Thomas Friedman has been a New York Times foreign affairs columnist since 1995. He is said by many to be a principled observer of international events and an even-handed analyst of American policy. But Belen Fernandez's acerbic close reading of Friedman's voluminous oeuvre reveals instead a ham-fisted apologist for US military excesses and neoliberal corporate policies - as well as a risibly bad writer. Fernandez carefully reviews the Friedman corpus, and her documentation of Friedman's sloppy mistakes, inconsistencies, wilful ignoring of contradictory evidence, and sheer illogic is both appalling and amusing. Written with a light touch entirely lacking in Friedman's own prose, Fernandez's dissection is engrossing, but also quite serious. To take one example, Friedman's recycling of outdated Orientalist notions about Arab "backwardness" and fabrications of pro-Israeli truths convey a dangerously distorted picture of one of his areas of self-proclaimed expertise. In Fernandez's analysis, Friedman emerges as both exceptionally dreadful and symptomatic of the laziness of the mainstream media of our times.