World’s Largest Arms Dealer Strains to Stop Arms Flow

One gets the impression, reading the New York Times‘ coverage of the WikiLeaks cables, that the paper is particularly interested in documents that portray the State Department in a good light, struggling to do good in a world that continually resists its efforts. Take today’s front-page piece (12/7/10), “America Prods and Protests But Can’t Halt Arms Trade.”

The piece, by Michael Gordon and Andrew Lehren, details “the United States’ efforts to prevent buildups of arms…in some of the world’s tensest regions.” The piece does include an acknowledgment that “the United States is the world’s largest arms supplier, and with Russia, dominates trade in the developing world”; the U.S. is, in fact, the seller in 40 percent of global arms deals, and delivers arms to some of the most repressive and war-torn countries in the world (Extra!, 5/10). Gordon and Lehren go on to note, “Its role as a purveyor of weapons to certain allies–including Israel, Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf states–has drawn criticism that it has fueled an arms race.”

But aside from these two sentences of context, the rest of the article overwhelmingly presents the contradictory case that, as the Times‘ Web headline has it, the “U.S. Strains to Stop Arms Flow.”

About Jim Naureckas

Extra! Magazine Editor Since 1990, Jim Naureckas has been the editor of Extra!, FAIR's monthly journal of media criticism. He is the co-author of The Way Things Aren't: Rush Limbaugh's Reign of Error, and co-editor of The FAIR Reader: An Extra! Review of Press and Politics in the '90s. He is also the co-manager of FAIR's website. He has worked as an investigative reporter for the newspaper In These Times, where he covered the Iran-Contra scandal, and was managing editor of the Washington Report on the Hemisphere, a newsletter on Latin America. Jim was born in Libertyville, Illinois, in 1964, and graduated from Stanford University in 1985 with a bachelor's degree in political science. Since 1997 he has been married to Janine Jackson, FAIR's program director. You can follow Jim on Twitter at @JNaureckas.