Once upon a time, editors demanded facts from reporters. Today, anything goes, especially opinions, speculation, ideology, soothsaying, and propaganda. The New York Times is the the best example because it is often described as the world’s finest example of high-standard journalism. What brings this on today is a New York Times news story, as published in the Boston Globe, July 13, 2020, about Turkey’s dictator, Recep Tayyip Erdogan decree turning the Byzantine era Hagia Sophia into a mosque. This action, the Times reports, “is likely to provoke international furor around a World Heritage Site cherished by Christians and Muslims alike for its religious significance, stunning structure and as a symbol of conquests.”
Wow! An international furor! Does this mean war? Or at least boycotts, shutting down Turkey? Or seizure of Erdogan’s and his flunkies’ bank accounts world-wide? Condemnation by the UN? Warnings by the Vatican? Will Erdogan be forced to back down?
Well, don’t hold your breath waiting for tensions to rise, as tensions always rise, according to the rules of journalese. I bet that not a damn thing will happen, despite the New York Times predictions. And when an “international furor” does not arise and is forgotten, you won’t read about it in the New York Times. It will be on to the next crystal ball séance.
File under: Reporters as soothsayers.