave then frames the US military encirclement of China as something “China’s neighbors” are doing as a “response” to Xi’s goal of “displacing the United States as the dominant rule-setter in the region”:

In response, many of China’s neighbors — and the United States — are turning to hard power, accelerating the most significant arms race in Asia since World War II.

On March 13, North Korea launched cruise missiles from a submarine for the first time. The same day, Australia unveiled a $200 billion plan to build nuclear-propelled submarines with America and Britain that would make it only the seventh nation to have them.

Japan, after decades of pacifism, is also gaining offensive capabilities unmatched since the 1940s with U.S. Tomahawk missiles. India has conducted training with Japan and Vietnam. Malaysia is buying South Korean combat aircraft. American officials are trying to amass a giant weapons stockpile in Taiwan to make it a bristling “porcupine” that could head off a Chinese invasion, and the Philippines is planning for expanded runways and ports to host its largest American military presence in decades.

Notice the glaring contradiction between the narrative that the US is “the dominant rule-setter in the region” and the framing of this encirclement operation as something the US is merely supplying to locals who request it of their own free will. If you acknowledge that the US exerts enough control over those nations to be able to “set rules” for them, then it’s probably a bit nonsensical for you to claim they’re stationing US war machinery because it was their own idea that they chose of their own volition.

As we discussed recently with regard to Australia, we’ve all seen what the US does to nations which disobey its “rules”. Australia isn’t arming itself against China to protect itself from China, Australia is arming itself against China to protect itself from the United States. The same is true of all the other US assets listed above.

Just one paragraph after outlining the ways China is being military encircled, Cave then writes that China has “engaged in provocative or dangerous behavior” toward its neighbors:

In flashpoint after flashpoint over the past year, China’s military has also engaged in provocative or dangerous behavior: deploying a record number of military aircraft to threaten Taiwan, and firing missiles into the waters of Japan’s exclusive economic zone for the first time last August; sending soldiers with spiked batons to dislodge an Indian Army outpost in December, escalating battles over the 2,100-mile border between the two countries; and last month, temporarily blinding the crew of a Filipino patrol boat with a laser, and flying dangerously close to a U.S. Navy plane, part of its aggressive push to claim authority in the South China Sea.

The US empire asks us to believe many stupid things on a daily basis, but arguably the very stupidest among them right now is the narrative that the number one geopolitical rival to US power is being surrounded by US war machinery defensively.

The US is surrounding China — a nation on the other side of the planet — with war machinery in a way it would never permit itself to be surrounded for even an instant. One of these nations is the aggressor, and the other is responding defensively to those aggressions. If you can’t tell which is which, it’s because empire propaganda has melted your brain.

Another recent New York Times article titled “From Rockets to Ball Bearings, Pentagon Struggles to Feed War Machine,” author Eric Lipton warns urgently that the US isn’t producing enough weaponry to meet its current needs while preparing for war with China.

“If a large-scale war broke out with China, within about one week the United States would run out of so-called long-range anti-ship missiles, a vital weapon in any engagement with China, according to a series of war-game exercises conducted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington-based think tank,” Lipton writes.

The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) is funded by military-industrial complex entities like Raytheon, Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman, and is also directly funded by the US government and its client states, including Taiwan. Lipton makes no mention of this immense conflict of interest.

The whole article reads like an advertorial for the need to pour more wealth and resources into arms manufacturers, even directly citing statements from war profiteering CSIS funders like Lockheed Martin and Raytheon. Lipton quotes Lockheed Martin COO Frank St John expressing his deep and solemn concern that the Pentagon might not be meeting its goals in procurement of expensive military equipment, saying, “Any time you see an analysis that says, hey, we might not be prepared to achieve our strategic objectives, that’s concerning.”

Hey thanks for your concern Frank, I’m sure it has nothing to do with the fact that your company sells the murder machines which meet those strategic objectives. Great journalism, Mr Lipton.

“The surge in spending is likely to translate in the long run into increased profits at military contractors,” Lipton notes.

Yeah, no shit.

One of the most freakish and depraved things happening in our society is the way war machine-funded think tanks shape public opinion through the mass media and government without that conflict of interest being disclosed. Profoundly influential outlets like The New York Times routinely cite them as though they are impartial analysts of national security and foreign affairs and not functional PR firms for war profiteers and government agencies.

If you killed thousands of people and sold their skins for a fortune, the media would correctly call you the worst monster who ever lived. If you kill the same number of people for the same amount of money but do it by lobbying for war and selling the weapons used in that war, the media will call you an industrious job creator.

It is never, ever acceptable, under any circumstances, for news media outlets to cite think tanks funded by governments and the military industrial complex as sources of information or expertise on matters of national security or foreign affairs. As soon as they do this, they’re guilty of journalistic malpractice. As soon as you find yourself writing anything like “According to my source from the Center for Strategic and International Studies,” you have ceased to function as a journalist and are now functioning as a propagandist. It’s insane that this extremely obvious fact isn’t better understood in western journalism, but we can understand why this point is obfuscated by looking at the power structures it serves.

Western media are the marketing department of the US-centralized empire, selling war and militarism to the public in the form of nonstop propaganda. And The New York Times is probably the most destructive offender among all of them.

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