The Spin War: The New York Times’ Long History of Endorsing US-Backed Coups

The New York Times Editorial Board, it seems, rarely meets a coup backed by the US government that it doesn’t approve of.

By Alan Macleod and cross-posted from Mint Press News.

Bolivian President Evo Morales was overthrown in a U.S.-backed military coup d’état earlier this month after Bolivian army generals appeared on television demanding his resignation. As Morales fled to Mexico, the army appointed right-wing Senator Jeanine Añez as his successor. Añez, a Christian conservative who has described Bolivia’s indigenous majority as “satanic”, arrived at the presidential palace holding an oversized Bible, declaring that Christianity was re-entering the government. She immediately announced she would “take all measures necessary” to “pacify” the indigenous resistance to her takeover.

This included pre-exonerating the country’s notorious security services of all future crimes in their “re-establishment of order,” leading to massacres of dozens of mostly indigenous people.

The New York Times, the United States’ most influential newspaper, immediately applauded the events, its editorial board refusing to use the word “coup” to describe the overthrow, claiming instead that Morales had “resigned,” leaving a “vacuum of power” into which Añez was forced to move. The Times presented the deposed president as an “arrogant” and “increasingly autocratic” populist tyrant “brazenly abusing” power, “stuffing” the Supreme Court with his loyalists, “crushing any institution” standing in his way, and presiding over a “highly fishy” vote.

This, for democratic-minded Bolivians, was “the last straw” and forcing him out “became the only remaining option,” the Times extolled. It expressed relief that the country was now in the hands of “more responsible leaders” and stated emphatically that the whole situation was his fault; “There can be little doubt who was responsible for the chaos: newly resigned president Evo Morales,” the editorial board stated in the first paragraph of one article.

The Times, according to Professor Ian Hudson of the University of Manitoba, co-author of “Gatekeeper: 60 Years of Economics According to the New York Times,” remains America’s most influential news outlet in shaping public opinion

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