By Ben Cohen
I’ve never had a particular problem with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria, mostly because I switch off whenever he is talking. He seems like a nice enough chap, talks politely, and never says anything too controversial. However, Matt Taibbi, who has made a career of spotting and demolishing hacks, has been paying attention. And his analysis of Zakaria’s latest intellectual offering on global capitalism isn’t pretty:
Wheras most writers grow up dreaming of using their talents to stir
up the passions, to inflame and amuse and inspire, Zakaria shoots for
the opposite effect, taking controversial and explosive topics and
trying to help rattled readers somehow navigate their way through them
to yawns, lower heart rates, and states of benign unconcern. He’s back
at it again with a new piece about the financial crisis called “The
Capitalist Manifesto,” which is one of the first serious attempts at
restoring the battered image of global capitalism in the mainstream
This writer has done work like this before, using a big canvas to
rework an uncooperative chunk of history in the wake of a crisis.
Zakaria is probably best known for his post 9/11 “Why Do They Hate Us?”
article, a sort of masterpiece of milquetoast propaganda that laid the
intellectual foundation for a wide array of important War on Terror
popular misconceptions, not the least of which being the whole “They
hate us for our freedom” idea. One of Zakaria’s central arguments in
that piece was that poor struggling Arabs were driven to envious
violence by the endless pop-culture reminders of American affluence and
progress. It was just too much to take, seeing all those cool blue
jeans and all that great satellite TV.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.