The New York Times has never been shy about sharing its opinion — especially when it comes to bashing Britain. In recent years, Cockburn has greatly enjoyed reading the London dispatches from America’s least reliable news source, in which Brexit Britain is re-imagined as an autocratic archipelago where plague-riddled, rain-drenched, swamp-dwelling subjects devour legs of mutton and fascistic propaganda.
But now, Cockburn has rare cause to bemoan the “Gray Lady’s” absence. For the NYT, whose staff proudly consider it to be the world’s leading liberal newspaper, has been strangely quiet on an area of intense local concern. The stabbing of Sir Salman Rushdie in New York State shocked the world last Friday, with expressions of condemnation and solidarity being issued across the West. Not though, it seems, at NYT Towers where, four days on, there has not been a single opinion piece by one of its many writers decrying the attack on the British author or defending free speech.
That failure to stand up for the right to publish is shocking enough but especially when one considers that the assault occurred in New York itself. As Josh Glancy of the Sunday Times of London wrote: “You don’t have to like Rushdie or The Satanic Verses to see that this issue of free speech is — or should be — a core liberal and indeed progressive tenet. Someone trying to stab him out of existence is surely worthy of comment.”
This article was originally published on The Spectator’s UK website.