Thomas Freedman and M.E. Politics:
A Press Secretary of the Shadow Government,
or Just a Smart Journalist?
By Hassan El-Najjar
On February 21, 2002, the New York Times published what is now known as the peace initiative of Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia to end the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. The initiative came during an interview that Thomas Freedman conducted with the Crown Prince, during his recent visit to Saudi Arabia. Freedman's visit, the resulting initiative, and the reaction to the initiative in the Middle East had all demonstrated that he is not an average journalist.
Freedman's visit to Saudi Arabia marked an end to a media campaign that was launched fiercely against the Arab kingdom, following the September 11, 2001 attacks. The campaign started when the investigation revealed that majority of the attackers were Saudi citizens. The start of the campaign and its abrupt end have unequivocally demonstrated that the major media in the U.S. are centrally controlled, particularly the main TV stations, magazines, and newspapers. It was so easy to observe that. Before Freedman's visit, Saudi Arabia had been under continuous negative scrutiny by the media. However, after the visit, Saudi Arabia is not mentioned any more. So, what deal did Freedman strike with the Crown Prince that ended the negative media campaign? Who is Thomas Freedman, anyway, to negotiate and strike deals with foreign leaders? Then, why in the world would the U.S. "privately-owned" and "free" media honor his deals.
The easiest answer is that he is a smart and above-average journalist, who kept whipping Saudi Arabia in the New York Times until the Saudis invited him to their country and told him that they are friends, not enemies. Then, he stopped his campaign, and BY ACCIDENT, all other journalists and TV anchors also stopped their attacks on Saudi Arabia.
Another explanation is that Thomas Freedman could be the Press Secretary of the U.S. Shadow Government. He went to Saudi Arabia with that capacity, that is why he was able to obtain that initiative from the Prince. The initiative has revealed that Saudi Arabia, and other Arab states are willing to normalize relations with Israel if it withdraws from the occupied Arab territories. In effect, it gives the Sharon government a break after its failure to end the Palestinian Uprising by force. Thus, Freedman's visit was to obtain a concession from Saudi Arabia, in return for stopping the media campaign against that country. However, it's all about Israel, not the United States.
Dr. Hassan A. El-Najjar is the Editor of www.aljazeerah.info and author of "The Gulf War: Overreaction & Excessiveness." (2001).