NYT Department of Double Standards

In its ongoing campaign to burnish its readers' view of Islam and Arab nations, the New York Times heaped praise  on the wisdom and taste behind the "audacious" (why do I have a feeling we are going to read this word quite frequently in the next two years?) "cultural district" to be built on an island by the Abu Dhabi oil despots who are spending 27 billion dollars on it.  Structures and buildings will be built with an eye, according to the Times, of changing "the cultural climate in the region". The director general of the Abu Dhabi tourism authority was quoted:

"This is not just about tourism; it also has global cultural dimensions," Mubarak Muhairi, the director general of the Abu Dhabi tourism authority, said. "We believe the best vehicle for crossing borders is art. And this region is in need of such artistic initiatives."    
How nice for the Times to be so generous to Abu Dhabi for such an "inspiring" plan (the Times actually had two articles that ran last week about Abu Dhabi's plans). As Youssef Ibrahim (hat tip: Atlas Shrugs ) points out, it is the height of folly to presume such Xanadus can actually change the culture of the region. A more responsible leadership would have devoted these resources toward improving the schools of the Arab world. How could the Times, which has always advocated spending more on education, missed the obvious?

Beyond this, this public relations spin on Abu Dhabi reminded me of a previous article regarding the architecture of the Middle East.  However, in this case, the New York Times offered not praise but harsh criticism.  The object of their calumny? Israel, of course.

Nicholai Ouroussoff launched, under the guise of an article on architectural theory (in the words of the Anti-Defamation League), an "assault on Israel's security fence". As pointed out by the ADL, the critic failed to note that for 95% of its reach, the security fence is just that- a "fence" - and not a "wall" or "dark concrete barrier" as it is repeatedly characterized in the article. Ouroussoff  went beyond mere "architectural criticism" to characterize the security barrier as a
"model of planning reduced to its most primitive-the desire to divide black from white, us from them" that has been " assailed as a formula for ghettoization and a symbol of colonialism".
This is yet another example of double standards at work at the Times. It uses its architecture section to fawningly laud oil despots and dictators for spending 27 billion dollars on trophy buildings, and condemns our democratic ally Israel for a security fence designed to save lives.

There you have it in a nutshell. Which, come to think of it, is as good a description of the New York Times headquarters building as any.