Thomas Friedman has been a New York Times foreign affairs columnist since 1995. He is said by many to be a principled observer of international events and an even-handed analyst of American policy. But Belen Fernandez's acerbic close reading of Friedman's voluminous oeuvre reveals instead a ham-fisted apologist for US military excesses and neoliberal corporate policies - as well as a risibly bad writer. Fernandez carefully reviews the Friedman corpus, and her documentation of Friedman's sloppy mistakes, inconsistencies, wilful ignoring of contradictory evidence, and sheer illogic is both appalling and amusing. Written with a light touch entirely lacking in Friedman's own prose, Fernandez's dissection is engrossing, but also quite serious. To take one example, Friedman's recycling of outdated Orientalist notions about Arab "backwardness" and fabrications of pro-Israeli truths convey a dangerously distorted picture of one of his areas of self-proclaimed expertise. In Fernandez's analysis, Friedman emerges as both exceptionally dreadful and symptomatic of the laziness of the mainstream media of our times.
About the Author
Belen Fernandez is an editor and feature writer at Pulse Media. Her articles also have appeared in CounterPunch and many other publications.
"Filleting the silliest man on the planet needs a sure scalpel, and Belen Fernandez wields hers with deadly finesse." Alexander Cockburn, editor of CounterPunch "A long overdue takedown of a dangerous fraud. Fernandez deserves great credit for having the stomach to digest all of Friedman's oeuvre and for her witty, fact-based and ruthless deconstruction of all his contradictions, incoherence, jingoism and inane aphorisms. You read it and you are amazed how a clown could rise to such dominance in American culture and how such drivel could pass for insight, and what that implies about us. The book is a vaccination that should be given to all college freshmen lest they too get infected, an antidote for those suffering from admiration of Friedman and a palliative remedy for those of us who have had aneurysms in reaction to his every latest bloviation." Nir Rosen, author of Aftermath: Following the Bloodshed of America's Wars in the Muslim World "Via razor sharp analysis and meticulous research, Fernandez reveals the consistently disastrous effects of the neoliberal policies Friedman cheerleads. The hubris, fallacy, consistent hypocrisy, and buffoonery of the New York Times' most widely read columnist is systematically deconstructed and laid bare. A must read." Dahr Jamail, journalist and author of Beyond the Green Zone: Dispatches from an Unembedded Journalist in Occupied Iraq "Belen Fernandez is a revelation to those who don't know her yet and a confirmation for those happy few who have known her sublime sense of political satire - subdued, innocent, piercing, frightful. She is a political satirist of the generation X vintage - low-key, self-effacing, happenstance, 'what-ever'-type who crawls under your skin and begins to tickle and before you know it bite. She insinuates so effortlessly, you think she is just chilling - she is not. Her book on Thomas Friedman is an act of restitution, a declaration of independence from a young, idealist, brave, and defiant generation of Americans who have had it up to here with barefaced banality that has been fed to them for too long. She is talking back - boldly, patiently, chapter and verse, going in for the kill." Hamid Dabashi, author of Iran, the Green Movement and the USA: The Fox and the Paradox "Thomas Friedman is a representative for the peculiar, yet self-serving nature of American political, business and media elites. His patronizing, over-simplified (often self-deceiving) style came to define him, as a person, but also an entire era of patronizing, hegemonic and often bloody American foreign policy in the Middle East and the rest of the world. The Imperial Messenger is a superb dissection of the character of Friedman, and all the representations he snootily imitates. Belen Fernandez's style is witty and unique, and her book is the antithesis of Friedman's various attempts at logic." Ramzi Baroud, author of My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza's Untold Story "Fernandez skewers empire's messenger Tom Friedman...Few books on current affairs merit being called page-turners; because of Fernandez's witty and punchy style, this one does." David Cronin, The Electronic Intifada
Number Of Pages: 160
Published: 31st October 2011
Dimensions (cm): 19.7 x 13.2 x 1.9
Weight (kg): 0.28