Tuesday, February 14, 2012
AS GOOD AS NEWS - SPECIAL EDITION
DOC GURBY RETAINS TURKMENISTAN PRESIDENCY WITH 97% OF VOTE IN 8 CANDIDATE RACE
Doc won reelection to another 5 year term - yawn. It's news that he held an election at all, but the Times makes the point, 3 or 4 or maybe 5 times, that the other candidates were tokens from the same party. In fact, the Times uses Doc's win as an excuse to run a brief seminar on elections in central Asia. Expert A from UCLA notes that any election, even a rigged one, involves some risk and holding an election is a sign of strength. Expert B from Barnard opines that the sheer number of voters and overwhelming margin of victory prove the depth of support.
So, Doc holds Turkmenistan's first election and what does he get from the Times? One good word, progress, and 1,000 qualifications. What else did the Times have to say? Doc is rebuilding the insane personality cult of his predecessor. What supports this? He has a nickname. That's right, the Times has concluded that the cheering crowds chant of Arkadag ("the Protector in Turkmen") must be step 1 in Doc's plan to become a human god, because otherwise why would he have a nickname.
So is Doc really sliding backwards or is the election a sign of a very gradual shift toward democracy? As always, the Times fails to assess potential successors - the most important information needed to answer this question. Does Doc have a son or protege he wants to put in power, or will he be happy to see autocracy end with his own rule and willing to work toward democracy? Who knows? Not the NY Times.