The New York Times: The Empire’s Paper of Record

Among the latest pieces of unforgivable militarist smut is an article that frames Washington’s military encirclement of China as a defensive move by the U.S., writes Caitlin Johnstone.

The New York Times tower from street-level. (Dan DeLuca, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons)

By Caitlin Johnstone

Listen to a reading of this article by Tim Foley.

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, “An Anxious Asia Arms for a War It Hopes to Prevent,” which freakishly frames the U.S. as just a passive, innocent witness to the U.S. 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 U.S. 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 how “the United States had tried with little success to persuade or compel China to abide by American rules,” as though that’s a perfectly sane and normal line to write. Other nations make demands, the U.S. makes “rules.” These people really do begin with the premise that the U.S. government owns the entire world, and then begin writing from there.)

Watch how Cave then frames the U.S. 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 U.S. is “the dominant rule-setter in the region” and the framing of this encirclement operation as something the U.S. is merely supplying to locals who request it of their own free will. If you acknowledge that the U.S. 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 U.S. 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 U.S. 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 U.S. 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 U.S. 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 U.S. power is being surrounded by US war machinery defensively. 

The U.S. 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.

In another recent New York Times article, “From Rockets to Ball Bearings, Pentagon Struggles to Feed War Machine,” Eric Lipton warns urgently that the U.S. 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 U.S. 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.

You don’t say.

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 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.

Caitlin Johnstone’s work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, following her on FacebookTwitterSoundcloudYouTube, or throwing some money into her tip jar on Ko-fiPatreon or Paypal. If you want to read more you can buy her books. The best way to make sure you see the stuff she publishes is to subscribe to the mailing list at her website or on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything she publishes.  For more info on who she is, where she stands and what she’s trying to do with her platform, click here. All works are co-authored with her American husband Tim Foley.

This article is from and re-published with permission.

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

28 comments for “The New York Times: The Empire’s Paper of Record

  1. Randal Marlin
    April 2, 2023 at 10:04

    It’s true that Goebbels would not have allowed the usual media outlets to be doubted , as long as they were purveying news, features and opinions that did not conflict in any serious way with the Nazi ideology. But the Nazis had total control over all the media. If a paper announced that “the stock exchange is weak” it would be shut down, at least for a while, if Goebbels thought the news would not be favorable to the Nazi cause. We should be careful not to make Goebbels seem in any way like a liberal.

  2. Randal Marlin
    April 1, 2023 at 20:16

    There is one sociological given that underpins the arms industry, and that is the existence of two moral codes, noted by Walter Lippmann, each with its own system of stereotypes and perception-controlling beliefs.

    The first is the patriot code. According to this code, the nation is valued above all else The enlisted person gives their life for the greater good of preserving the source of all their society’s good things. They are heroes, and are honored as such. They are expected to bear up with the greatest misery and hardship, with very little pay.
    There is a popular Japanese marching song “Yuki no Shingun” which describes the misery they experience, marching in the snow, anticipating death.

    The second is the economic code, which is applied to business people and shareholders, who provide the defensive and offensive weaponry and other logistical support. To quote Walter Lippmann: “The contractor sacrifices very little, is paid a handsome profit over costs, and few say or believe that he would produce the munitions if there were no incentive. That may be unfair to him.”

    It seemed to me at one time that the cause of peace would be greatly advanced if the patriotic code were applied to the industrial side of the military industrial complex, so that in time of war profits would be set aside in the greater cause of preserving the nation, freedom, and all the other things that war is supposed to have as its aim. In other words, once war starts, profits end.

    That way the MIC would have no incentive to go to war. That should help the cause of peace, right?

    I once wrote a letter to the New York Times to this effect. To my great surprise, it was not printed! I still think there is some truth to the idea.

  3. Sasha Berkman
    April 1, 2023 at 14:39

    I think the Guardian is giving the NYT some stiff competition in the war mongering category.

  4. Rex Williams
    March 31, 2023 at 21:51

    One of the headlines listed by Caitlin in this article, “Bombing Iran is not enough” by William Kristol and Robert Kagan more than demonstrates the tone of this disrespected publication and their pro-Israel controlling influences.
    So why Iran as the proposed target for Israel’s 400+ nuclear weapons?
    All because it is the Middle East country with a high standard of living being historically Persian, well educated people and as such a threat to the grand plans of Israel, their long term ‘Eretz Israel’ objectives, encroaching on so many countries from the Euphrates to the Nile. There in black and white for decades, never disputed, known by all.
    Iran is also a friend to China and Russia and recently a partner with Saudi to the China initiated peace plan for Yemen.

  5. shmutzoid
    March 31, 2023 at 21:42

    Johnstone writes with incisiveness and passion. Love it! ………The American mind is being prepped for war with China – it’s that simple.
    ………With US “journalism”, white is black, up is down. ……… Can one even imagine what the US response would be if China encircled the US with military bases/warships stationed off of Mexico and/or Canada???? …..and yet, corporate media tell of US militaristic provocations as “defensive” moves, wholly rational! …….. it’s astounding how many will internalize this war-mongering BS as some kind of intelligent analysis. Americans are sleepwalking straight into WWll, wholly tamed and propagandized by a State Media posing as proper news outlets.

    You can bet your last yuan US imperial managers are feverishly gaming out various ways to instigate a Chinese military response over Taiwan, as it did with Russia over Ukraine. ….,……. This is Biden’s”Decisive Decade”, after all. ……..

  6. RomeoCharlie29
    March 31, 2023 at 19:08

    While I agree with much of what you write about US hegemonic intent, Caitlin, you seem to excuse China’s expansionist activities as a reaction to US aggression. I have just read a book by the former (Australian) ABC’s China correspondent, Bill Birtles who was ejected/ withdrawn from China, along with another Australian reporter ahead of their possible arrest and detention, a fate that befell another Australian/Chines reporter, still in secret detention) While some might see the book as establishment anti-China ‘propaganda’ I saw it as a fairly clear-eyed view of a sinophile (married to a Chinese) who clearly articulates Xi Jinping’s increasingly autocratic control over every aspect of his country, including a massive military build-up. China is not the poor little victim of US aggression as its expansion and militarisation in the South China Sea, it’s belt-and-road initiative including support for the murderous regime in Myanmar, and its aggressive push into the pacific show. If you think these are just benign attempts to help the poor Africans or Pacific Islanders who have been abandoned by their wealthy neighbours, you are kidding yourself. Anyone who thinks the US and it’s allies are going to invade China is away with the fairies but China certainly looks like it’s preparing for at least one invasion, Taiwan. I don’t subscribe to the view that Taiwan is a lost and wayward part of China yearning for a return to the motherland (see Putin on Ukraine) I believe it to now be an independent, democratic country intent on pursuing its own future and further, should China invade, the US, Australia and indeed every other democracy, should join in to defend it. If you want to see what would be in store for a re-absorbed Taiwan you only need look at what has happened in Hong Kong. You can cavill all you like about the capture of the US by the military/industrial complex Ike warned of and all the other evils but no matter how manipulated by money etc. they still have elections where two parties, and a bunch of independents can duke it out. Sure the two parties might be mirror images and all the rest but I don’t see that happening in China, Russia or several other dictatorships. And apart from the Cambodian dictator, Hun Sen, I don’t see any other SE Asian country putting out the welcome mat for China and Xi Jinping.

  7. Tom
    March 31, 2023 at 18:03

    I must admit to my confusion here. I hold absolutely no brief for the NYT, its editorial policies, and/or its “accuracy”. The writer’s remedy, if I understand it correctly, would be its destruction, censorship, and…..death by urination! Neither do I hold a brief for censorship in ANY form. Cheers.

  8. Jac Siler
    March 31, 2023 at 17:36

    Caitlin, thanks. I appreciate your anger and frustration and I share them both.

    In 1972, I sold a manuscript to Little Brown on the evolution of behavior and predicted that our species had switched to devolution that would end us all before 2050. I gave a skeleton view of a political system that might recognize human socio-economic want and realities. Otherwise, here we are. Anyone who thinks the species will come through all of the intellectual landfill we’ve heaped on our minds is beyond help. Unfortunately, an assassination in the family stopped me in my tracks and it was never completed. I doubt it would have changed anything any more than The Limits To Growth stopped the energy, climate and growth disasters before us.

    By 1972 the despicably deranged handshakes between our “Intelligence” agencies and “Administrations” had taken place and between the two hands lay the neck of the world.

  9. bardamu
    March 31, 2023 at 13:39


    An update to Chomsky & Herman ’89 is due–not because the principles have changed at all, but because the media landscape has changed radically. Academics still require that sources be vetted by hired experts, but the institutions that hire mostly have no vested interest in truth, but rather in the collusion of certain sources–powerful entities with public relations interests.

    Ideally, this might go beyond the now obvious and increasingly recognize observation that these institutions lie rampantly, far beyond the usual corruption that has always been a factor. For readers and consumers of news, such an analysis does not replace critical comparison of sources and arguments to determine what is true, but it can eliminate many false points of comparison that the ruling cabals now readily release to muddy the waters and dim judgment.

  10. Richard A. Pelto
    March 31, 2023 at 12:37

    A few months ago I wrote a part one of USA lies and the corruption.
    Since then many others have been inspired , and I now believe that there is almost nothing that is this country’s official policy that is not a lie.
    When you begin looking, you are likely to find.

  11. AnonX
    March 31, 2023 at 10:50

    I am just amazed at the US media’s compliance and servitude in all of this. Even Joseph Goebbels stated that, “the
    people must not start doubting the credibility of German reporting”. The United States government seems to have grasped “If you repeat a lie often enough, people will believe it,,,”, but failed to grasp the finer points. Goebbels would never have allowed his ministry to be used as a simple mouth piece of the Wehrmacht or Luftwaffe to hide failures and exaggerate success. He knew if his ministry became a stenographer for those organizations, people would stop consuming anything the ministry put out.

    In contrast, the US government instructs the media what to publish, unconcerned about the damage this causes to the media institutions. It is if they say: “you need to publish this and it is your problem if your credibility and subscription base falls into the gutter”.

    It is a real PARADOX, the more they publish the more credibility and readership they lose, something a real propagandist, like Joseph Goebbels would never have permitted.

  12. Henry Smith
    March 31, 2023 at 04:49

    By any rational measure these people are actually mentally ill. They and all their colleagues in the western establishment bubble actually believe this stuff – that’s the scary bit.
    It would appear that the various education streams that feed the establishment bubble are biased towards the selection and promotion of the mentally ill. There is no other obvious conclusion. The western education systems are corrupted and not fit for purpose. Hard to see a positive outcome from all this.

    • scrdmgl
      March 31, 2023 at 12:15

      People nedd to understand this simple truth. US Representative Democracy (meaning not real), died in 1963 when the US regime assassinated JFK. Accordingly, the US elite controlled media knowingly hid the coup d’etat, and every jounalist from big to small participated in the cover-up. That of course includes every US politician Red or Blue to this day. The sucess of that event, made possible a repeat in 9/11/2001
      Isn’t a waste of time to talk about the subject?

  13. Realist
    March 31, 2023 at 00:27

    I miss the alleged “autocratic strongman” Rodrigo Duterte who kicked the Americans out of their military bases in the Philippines and started some semblance of rational diplomacy with China. Now the country is once again under the sway of the Marcos dynasty who ruled the place like a prefecture of the American Empire for decades. Ferdinand Junior is more the kind of autocrat that Uncle Sam loves and smiles upon with beaucoup bucks for facilitating any kind of obstacle to Russia or China. Somebody could try cluing in Lord Biden (who lives to thwart “autocrats”) that the Philippines are actually more independent and sovereign-ish in the non-American periods in the political power cycle, but I am skeptical that his sensory modalities would permit that even if he and his deep state retainers were so inclined. The South China Sea would more effectively be re-named the Far-East American Sea by the Daily Planet, I mean the New York Times, for maximum truth in advertising. I surely hope that Vietnam did not endure greater than 3 million dead civilians at the hands of America’s “Military Bane of the Third World” only to become one of their puppets just a couple of generations later. Come to think of it, a similar experience did not stop the Philippines from selling out to the prosecutors of their own “forever war” with the Americans during the early decades of the 20th century.

  14. Tom_Q_Collins
    March 30, 2023 at 23:57

    I, for one, will welcome our new CCP overlords. No sarcasm intended, kinda.

  15. firstpersoninfinite
    March 30, 2023 at 23:20

    At the start of World War I, the major newspapers around the world all spread the idea that because of the increased economic activity due to war materials being bought and sold, shipped and delivered, the war would only last a few weeks. In other words, “the riches would be too great to sacrifice to the reality of the war.” The lie didn’t work then, and it won’t work now. The New York Times: “all the news that’s fit to slant.” I don’t mind that they serve the interests of both money and governmental power. I just mind the fact that they think no one has noticed. Great article once again from Caitlin Johnstone.

    • March 31, 2023 at 14:16

      As always Caitlin’s searing observations of the myopic absurdities of the Empire’s media cuts through the crap we are daily fed. It is indeed hard to bear.

  16. Carolyn L Zaremba
    March 30, 2023 at 22:32

    I haven’t purchased a newspaper in decades.

  17. Carolyn L Zaremba
    March 30, 2023 at 22:31

    True, it’s not the entire hemisphere’s fault.

  18. Robyn
    March 30, 2023 at 18:38

    I’ve been saying for years – this will not stop until the masses boycott the MSM and turn to responsible honest journalists like Caitlin. With so many reliable sources there is simply no need to keep reading MSM lies.

    • Blessthebeasts
      March 31, 2023 at 13:10

      But the “educated class” likes to have their
      propaganda served up to them in a silver spoon.

  19. Edward K. Wall
    March 30, 2023 at 17:30

    “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.”
    Not quite, don’t blame “America” for the crimes of the USA.

  20. Anon
    March 30, 2023 at 17:17

    2 “borrow” Author Lavalle’s title: Grey Lady Down…
    (As in: “911 is a joke in our town!”)?
    Tnx 2 CN & the prolific Caitlin 4 this PUNishable offense opportunity!

  21. Colin
    March 30, 2023 at 16:53

    Ms. Johnstone, I write of worthy subject for your “next” editorial. Not to be outdone by the New York Times, Rajan Menon of The Nation has just published there an article entitled, “We Still Don’t Know Why Russia Invaded Ukraine”.

    I bet, if asked, Mr. Menon probably had never heard of US Jupiters in Turkey, either, and probably thinks the Cuban Missile Crisis started sui generis with Khruschev’s missiles in Cuba.

    • Rafael
      March 30, 2023 at 23:44

      True, and he’s probably forgotten all about the Playa Giron/Bay of Pigs invasion.

  22. Susan Siens
    March 30, 2023 at 16:49

    I used to buy the New York Times for the food section and the crossword; needless to say, I don’t do that anymore. The paper is nothing but junk, the weekday papers are as thin as a small-city newspaper, the food section sucks, and the propaganda is so smutty it stinks. I don’t have Whitney Webb’s first volume of One Nation Under Blackmail near me, but in it she writes about the ownership of the newspaper in the past and his associates.

  23. Packard
    March 30, 2023 at 16:37

    The New York Times:* The daily thoughts of the “best and brightest” the U.S. State Department & CIA has to offer.

    *See also, The Washington Post

    [File under:Caveat Emptor & Fide Nemini!]

    • Henry Smith
      March 31, 2023 at 11:14

      In the UK we used to wrap fish and chips in old newspaper, this led to the saying:
      “Todays news, tomorrows chip paper”

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