The Village Voice; a victim of its own ideology
BY ROBERT Amoroso
December 4, 2007
First let me state from the outset, I love reading the Village Voice, it’s a well written and extremely provocative, entertaining off-beat, and edgy publication…truly a New York institution. However as the title of this piece suggests it’s also a victim of its own ideology.
While most things in life evolve, The Village Voice remains fundamentally the same. As a young and rebellious art student in the 60’s I recall fondly holding up “the voice” and quoting from its editorial pages, the current anti-government conspiracies of the day.
“The Voice” as always been the preverbal voice of the anti-establishment, the disenfranchised, the so called enlightened, and of course rebellious youth. However as in all societies there are preexisting sets of rules and that’s where the paradox lies. The Village Voice has never pretended to be anything else then what it is, a left leaning opinion driven publication, and whether it likes it or not it’s become part of the mainstream, within New York City.
All one needs to do is pick up a “free copy” and you’ll immediately realize that this is a substantial no-nonsense publication with an incredible ad revenue base and a professional staff of writers, editors, marketing and sales team, that would rival any newspaper organization around the country…and perhaps that’s where the paradox lies, in its attempt to maintain that aura of unconventional off beat persona, it must continue providing cutting edge commentary to its liberal base.
My point of contention is a current article appearing in The Village Voice, by Wayne Barrett. The title of the piece “Rudy’s ties to a terror Sheikh” at first the article appears to be a ‘hot off the press” breaking news alert. In truth however, it’s nothing more then recycled gossip, packaged to appear as if it’s something new. Mr. Barrett’s, “wordy” 7-page essay tries to draw a parallel between the Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifah al-Thani and the former mayor.
While the article appears to be an indebt analysis by the author, in truth it’s nothing more then a composite of old articles thrown together, a lazy journalistic piece, and almost identical with what Brian De Palma and Michael Moore’s films do, in that the subject matter is heavily slanted to fit a preconceived point of view, and while Barrett is a gifted writer, he’s not by any stretch of the imagination a journalist. He quotes anonyms and third party sources without any cross references as to their validity; he takes snippets of information from a variety of news outlets, newspaper clippings and publications “cuts and pasts” them and of course draws whatever conclusions, he deems necessary, to make his point.
It also seems that Mr. Barrett has trouble deciding whether he wants to be a novelist or a reporter, in as much as the article reads like a cloak and dagger spy novel, with plots and subplots, and one needs to read it carefully, again and again to decipher what parallels Barrett is trying to draw. My sense is that Barrett is trying to make a connection between Giuliani’s consulting firm and his business dealings within the Middle East, and in particular terrorist entities within those rogue states; however, he again draws questionable conclusions.
He sights a variety of time lines both presently and in the 1990’s. He discusses various meetings between Giuliani’s consulting firm and what he describes as perhaps savory characters. He chronicles some of the “in-fighting” that takes place between the CIA and FBI, and while Mayor Giuliani’s name is repeatedly peppered throughout the article, oddly enough not one word of the then “most powerful man in the world” the president of the United States, Bill Clinton.
It’s also worth pointing out that the World Trade Center was first attacked on February 26th 1993; except for a brief mention of the incident, the event itself is glaringly glossed over, with hardly a mention of the attack. What conclusions then, should we draw?
Obviously, Barrett wants to steer clear of the then Clinton Administration, for obvious reasons, and concentrate on a much lesser political and influential figure at the time, the then Mayor of New York City.
The danger of falling victim to your own ideology and drawing biased conclusions is that no one is immune from scrutiny. Based on Mr. Barrett’s skewed logic, one can argue that if then President Clinton had taken serious the attack on the World Trade Center in 93, and used all the resources of his presidency, and put into effect the current security checks and balances we have today, perhaps the carnage on 9/11 would not have taken place.
Would that be a fair assessment? Of course not! I make that assumption based on what I know today, and not then, unlike what the “talking heads” do today when it comes to how President Bush, has conducted the war in the Middle East.
Mr. Barrett is a gifted writer with a strong political view, and I would suspect (like myself) a political junkie. However his exposé is nothing more then rehashed innuendo, half truths and rumor, to further of course a preconceived agenda, and while I’d like to think of myself as flexible within my own biases, I know at times I’m not. Having someone point out the errors of my own thinking at times can be tough on ones ever expanding ego, and perhaps that’s the point, to bring us all back to the center and start again.
Of course I’ll always read the Village Voice, and its provocative commentaries, its part of the New York scene, as long as one realizes they’re not exactly the “voice” of reason.
More articles by this author:
» New York State, is once again under attack
» Presidential politics, New York style
» Christmas in New York
» General Petraeus; grace under fire
Copyright © 2007 Robert Amoroso
published in BrooWaha New York