NY Times Hates Political Violence -- Except It Oozes (Again) for 'How to Blow Up a Pipeline'

January 16th, 2024 1:58 PM

On November 3, 2022 -- right before the midterms -- the New York Times Editorial Board produced a long article titled "America Can Have Democracy or Political Violence. Not Both." 

But they don't really believe that. 

Sunday’s New York Times Magazine ran a bizarre, almost Freudian interview from the environmental violence fringe, “How This Climate Activist Justifies Political Violence.” Talk page columnist David Marchese tied to Swedish professor Andreas Malm’s follow-up, “Overshoot: How the World Surrendered to Climate Breakdown,” It was a strange, cringeworthy interview where both sides revealed rather too much of their own personal demons.

Marchese conveniently cited favorable mainstream press coverage, including in the Times itself,  to justify boosting Malm’s latest violent manifesto. The eco-terrorist himself wrote an op-ed in support of Van Gogh vandals for the paper, an appearance both irresponsible and hypocritical, given the paper’s embarrassing internal hysterics over an op-ed by Sen. Tom Cotton that advocated deploying the military to quell the George Floyd riots that supposedly posed a danger to the paper’s black staffers.

The best one can say is that Marchese isn’t as supportive of Malm’s tactics as some previous reporters and gives the eco-terrorist author plenty of rope. But one certainly didn’t expect the Times interviewer to plead “Give me a reason to live.” Twice.

Marchese: With the 2021 publication of his unsettling book, How to Blow Up a Pipeline, Andreas Malm established himself as a leading thinker of climate radicalism….The book found an audience far beyond that of texts typically published by relatively obscure Marxist-influenced Swedish academics, earning thoughtful coverage in The New Yorker, The Economist, The Nation, The New Republic and a host of other decidedly nonradical publications, including this one….

Marchese added: It’s hard for me to think of a realm outside of climate where mainstream publications would be engaging with someone, like you, who advocates political violence. Why are people open to this conversation?

Perhaps because it’s appearing with the imprimatur of the New York Times?

One of Marchese’s pretentious sidebar footnotes provided a caveat: “Just to be explicit about this: Malm does not endorse or advocate any political violence that targets people. His aim is violence against property.”

Slashing tires doesn’t target people?

Marchese: How confident are you that when you open the door to political violence, it stays at the level of property and not people? You’ve written about the need to be careful, but the emotions that come with violence are not careful emotions.

Malm: Political history is replete with movements that have conducted sabotage without taking the next step. But the risk is there. One driver of that risk is that the climate crisis itself is exacerbating all the time. It’s hard-wired to get worse. So people might well get more desperate. Now, in the current situation, in every instance that I know of, climate movements that experiment with sabotage steer clear of deliberately targeting people. We might smash things, which people are doing here and there, but no one is seriously considering that you should get a gun and shoot people….

Thanks, we guess?

Marchese’s psyche was overwhelmed and he pleaded with Malm: “Could you give me a reason to live?” In a footnote Marchese admitted: “I just blurted this out. I don’t even think Malm’s pessimism is wrong, but I find it suffocating. People need hope.”

Things got positively Freudian as Malm explained: “I had a vicious Oedipal conflict with my father….”

Malm was cagey when asked if he “actually engaged in property destruction,” responding, “There are things that I have done when it comes to militant activism recently that I, as a matter of principle and political expediency, do not reveal.”