The lead editorial in the International Herald Tribune of Wednesday, December 5, 2007 was headlined 'A tale of two strongmen' and was about the recent elections involving 'two of the world's most prominent and problematic authoritarian leaders', Putin and Chavez.
Putin, wrote the editorial, had 'cynically manipulated a huge victory' and it went on to say that:
'Putin's sales pitch in his phony parliamentary election was that he had brought Russia stability and global respect. A huge number of voters...bought it and looked the other way when Putin jailed his opponents and crushed their access to the media.'
There is no doubt the IHT's Supreme Luxury conference, held in Moscow the week before his phony parliamentary election, played a part in bringing Putin's Russia global respect, and the IHT looked the other way as Putin jailed his opponents and crushed their access to the media.
It's a pity that two of the world's most prominent and respected news brands (the NYT and the IHT) were willing to be so cynically manipulated; the disconnect between this editorial, the week after the IHT's Moscow conference, attended by the publisher and senior editorial staff of the IHT, is embarrassing for the newspaper and undermines its credibility, its greatest, perhaps only asset.