Yesterday we started looking at Chris Hedges, a journalist and commentator who is a hero on the radical left – and, above all, a hero in his own mind. He routinely describes the U.S. as a totalitarian power, and routinely represents himself as a courageous truth-teller about that totalitarian power.
But that’s not all. When he’s not depicting the U.S. as a dictatorship, he’s celebrating the real tyrannies. Get a load of this, from last February:
We have a renaissance in Latin America taking place that is extremely exciting. Nations like Cuba, Bolivia, Ecuador.…Venezuela has spearheaded Latin America’s emergence from literally centuries of subordination to the U.S. regarding media, economic policies, culture, and international relations. That alone is a killable offense in the eyes of Washington.
Like other critics of his persuasion – and other writers in The Nation‘s stable – Hedges has in recent years become a fixture on RT (Russia Today), the Kremlin-owned TV network, where he reliably bashes the U.S. and Israel (and what he describes as their lapdog mainstream news media) and stands up for assorted terrorists and tyrants. Appearing on RT last November, he describedfreedom of the press in the U.S. as a myth – quite a claim to be making on a TV network run by a government that orders hits on opposition journalists.
And this past January, rejecting the claim that the Charlie Hebdo massacre was an act of jihad, he argued that the atrocity had nothing whatsoever to do with Islam, but was, rather, an understandable response by “the global dispossessed” to a life of “poverty, aimlessness, and despair” that is the fault of the wealthy and privileged people of the Western world.
Charlie Hebdo‘s cartoons about Islam, Hedges insisted, were not brave free-speech acts carried out in defiance of acts of terrorism, but were inexcusable assaults on the poorest and most helpless people in France; the murdered cartoonists had been mocking the only thing that oppressed and brutalized Muslims have to cling to, namely their religion, and the Muslims had responded in the only way they had available to them. “When everybody is chanting ‘Je suis Charlie Hebdo,’” Hedges maintained, “what they’re really chanting is, you know, ‘We can’t stand dirty Arabs.’” (For good measure, he also called the killing of Osama bin Laden a “war crime.”)
But Hedges’s way-out-there views aren’t the worst thing about him. We’ll get around to that in our next installment.