Sunday, September 26, 2004

Biased Broadcasting Corporation? Never! 

The United Nations thinks that Donald Rumsfeld is a spoil-sport:
"The leader of the UN team organising Iraq's elections has criticised the US defence secretary for suggesting only a limited vote might take place.

"Such speculation was unhelpful and ran the risk of making people feel excluded from the poll scheduled for January, Carlos Valenzuela told the BBC."
Rumsfeld said that some violence-prone areas of Iraq might miss out on the vote while the majority of the country still gets a chance to cast their ballot. John Kerry, meanwhile, has already declared that such approach will result in illegitimate result: "There are no-go zones in Iraq today. You can't hold an election in a no-go zone."

Isn't the UN outraged about John Kerry's statement, too? It is, but only in the fourteenth paragraph of this BBC story:
"[I]t hasn't been helpful that different people have been speculating whether certain parts of the country will be able or not to participate in the election and whether the elections will be legitimate or not... and [this speculation] might create more danger of people feeling excluded from the process,"
says Mr Valenzuela. The dig at "different people" obviously also applies to the UN's very own Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, who a few days ago declared that "[y]ou cannot have credible elections if the security conditions continue as they are."

Valenzuela, to his credit, disagrees with his boss: "The situation is very complicated, but we believe that it is feasible... We have a very tight timeframe, and we're sticking to it, and all the preparations are being done."

But John Kerry and Kofi Annan obviously know better what's happening on the ground in Iraq than either Iyad Allawi or Carlos Valenzuela. And if Valenzuela won't spell it out, Allawi at least is seeking an explanation from Kofi Annan about his helpful remarks.

But hang on - speaking of "different people" - they're all unnamed in the quote. By implication, Valenzuela's statement applies to Rumsfeld, as well as Kerry, as well as Annan. So why has BBC decided to single out Rumsfeld for attention? And why has Australian Broadcasting Corporation been even more blatant with their headline "UN unhappy with Rumsfeld's Iraq election comments" and no mention at all of either Annan or Kerry in their story?

Beats me. But it might be that the media is just happy to see Rummy again:
"The BBC's Justin Webb, in Washington, says Mr Rumsfeld has been kept out of the limelight in recent months but now has returned with characteristic brio."
Translation: "The BBC's Justin Webb, in Washington, says 'The freak is baaaaaaaaack!'"

I love the media.

Update: "The Point of the Day" is made by a reader Mike Hunt: "Why does the UN get outraged at limited voting in Iraq, when many UN member countries don't allow their citizens to vote anyway?"

Dunno, maybe because it might establish a bad precedent that you can still have elections even with bombs going off.


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