The name Safire, as in William Safire of the New York Times, is a name they recognize well at the State Department. He is one of the high priests of Sulzberger's New York Times empire which has a franchise to dictate terms to the State Department. Of course, it is Safire himself who appears to be taking in dictation work these days from his old pal, Ariel Sharon. Before you read on, note that the Boston Globe is also a publication owned by Sulzberger. Is there a civil war breaking out among the Yiddish Supremacists? Or is Sulzberger trying to deflect some of the damage that is bound to come his way as a result of transforming his media empire into just another corner of the Israeli Lobby? Who cares? Let Sulzberger explain his shadow government's antics. But do read on.
"Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon is not one of the world's great or eager orators. His public pronouncements tend to be brusque and infrequent. Yet, in a time of crisis, Sharon has chosen an unusual way to communicate with the United States, whose support is strategically vital. He uses New York Times columnist and ideological soul mate William Safire as a press secretary. On numerous occasions since Sharon's election in February of last year, Safire has written columns quoting the prime minister at some length on subjects of peace and war. " (Mark Jurkowitz, The Boston Globe 4/10/2002, For Sharon, Times' Safire is a column of support).
Jurkowitz goes on to note that "the Times doesn't seem to be averse to having columnists serve as de facto diplomats: Thomas Friedman, who won a Pultizer Prize this week, is a midwife of the recent Saudi peace plan." And Safire delights in boasting of his intimate relationships with this particular war criminal. He is quoted as saying that "whenever he would come to America, he would call me and we would have lunch or breakfast. I stayed in touch with him. ... If I can get through to him when others can't, I'm delighted.''
More from Jurkowitz on the Sharon/Safire marraige "in return for that extraordinary access, Safire is clearly serving as an unabashed propaganda outlet for the hard-line Israeli leader. The more intriguing question is whether he's also presenting a sanitized - and more palatable - version of Sharon to the American public."
And on a final note Jurkowitz writes that "Safire says he's heard nary a peep from his bosses about his handling of Sharon, noting that "anything to do with content is never intruded upon". That's the way it should be. But when a columnist turns stenographer for a head of state - or a "warrior-patriarch," as Safire has called Sharon - the public ought to be wary."
Of course, considering that Jurkowitz is also employed by Sulzberger's publisher, It is not suprising that his criticism of the Safire/Sharon alliance is so mild. A more strident critique of the New York Times and its arsenal of war criminals can be located by following this link.