The White House position on Egypt would seem to back the transfer of some level of official power to Omar Suleiman, who Hosni Mubarak recently named vice president. Suleiman's former role as intelligence chief made him a key player in Egypt's use of torture, against Egyptian citizens and in connection with CIA-backed rendition. That part of the story hasn't received enough media attention, but today the New York Times does a great job, splashing the story on the front page…. Sorry, that's not right. It must be here somewhere. Perhaps a stinging editorial denouncing torture… no, that's not it. OK, [...]
Start with USA Today's headline (2/3/11): Mubarak Supporters Weigh In: Anti-Government Rallies Shaken by Rival Protesters The forces attacking the pro-democracy demonstrators in Tahrir Square were not "rival protesters"; they were government agents, complete in many cases with police ID cards that were confiscated when violent provocateurs were apprehended by activists (Al Jazeera English, 2/2/11). As New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof (2/3/11) put it in his firsthand report from the square: The events were sometimes presented by the news media as "clashes" between rival factions, but thatÃƒÆ’Â¢ÃƒÂ¢”Å¡Â¬ÃƒÂ¢”Å¾Â¢s a bit misleading. This was an organized government crackdown, but it relied [...]
An accidentally revealing moment fromRachel Maddow's interview with Martin Indyk of the Brookings Institution last night (MSNBC, 1/31/11): MADDOW: Well, let me ask you about one tactical question in this diplomatic dance, I guess. Are American officials making appearances on Arabic language TV channels at this point? Should they be prioritizing doing that right now? INDYK: Probably. I don't think they are doing a lot of that at the moment, partly because the Arab interviewers are likely to be a lot more pressing than polite people like you. MADDOW: I think that is a great insult, thank you. INDYK: No, [...]
Joe Biden on Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak (PBS NewsHour, 1/27/11): I would not refer to him as a dictator. On WikiLeaks' Julian Assange (NBC's Meet the Press, 12/19/10) DAVID GREGORY: Mitch McConnell says he's a high-tech terrorist, others say this is akin to the Pentagon Papers. Where do you come down? JOE BIDEN: I would argue that it's closer to being a high-tech terrorist than the Pentagon Papers. For the record, neither journalist pushed Biden to explain his opinions.
The New York Times: Cables Show Delicate U.S. Dealings With Egypt's Leaders The Guardian: WikiLeaks Cables Show Close U.S. Relationship With Egyptian President That reminds me of something Times executive editor wrote in a forthcoming piece on WikiLeaks, where he explains the difference between The Newspaper of Record and the Guardian in handling theAfghanistan documents: If anyone doubted that the three publications operated independently, the articles we posted that day made it clear that we followed our separate muses. The Guardian, which is an openly left-leaning newspaper, used the first War Logs to emphasize civilian casualties in Afghanistan, claiming the [...]
Yesterday (FAIR Blog, 1/27/11) the Washington Post tried to argue that U.S. policy under the Obama administration has shifted to one of open support for pro-democracy movements in Egypt and Tunisia. There was little, if any, evidence to support this idea. Today (1/28/11) the New York Times steps in with a report based largely on WikiLeaks cables that paints a rather unflattering portrait of Obama policy towards Egypt. As the Times put it, the cables show in detail how diplomats repeatedly raised concerns with Egyptian officials about jailed dissidents and bloggers, and kept tabs on reports of torture by the [...]
Now this is a head scratcher."As Arabs Protest, U.S. Speaks Up" is the headline today over a story by Scott Wilson and Joby Warrick in the Washington Post. The storyattempts to arguethat the Obama administration is backing protests in Tunisia, Egypt and Lebanon–in the first two cases, regimes backed strongly by the United States (Egypt to the tune of more than $1 billion in annual military aid). As the lead puts it: The Obama administration is openly supporting the anti-government demonstrations shaking the Arab Middle East, a stance that is far less tempered than the one the president has taken [...]
In a previous post "showing Fox News' tendency to mislabel badly behaving Republicans as Democrats," one of Canadian blogger Joey deVilla's commenters has pointed out "this map of the Middle East shown on a Fox News in segment where Neil Cavuto interviewed John Bolton." Noting a problem with the country marked "Egypt"–"thatÃƒÆ’Â¢ÃƒÂ¢”Å¡Â¬ÃƒÂ¢”Å¾Â¢s not Egypt, that's Iraq!"–deVilla provides (Adventures of Accordion Guy in the 21st Century, 7/28/09) a helpfully "real map of the Middle East," and puts it pretty mildly when stating that "you'd think that with their obsessions with terror, Muslims and safeguarding the nation, not to mention the presence [...]