Seattle-based New York Times reporter William Yardley made the front of the Monday Business section with a friendly interview with Kalle Lasn, the catalyst for the Occupy movement and the controversial editor of the Canadian “anticonsumerist” (how about left wing?) magazine Adbusters: “The Branding of the Occupy Movement.”
While crediting Lasn (pictured) for branding the Occupy Wall Street movement, Yardley went 19 paragraphs before mentioning Lasn’s inflammatory 2004 anti-Jewish attack on the Iraq War and neo-conservatives, “Why Won’t Anyone Say They Are Jewish?”
Kalle Lasn, the longtime editor of the anticonsumerist magazine Adbusters, did not invent the anger that has been feeding the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations across the United States.
But he did brand it.
Last summer, as uprisings shook the Middle East and much of the world economy struggled, Mr. Lasn and several colleagues at the small magazine felt the moment was ripe to tap simmering frustration on the American political left.
On July 13, he and his colleagues created a new hash tag on Twitter: #OCCUPYWALLSTREET. They made a poster showing a ballerina dancing on the back of the muscular sculptured bull near Wall Street in Manhattan.
For some people they were just words and images. For Mr. Lasn, they were tools to begin remodeling the “mental environment,” to create a new “meme,” the term coined by the evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins for a kind of transcendent cultural message.
Lasn is angry at the Times for the news of his controversial 2004 article appearing anywhere in its newspaper. Note that it is a Times columnist, David Brooks, not a news reporter, who is the subject of Lasn's anger. (Lasn had more to say about the supposedly "anti-Palestinian bias" at the Times in an interview at MondoWeiss.)
“Everybody knows it’s here but it’s not a local magazine,” said David Beers, the editor of The Tyee, an online news Web site based here. “He isn’t a local figure. It’s not like he’s on the morning radio. You never hear about the guy unless he’s in a fight with someone.”
Mr. Lasn has a lot of fights. The attention brought by the Occupy protests has revived questions about his views on Jews and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In 2004, Adbusters published an article claiming that a large percentage of neoconservatives behind American foreign policy were Jewish.
As a result, Mr. Lasn was called anti-Semitic, a charge he denies. He remains incensed that the incident was mentioned in a recent column by David Brooks, a New York Times columnist, and he has been involved in a discussion with the paper’s letters page about how he can address it.
“There’s not an anti-Semitic bone in my body,” he said, adding, “If we’re going to start wars based on the power of neocons’ influence in foreign policy, I think people should know who they are.”
Yardley left a lot out. Lasn didn’t merely “publish” the article – a paranoid polemic accompanied by a list of “neocons” with the Jewish ones indentified – he wrote it. Yardley also left off the title: “Why Won’t Anyone Say They Are Jewish?” Yardley also failed to quote charming paragraphs like this:
Here at Adbusters, we decided to tackle the issue head on and came up with a carefully researched list of who appear to be the 50 most influential neocons in the U.S. (see above). Deciding exactly who is a neocon is difficult since some neocons reject the term while others embrace it. Some shape policy from within the White House, while others are more peripheral, exacting influence indirectly as journalists, academics and think tank policy wonks. What they all share is the view that the U.S. is a benevolent hyper power that must protect itself by reshaping the rest of the world into its morally superior image. And half of them are Jewish.
The Times has also been eager to suppress evidence of anti-Semitism at Occupy rallies.