Tuesday, September 27, 2005

When Tom Friedman is wrong

It is not often when one gets an opportunity to find a fault with the charismatic commentary of Tom Friedman. One got one such opportunity in the last week. Before the internal Likud vote in Israel politics; Tom went on arguing in NYT that he would back Bibi. His bit twisted and more cynical logic was it would drive Sharon out of Likud to pursue more moderate and center right agenda through a new party. As one knows, Sharon won in the latest internal Likud election. Further, for all we know majority of Likud party may rally behind Sharon sensing the potential landslide victory possible for moderate voices in Israel. That is one possibility in future.

Tom argued his backing to Bibi despite him really adhering to Sharon’s policies in order to expect a cleaner choice for Israel voters and bit of marginalization of extreme right represented by Bibi. But I suspect there is more to this than meets the eyes. Basically, Tom concluded that Bibi was more likely to pull off the upset victory. He counted little less of Sharon’s backing. (So much for his insights in Middle East Politics!) Next Tom went over board in order to get setup for his arguments and his ‘loud’ analysis. He kind of jumped the gun in hurry without admitting that it was a close vote and one needed to be careful in trading the ground. Once again it shows that for Tom and many journalists like him; setting up themselves in a position so as to be able to say “I told you so ….” is more important than to exercise moderation in appraising still unfolding and unpredictable reality. I guess humbleness is not necessarily a strong point with many influential journalists.

Umesh Patil
San Jose, CA
September 27, 2005.


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