Thomas L. Friedman: "you have to explain to the editors that the clicks are not everything"

Time of liberticidas, time-of-resistance The message of Anabel and Lydia Cacho, the mexican journalists. "You are not alone". Winner of three Pulitzer

Thomas L. Friedman:

Time of liberticidas, time-of-resistance

The message of Anabel and Lydia Cacho, the mexican journalists. "You are not alone".

Winner of three Pulitzer prizes, the columnist claims that sectarianism and conspiracy theories typical of the middle East have settled in the U.S.

Thomas (Tom) Friedman, 65, is the journalist of the press alive with more Pulitzer, in addition to the author of half a dozen bestsellers. Started in 1979 as a correspondent for The New York Times in the Middle East (covering the outlet from the Mosque of Mecca in Saudi Arabia by militant muslims and the Iranian Revolution); went on to be a correspondent in the White House; and, at present, is one of the flagships of the Opinion section of the newspaper, with a style that is provocative, half-way between the reporting, analysis and exclusive.

Question - You are from St. Louis Park, a town of Minnesota, of 45,000 inhabitants, who are also the film directors Joel and Ethan Coen, former u.s. senator Al Franken and the philosopher Steven Pinker, has won the Award of Princess of Asturias of Social Sciences this year. What happens there? Do you throw something to the water?

Response - What happens is that there was a combustion, on the one hand, people of scandinavian origin, catholic and protestant, and, on the other, of jews who left the ghetto, which they shared with african americans in north Minneapolis. In the 30's and 40's, Minneapolis was the capital of anti-semitism in the united states, to which Hubert Humphrey [which would then be a candidate for the presidency in 1968] won the elections of the mayor and cleaned up the local government. My parents and the other jews left the ghetto, but they found that in Minneapolis it was forbidden to sell houses to people that the laws of the time were called "hebrews". St. Louis Park had no such regulation, so they went there.

Q - How was the mix?

A. - Explosive, in the best sense of the term. There was a meeting between some Swedish very pluralistic and open, and a few jews totally neurotic, which came with a very good education and a lot of ambition and social aspirations. It was bizarre. The best way to understand it is to see the films of the Coens. Fargo is about St. Louis Park. And A serious kind, where I was offered a small role that I could not do because there was no time, about our jewish school. In fact, even used the real name of the master.

P. - on The sidelines of the aspect hollywood, what did you do special to the St. Louis Park?

R. - The combination of those two communities, created a society with a civic spirit very high, which, in turn, caused the people to participate in policy discussions. So it is explained that two jews from St. Louis Park, as Michael Sandel, and Thomas Friedman, who have been respectively godparents at the wedding of another, win prizes linked to the social sciences in Spain in the same year. My journalism cannot be understood without understanding how it was St. Louis Park.

Q. - That is one of the ideas from his latest book, Thank you for arriving late.

A. - Yes. In Thanks for arriving late back to St. Louis Park to see if what I imagined that it was the civic culture of the people is real, or is it something that I had idealized from a distance. I did it because I realized that, although he had returned to the united States after two decades in the Middle East, in reality the Middle East had come with me. Not in a psychological sense, or even metaphorical, but real.

The columnist is a native of St. Louis Park (Minnesota), where also from the Coen brothers, former senator Al Franken and the philosopher Steven Pinker.

P. - Are you referring to the factionalism and the ferocity of the social life and american politics?

R. - The sectarianism, the tribalism, and the conspiracy theories characteristics of the Middle East have settled in my country and, by extension, in the West. Now we are all sunnis or shiites, just that we call ourselves republicans or democrats, and is expected of you that votes for a candidate because he is from your same tribe. Today my mother would be a rara avis: a person who is very left-wing that they always voted at Bill Frenzel for Congress, a republican of center in their election posters even said what game it was. In the last election, Trump was on the verge of winning in Minnesota. If you have cattle there, I hit a shot.

Q: and That danger of the politics of identity reminds one of the books that have been given to talk about this year in the U.S., The return of a liberal, by Mark Lilla.

A. - I have Not read the book. But, by the reviews I've seen and what I have said of him, I totally agree.

"A column is like a chemical mixture. If you knew the perfect combination, the embotellaría and sell it"

P. - Talking about tribalism, and one of the elements that develop it, which are the social networks... You don't go on Twitter. Is your secretary who manages your account. Isn't it so?

R. - he Never looked at Twitter. It bothers Me very much that idea of "Twitter has enjoyed or has stopped like your article", or "your article has ignited social networks". Who is Twitter? Who is social networking? No one on Twitter is going to tell you: "Thank you for that article, with which I have some discrepancies, but that it is balanced and it has been useful." It is just a machine insults. Last year when Steve Kerr, the coach of the basketball team San Francisco Warriors, said to me that the players, in the middle of the matches, you're looking at the mobile in the locker room to see what they are saying about them on Twitter and Facebook, I replied: "Steve, that is a sign of the arrival of the Apocalypse".

Q. - But the social networks are too big to ignore. In fact, you either ignore them fully, because there is a person that handles it for you.

R. - It's about finding a balance. You can not convert the audience in the unique. What are you going to have more audience? Do an article on the economic reform in China or another about the line of shoes Ivanka Trump? Probably the second. But that does not mean that you do not give the first, because it is more important. According to the article on Ivanka generates revenues that allow you to do the article on China. But if you become a noise machine-and until there is a medium that is called a noise generator, that is Buzzfeed - you're not doing your job. Companies informative have to explain to their editors that the clicks are not everything.

P. - it is Not only the obsession for the click, the click is also tribalizando. The New York Times and the Washington Post saw their subscriptions online fired after the election of Donald Trump. Conservatives see Fox News or media of the right alternative. It seems that the only way for the media to make money in the TWENTY-first century is becoming in communities -in reality, bubbles - of people who think the same. The people do not follow a way to inform; it continues to assert itself.

"he Never looked at Twitter. Who is Twitter? It is only a machine of insults"

A. - I don't see it as well. In the last year, The New York Times has entered a billion dollars from the sale of subscriptions online and on paper. That is to say, there is a hearing that is not dependent on the click. We have found a balance and have discovered that the people pay that money for quality journalism.

Q. - But one of the things most successful online subscription of The New York Times are their recipes.

A. - That is the beauty of an online platform for multi-dimensional: there are people that pay for Paul Krugman and Nick Kristoff, the puzzle, and cooking recipes. The key is to give reasons to people to subscribe.

Q. - Speaking of Krugman: recently said in a column that, when he began to write in the Times as a columnist, in 1999, was forbidden to say in the newspaper that a presidential candidate - in that case, George W. Bush - not lied. Is this true?

A. - Yes. I remember the first time that we had to face was when Bill Safire called it in 1996 Hillary Clinton "a liar congenital". He had information to support this accusation that Hillary was a liar, but caused a small cataclysm.

"Now we are all sunnis and shi'as, only that we call ourselves republicans or democrats"

Q: And today, do you what would you do?

R. - I would call Jim [Bennett, the head of Opinion of the New York Times] and say to him: "do You feel all right?".

Q. - Of his three Pulitzer, you've always said that it is the third, which he won as a columnist, which is more satisfied.

Q: that Is the point in my career that I'm most proud of, because there was too much competition at the time of writing comments on the Middle East.

A. - What is the key to make a good column?

A. - A column is like a chemical mixture. Or works or not. If I knew the perfect combination, the embotellaría and sell it. Sometimes the public wants to hear what one says; sometimes, not. After the 11-S, the people wanted to hear what I was saying. In the Iraq War [that Friedman defended] the people do not want to hear what I was saying. After 23 years as a columnist, one learns one thing: sometimes one is on a roll, sometimes not.

the edges of the case Khashoggi

The words Friedman and controversy tend to go hand in hand. The last time that happened was a couple of months ago, when the columnist revealed that a person who had defined in one of its articles as "a veteran saudi journalist" was Jamal Khashoggi, a journalist, who was quartered alive in the consulate of Saudi Arabia in Istanbul on the orders of the crown prince and strong man that petromonarquía, the prince Mohamed bin Salman, to whom Friedman refers, like all of US, by their initials: MBS.

Friedman has tried both MBS as Khashoggi, that is to say, the murdered, and who ordered his dismemberment with a chainsaw. But his political analysis of the assassination is more nuanced than usual.

"The thesis of Khashoggi was that MBS had saved his country by doing things that nobody was willing to do: end subsidies to water, to electricity, to gasoline, allowing women to lead, to authorize the opening of cinemas and the arrival of the western culture... of course, when you say that to people now, everyone will remember what he has done in Yemen and Qatar, but you can't deny the achievements of the prince", he explains, before clinching it with a sentence more emphatic: "MBS is the only one with balls to do the two things: liberalize and invade. You do not have a mentor, no one to help you to control your impulses. MBS is impulsive, perhaps to the point of view of the pathological".

Friedman also dismantles the image of a democrat of Khashoggi. "I met him because he came to Washington with prince Turki when he was named ambassador," he recalls, referring to Turki al Faisal, former director of the intelligence services to saudis, who resigned a few days before the 11-S and a friend of Osama bin Laden, with whom he practiced falconry in Afghanistan. "All of them are personalities complex," he concludes, before framing the policy of MBS in a trend that, according to Friedman, is now spreading throughout the world: "it Is the imitation of the chinese model, that is to say, the idea that the State must be strong to ensure the economic development and does not tolerate any type of discussion."

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Date Of Update: 13 December 2018, 08:01

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