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MSNBC: Mark Ames and Yasha Levine
Broke the Koch Brothers' Takeover of America
S.H.A.M.E. / August 17, 2012
By Yasha Levine

Cross-posted from the S.H.A.M.E. Project

“[The Middle East] is so dysfunctional, any stirring of the pot is good. America’s involvement in the region is for the good. In that way, I’m an immigrant.”

—Fareed Zakaira on invasion of Iraq

After a week on the ropes, Fareed Zakaria is back in the game. Yesterday, Time and CNN announced they had cleared Zakeera of any charges of wrongdoing: “We have completed a thorough review of each of Fareed Zakaria’s columns for TIME, and we are entirely satisfied that the language in question in his recent column was an unintentional error and an isolated incident for which he has apologized. We look forward to having Fareed’s thoughtful and important voice back in the magazine with his next column in the issue that comes out on September 7.” CNN, which is a part of the Time Warner media conglomerate, issued a similar statement: “We found nothing that merited continuing the suspension. Zakaria has apologized for a journalistic lapse.”

Well, that’s settled. Who needs accountability in the journalism world when that would just get in the way of Zakaria’s important job: Being a dancing circus poodle for warmongers, neoliberals and multinationals. In other words, those who, like Zakaria, escaped accountability for their failures (and their thieving).

After a brief vacation, Zakaria will go back to work for Time Warner as one of the very worst, most toxic media shills working today.

How bad? Well, a few years back FAIR compiled an exhaustive dossier on some of Fareed’s “thoughtful and important” work on economic issues from 1999 to 2008, which they titled: “Fareed Zakaria, Spokesperson for the Global Elite: Newsweek pundit presents pro-corporate views as the poor’s perspective.” Here are some of the highlights, courtesy of the good people of FAIR.

Fareed on Seattle’s WTO protests:

Those who demonstrated against the World Trade Organization at the famous “battle of Seattle” in 1999, he asserted, were displaying the hubris of the “rich and privileged,” who were delivering “a familiar plea for the downtrodden of the world” by challenging the WTO’s promotion of sweatshops and environmental degradation in the impoverished Third World.

In other words, Zakaria denounced the arrogance of those who presume to advocate for the world’s poor—while appointing himself, the son of a prominent Indian attorney and politician, as the poor’s spokesperson. “There’s just one problem: The downtrodden beg to differ,” Zakaria declared.

In his eyes, the Third World’s poor eagerly welcome Western investment on any terms as a vast improvement over their current misery. Microscopic wages, long hours and heartless management in sweatshops, along with befouled air and water, might seem horrific to wealthy Westerners, but are gratefully welcomed by the desperate people of nations like Mexico, China and India. “In fact, if the demonstrators’ demands were met, the effect would be to crush the hopes of much poorer Third World workers,” he declared (12/13/99).

Fareed on anti-globalization/anti-free trade activists:

While claiming to stand up to concentrated corporate power, Zakaria charged (Newsweek, 4/30/01), “the anti-globalization crowd is anti-democratic . . . trying to achieve, through intimidation and scare tactics, what it has not been able to get through legislation.”

On democracy vs dictatorship:

Zakaria . . . unfavorably compared Chávez, a democratically elected president, to U.S.-supported Pakistani dictator Pervez Musharraf (Newsweek, 11/19/07): “Musharraf, for all his flaws, has been a far better president than Chávez, who despite Venezuela’s oil bonanza has run the country into the ground.” In reality, Chávez’s popularity and the strength of Venezuelan democracy has consistently been rated among the highest in Latin America (e.g., Latinobarómetro poll, 11/07), and economic conditions in Venezuela have improved markedly, especially for the poor, according to various international reports (CEPR, 3/21/08).

On corporate taxes:

. . . Zakaria worries that the U.S. taxes corporations too heavily in the global economy (Newsweek, 5/12/08): “Twenty years ago, the United States had the lowest corporate taxes in the world. Today they are second highest.”

Here Zakaria confuses the official “nominal” tax rate with the effective tax rate paid by corporations, which is lowered by enormous tax breaks, putting the U.S. 26th out of 30 among wealthy nations in terms of corporate taxes as a share of GDP. “Eighty-two of America’s largest and most profitable corporations paid no federal income tax in at least one year during the first three years of the George W. Bush administration—a period when federal corporate tax collections fell to their lowest sustained level in six decades,” a Citizens for Tax Justice study found (9/22/04).

On outsourcing of U.S. jobs:

Zakaria quotes former World Bank official Lawrence Summers to make the claim that Mexico’s NAFTA-driven transformation “didn’t cost the U.S. a penny” (Newsweek, 3/10/08). It is remarkable that Summers, who also worked as secretary of the U.S. Treasury Department, neglected to mention a roughly $25 billion bailout of the Mexican economy in response to the drop of the peso in 1995 (Faux, Global Class War). Further, an Economic Policy Institute briefing paper (9/28/06) estimated that NAFTA has resulted in the loss of over 1 million U.S. jobs to Mexico.

Yet Zakaria has nothing but contempt for those who argue that corporate relocations of jobs are driven by the desire to exploit low-wage labor: “There are no serious economists or experts who believe that low wages in Mexico or China or India are the fundamental reason that American factories close down,” Zakaria declared with characteristic certainty (Newsweek, 3/10/08).

But Zakaria’s flat declaration is refuted by avidly pro-business sources that have reported closely on corporate decision-making. In 1992, a Wall Street Journal headline stated (9/24/92), “U.S. Companies Pour Into Mexico, Drawn Primarily by One Factor: Low Wages.” Similarly, U.S. News & World Report (6/5/95) reported with undisguised admiration Reebok’s strategy of “global hopscotch” applied “in search of low-cost labor.”

Want to know more? Read the entire FAIR dossier here: Fareed Zakaria, Spokesperson for the Global Elite . . .


Yasha Levine is co-founder of the S.H.A.M.E. Project and author of The Corruption of Malcolm Gladwell.

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Add your own

  • 1. Ed  |  August 17th, 2012 at 12:13 pm

    I have to say, I dislike his argument that a book about the whole Mohammed cartoons controversy was “right” not to include a reprint of cartoons because it would “incite radical Muslims.”

    It’s ridiculous to surrender the First Amendment because certain foreigners get butthurt that other countries don’t behead people for criticizing Islam.

  • 2. That Man  |  August 17th, 2012 at 1:57 pm

    Blech. All these vacuous jerks that Ames & Co post pictures of have really punchable faces.

  • 3. MF  |  August 17th, 2012 at 3:41 pm

    I can’t help but think this is a sisyphean game of whack-a-shill. At least someone’s doing it though.

  • 4. gc  |  August 17th, 2012 at 5:04 pm


    If you can’t whack them all, maybe you can at least whack enough to make the rest worry about being next.

  • 5. Cum  |  August 17th, 2012 at 5:17 pm

    The Daily Show would have him on for little chats, and I was coaxed into getting The Post-American World. But I only got partway through since it’s basically The World is Flat being resold to gullible liberals.

    Just say: “Globalization is great because it means the decline of American Imperialism and the economic growth of nations that have been living in America’s shadow!” There, that’s one way you can turn gullible liberals into neoliberals. If you want to turn liberals into neoconservatives, sell them on the concept of “humanitarian intervention.” It’s clever, exploiting liberal anti-imperialist instincts to support imperialist measures.

  • 6. Zog  |  August 18th, 2012 at 3:13 am

    The worthless bourgeois white worms here in South Africa love that guy. I mean LOVE him. I was hoping FAIR would have some dirt on him in the vein of SHAME’s dossier on Adam Davidson but unfortunately saying he shills for corporate feudalism, sweatshops and the impoverishment and enslavement of millions would just make him sparkle more in their eyes. Segueing seamlessly from National Party Nazis to negative freedom loving Liberals came so naturally to them. Fareed helped them realise that instead of justifying the structural abortion that is the South African economy by saying it was an unfortunate effect of “race based separate development” you could just say it was “market forces” and absolutely nothing had to change. In fact things just got better and better and better. You couldn’t drive your car over a black person with impunity anymore, true. But with sanctions gone you could offshore their jobs, offshore your profits, speculate more and the worse things got, the lower wages for the majority fell, the more poor blacks started to die, the more you could say, “told you so.”

  • 7. Ronald Reagan  |  August 18th, 2012 at 11:11 am

    I last saw this piece of shit shilling for humanitarian intervention in Syria on the Real Time with Bill Maher program.

    His shit is weak of course, but noone on the same stage will call him out on it.

  • 8. bulfinch  |  August 18th, 2012 at 11:25 pm

    Good work — and extra kudos for being able to stay awake long enough to establish Fareed as a serial shiller. Seriously, the man is a walking sedative. I cannot make it past a minute or two of Fareed footage before his bloodless, super-low-octane manner has my eyelids slamming shut.

  • 9. Galtic Warrior  |  August 19th, 2012 at 1:35 am

    Mark Ames, why do you hate the institution that enrich 100% of American’s lives: The United States banking system.

    The banks? Not all bailouts are created equally.

    The bailout for banking/financial sector is necessary, because that sector is the lifeline of this country since it touches 100% of the people. You may argue about who should be held responsible for the financial crisis, but once the financial crisis is upon us, the government has no choice but to print money to bail the entire sector out because otherwise the entire country along with all of us would go down. However, bailout of GM and Chrysler was absolutely unnecessary because we as a nation would survive without them. GM and Chrysler were bailed out because political gains for certain politicians……especially it was done with a clear favortism toward UAW union members…….

    Greece is simply finding out that there is no FREE LUNCH. It BEGGED to get into the Eurozone, and than went on a credit binge like a drunken sailor on shore leave. Iceland is getting back on top because of it’s fishing industry. Sometimes, you need to let the FREE Market prevail.

    This isn’t the situation with Greece. Greece needs to radically restructure it’s economy by doing away with many protectionist business regulations, reduce the bloated and underperforming state infrastructure (both health and education are sore spots), fight tax evasion, increase the retirement age, etc, etc…

    I’m ready for you this time, Mark Ames. Bring it ON!

  • 10. Galtic Warrior  |  August 19th, 2012 at 10:00 am

    I’m glad you’re beginning to see the big picture.

  • 11. Mason C  |  August 19th, 2012 at 2:00 pm

    Fareed Zakaria makes me hear Bill Hicks saying “scat-muncher.”

  • 12. Alex  |  August 19th, 2012 at 3:28 pm

    “The bailout for banking/financial sector is necessary, because that sector is the lifeline of this country since it touches 100% of the people. You may argue about who should be held responsible for the financial crisis, but once the financial crisis is upon us, the government has no choice but to print money to bail the entire sector out because otherwise the entire country along with all of us would go down. However, bailout of GM and Chrysler was absolutely unnecessary because we as a nation would survive without them. GM and Chrysler were bailed out because political gains for certain politicians……especially it was done with a clear favortism toward UAW union members…….”

    You fucking dumbass!

    The banks need to be broken up! They became “too big to fail,” to the point their failing would drag other shit along with them.

    The problem is, they got money with no strings attached. And since then, the fuckwit Republicans have demonized Obama as “strangling business.” The bailouts for GM actually did work- so the assclowns that control the propaganda mechanisms that feed you misinformation must demonize them to help strengthen support for the Republican party.

    Go read Going Postal and pull your head out of your fucking dumb ass!

  • 13. bob  |  August 19th, 2012 at 7:35 pm

    Comedy central, using him as a “serious” commentator might just be living up to its name.

  • 14. DrunktankDan  |  August 20th, 2012 at 7:36 am

    Goddamn this shit makes me see red. I never much gave the guy my two cents, just always kind thought of him as a spokesman for the beige. I think I read one of his articles on the shitter and was mortified that my parents probably believed it inquestioningly. Typical boomer white guilt: if he’s brown he must be right. And besides his name sounds exotic. Certainly he is a reliable source on the middle east. Ugh.
    Thanks for doing the lords work as usual boys

  • 15. DrunktankDan  |  August 20th, 2012 at 7:50 am

    That bit about Venezuela is bullshit though. Chavez is a fucking cocksucker who is systematically dismantling his country’s tiny middle class for short term political gain. Talk to actual Venezuelans some time. Anybody with a shred of property is getting it stolen by the gov. nd several of my.buddies now can’t afford to go home to Venezuela and are essentially stuck here in the US as unwilling immigrants


  • 16. Alex  |  August 20th, 2012 at 11:55 am

    You know, Chavez ain’t a saint but he’s sure as hell a LOT better than that Taliban-supporting, Osama-hiding asshole in Pakistan. He may bark at America a lot but he’s not actually arming and sheltering terrorists.

  • 17. Dammerung  |  August 20th, 2012 at 12:10 pm

    eXiled is criticizing liberals again?

  • 18. Ozinator  |  August 20th, 2012 at 3:16 pm


    The problem with a yank talking with Venezuelans to get a view on Chavez, is that the Venezuelan he’s talking to in English is a bigger racist bourgeois dope than he is. USican working class folks with their relative privilege in consumer goods worth thinks that makes a more humble management class asshole in Venezuela poor. Add that to their darker complexion and non-English language and they all look like “Poor Mexicans” to yanks. Those “Poor Mexicans” HATE when they get lumped in with darkies and they get paid to exploit. Your friend does not represent the vast majority of people in his country. Viva Chavez!

  • 19. ajax151  |  August 21st, 2012 at 3:55 pm

    Agree with 16, ‘white’ Venezuelans are vicious racists in the world.

  • 20. Momo  |  August 21st, 2012 at 4:35 pm

    I read Newsweek’s article on Fareed’s troubles.

    It is clear you are somebody who suffers from Fareed-envy.

  • 21. Epode  |  August 21st, 2012 at 8:46 pm

    I don’t really see the point of this article. Then again, I don’t see the point of my comment, or the point of my existence. I guess I read Fareed Zakaria too much.

  • 22. Derp  |  August 22nd, 2012 at 1:10 am

    This brownboy’s sure got himself a funny name! Kinda sounds like that doctor guy in Planet of the Apes!

    And don’t call me no racist cause I called him a boy! This whiteboy calls everyone a boy, whether it’s a blackboy or Jewboy, derp!

  • 23. Zach  |  September 18th, 2012 at 2:33 pm

    @1 The first amendment doesn’t say that a private party can’t choose not to say/show something. It will never cease to amaze me how many people seem to think that choosing not to say/show things somehow violates the first amendment. Last I checked, the government wasn’t forcing the book to not include the cartoon.

    Oh crap, I think I just violated the first amendment by not exercising my right to post a link to the Mohammad cartoon in question! And I said “crap” instead of “shit”! When will the censorship end?

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