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The Imperial Messenger: Thomas Friedman at Work (Counterblasts) Paperback – 14 Nov 2011

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Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Verso (14 Nov. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844677494
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844677498
  • Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 1.7 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 604,025 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

The hubris, sophistry, consistent hypocrisy, and buffoonery of the New York Times s most widely read columnist is systematically deconstructed and laid bare. A must-read. --Dahr Jamail, journalist and author of 'Beyond the Green Zone: Dispatches from an Unembedded Journalist in Occupied Iraq'

Filleting the silliest man on the planet needs a sure scalpel, and Belen Fernandez wields hers with deadly finesse. --Alexander Cockburn, editor of CounterPunch

Belen Fernandez is a revelation to those who don't know her yet and a confirmation for those happy few who have known her sublime sense of political satire subdued, innocent, piercing, frightful. She is a political satirist of the generation X vintage low-key, self-effacing, happenstance, what-ever -type who crawls under your skin and begins to tickle and before you know it bite. She insinuates so effortlessly, you think she is just chilling she is not. Her book on Thomas Friedman is an act of restitution, a declaration of independence from a young, idealist, brave, and defiant generation of Americans who have had it up to here with barefaced banality that has been fed to them for too long. She is talking back boldly, patiently, chapter and verse, going in for the kill. --Hamid Dabashi, author of Iran, the Green Movement and the USA: The Fox and the Paradox

About the Author

BELEN FERNANDEZ is an editor and feature writer at Pulse Media. Her articles also have appeared in CounterPunch and many other publications.

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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By S Wood on 21 Feb. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Belen Fernandez in "Imperial Messenger" scrutinises the record of star New York Times reporter and pontificator in chief, as well as the writer of a number of bestselling books (see The Lexus and the Olive Tree and The World is Flat), Thomas Friedman. Of course such a prominent figure as Friedman has been critiqued (and mercilessly skewered) before by the likes of Edward W. Said, Greg Palast, Noam Chomsky and Robert Fisk but this, to the best of my knowledge, is the first time that he has been subjected to a comprehensive book length debunking. It is richly deserved.

That Friedman has as his perch from which to pontificate the editorial pages of the leading U.S. "quality" newspaper can only be regarded as a stunning indictment of the mainstream media of that country. When appointed chief diplomatic correspondent of the Times, having served for years as their lead correspondent in the Middle East, he claimed to know nothing about the modus operanda or institutions of international relations despite the relevance the world at large has to accurate and informed reporting of that region! This is but one specimen of Friedmans ignorance which he more or less regards as a badge of honour.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By William Podmore on 29 May 2012
Format: Paperback
Thomas Friedman is a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for the New York Times, where he has worked since 1981. He has been their foreign affairs columnist since 1995, and has written The World is Flat and other best-sellers.

This excellent book by journalist Bélen Fernández dissects Friedman's writings on economic matters, the Arab world and the special relationship between the USA and Israel. She details his writings and compares what he writes one day with what he writes on another. She also compares his opinions with the facts. Using these straightforward methods, she proves him a fraud and a fool.

For example, in an article on Ireland's economy, Friedman claims, "the easier it is to fire people, the more willing companies are to hire people." Fernández points out, "Actually, the easier it is to fire people, the easier it is for Dell to close its manufacturing center in Limerick, lay off 1,900 employees, and transfer major operations to Poland in 2009, invalidating do-it-yourself guides by New York Times columnists on how to `become one of the richest countries in Europe' through globalization."

Friedman stated, "because of all the tax revenue and employment the global companies are generating in Ireland, Dublin has been able to increase spending on health care, schools and infrastructure." In the real world, the government's investment in education was falling and it was piling up huge debt.

He reduces politics and economics to emotions, for example, the Arab, or `Ahmed' as he writes, is always `angry'. Rather than analyse a country he tells a story about someone he met there.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Wael on 19 Nov. 2011
Format: Paperback
Belén Fernández's review of the the presumably competent NY Times columnist is hard hitting and factual and all together a great read. She is diligent about annotating each fact she presents, each contradiction, and each outright falsehood presented by this man who's been described by some as America's most important columnist.

Facts and analysis aside, Fernández's wit keeps the book entertaining by drawing out Friedman's mixed metaphors, and carrying them to their (il)logical conclusions.

"The Imperial Messenger" has something of Chomsky and Klein in it, an altogether fantastic book that I'm happy to recommend.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Rafa on 27 Mar. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
With regard to his Pullitzer achievements one might think that Mr Friedman's capacity as a respected New York Times columnist is well beyond criticism. That was, however, my opinion before I read this book.

Ms Fernandez manages to carefully unravel Mr Friedman's writings as products of someone who is only superficially informed of serious and protracted issues he is writing about, thereby conveniently ignoring underlying causes which might otherwise shed a different light on these same issues.

This book is another stark reminder of the fact that one should not stick to only one information source alone - even if that source is The Imperial Messenger - but instead search for additional and critical material on the subject to improve one's understanding. A service to the reader that the current level of corporate journalism hardly provides. This is apparently a fact in the US, but it is definitely also here, in the Netherlands.

People who are interested in a nicely and sharply written, debunking critique of an internationally respected columnist on international affairs, plse do read it. The way Ms Fernandez writes is an indication that she is way more informed than Mr Friedman, and, moreover, knows how to elegantly formulate her critique. It will surely open up some eyes.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 12 reviews
71 of 76 people found the following review helpful
Imperial Messenger 21 Nov. 2011
By John E. Norem - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Belén Fernández has written a gem with her _Imperial Messenger_ and it deserves to be read in one sitting. It is a razor sharp and witty look at the writing of Thomas Friedman and Verso did well to include it in their new Counterblasts series of polemical writings.
Fernández undertakes the not enviable task of reading the books of Friedman and then, as if to make up for having had to do this, begins to shred the inconsistencies she encounters and the ideology which informs them. Whether as an apologist for neoliberalism or Israel's apartheid policies, Friedman is shown no mercy. _Imperial Messenger_ is worth reading for this alone, but like all good polemical writing it exposes not only inane thought, but also shows what an astute mind makes of the issues Friedman deals with. In a concluding note Fernández discusses the work of writers who serve as models for what a committed humane journalism can be.
Don't hesitate to read this book!
47 of 53 people found the following review helpful
Fair and hard hitting, a gem! 19 Nov. 2011
By Wael - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Belén Fernández's review of the the presumably competent NY Times columnist is hard hitting and factual and all together a great read. She is diligent about annotating each fact she presents, each contradiction, and each outright falsehood presented by this man who's been described by some as America's most important columnist.

Facts and analysis aside, Fernández's wit keeps the book entertaining by drawing out Friedman's mixed metaphors, and carrying them to their (il)logical conclusions.

"The Imperial Messenger" has something of Chomsky and Klein in it, an altogether fantastic book that I'm happy to recommend.
26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
Fine study of a nasty fool 29 May 2012
By William Podmore - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Thomas Friedman is a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for the New York Times, where he has worked since 1981. He has been their foreign affairs columnist since 1995, and has written The World is Flat and other best-sellers.

This excellent book by journalist Bélen Fernández dissects Friedman's writings on economic matters, the Arab world and the special relationship between the USA and Israel. She details his writings and compares what he writes one day with what he writes on another. She also compares his opinions with the facts. Using these straightforward methods, she proves him a fraud and a fool.

For example, in an article on Ireland's economy, Friedman claims, "the easier it is to fire people, the more willing companies are to hire people." Fernández points out, "Actually, the easier it is to fire people, the easier it is for Dell to close its manufacturing center in Limerick, lay off 1,900 employees, and transfer major operations to Poland in 2009, invalidating do-it-yourself guides by New York Times columnists on how to `become one of the richest countries in Europe' through globalization."

Friedman stated, "because of all the tax revenue and employment the global companies are generating in Ireland, Dublin has been able to increase spending on health care, schools and infrastructure." In the real world, the government's investment in education was falling and it was piling up huge debt.

He reduces politics and economics to emotions, for example, the Arab, or `Ahmed' as he writes, is always `angry'. Rather than analyse a country he tells a story about someone he met there.

Over and again, Fernández exposes Friedman as inaccurate, inconsistent and downright stupid, a muddlehead whose self-deception makes him a sower of deception and confusion.

In sum, Friedman has the brains and morals of Private Eye's Glenda Slag. Fernández concludes that Friedman's writings amount to `warmongering apologetics on behalf of empire and capital'.
29 of 34 people found the following review helpful
Exposes the Fraud That Is Thomas Friedman 2 Mar. 2012
By Klaus T - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I can't count the number of Friedman books and columns I've read with the hope that one day I would understand why he is so revered. For me, he is nothing but a smug, illogical, self-aggrandizing apologist for US imperialism and Israeli sociopathy. This book should be read by every thinking person, not just because it exposes that this emperor of punditry is not wearing any clothes, but because it offers some sound logic with which to analyze US and world politics.
56 of 69 people found the following review helpful
Tour de force 20 Oct. 2011
By D. Gardner - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A wonderful analysis of one of the medias great bombastic frauds. Tom Friedman personifies the self-important, self-serving, self-gratifying twaddle that characterizes the NYTimes, a newspaper that exists to serve its own interests and promote Israel at the expense of America.
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