What Fresh Hell Is This?

September 1, 2010

The Trib Spins Heritiage's Spin

Richard Mellon Scaife's Tribune-Review this morning spun them some Heritage spin:
It's bad enough that the Obama administration joined the United Nations' Human Rights Council of world reprobates. For this privilege, must the U.S. also affix a sign to its back that says, "Kick us"?

As a member, the U.S. is required to file a "periodic review," which gives China, Cuba and other "peers" ammunition to slam America's record on rights. And while these cretins freely fabricate their own rights assessments, the U.S. report invites criticism.

Of course, the review gushes about the Obama administration (it's mentioned 20 times in 25 pages, according to The Heritage Foundation). And it includes liberaled-up apologies for America's shortcomings.
In doing so they leave out some important information, hoping (I guess) that their readers will assume they're getting the whole picture.

From The Trib. As it quotes the Heritage Foundation, while conveniently omitting the huge steaming piles of money funneled to it from the Scaife Foundations.

What's also omitted is the fact that all UN member states (not just the Human Rights Council) have to submit the report. How do I know this? The UN says so:
The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a unique process which involves a review of the human rights records of all 192 UN Member States once every four years. [emphasis added.]
Took me all of 30 seconds to find this. Why couldn't The Trib do the same? Perhaps they didn't want to disagree with the millions of dollars of money Scaife's given to the Heritage Foundation over the years. I dunno.

Second part that's omitted (and this is the big spin from the Trib). The reports submitted are not the final say. From the UN:
The documents on which the reviews are based are: 1) information provided by the State under review, which can take the form of a “national report”; 2) information contained in the reports of independent human rights experts and groups, known as the Special Procedures, human rights treaty bodies, and other UN entities; 3) information from other stakeholders including non-governmental organizations and national human rights institutions.
How does this gibe with how the Trib describes the process? Here's The Trib:
Compare this with China's assessment that its citizens "enjoy freedom of speech" and "democratic" elections. Or Cuba's guarantees of "freedom of opinion, expression and the press." All of which pass U.N. scrutiny.
It's that last sentence that's the tell. Issuing the report is just the first step. The Council then meets to discuss all the information collected, not just that country's report.

The Trib is spinning you.

Not that that's a surprise.

Happy Wednesday.

1 comment:

EdHeath said...

This reminds of conservatives talking about "American Exceptionalism", the idea that we are the greatest force for morality in the history of the world (or something like that). Except, of course, that the United States started as a slave holding nation and it was behind other nations in granting women the vote.

The only way that the United States might actually be able to justify trying to be a moral leader in the world is if we do confess our sins frankly, show that we are aware of our shortcomings, the first step to actually doing something about them. And any one who says that significantly higher rates of unemployment for our minorities is not a failing for the United States is a person who will not be taken seriously as a moral authority by the rest of the world.

I skimmed the Universal Periodic Reviews for the US and for China. The one for the US made me somewhat proud, although the activities of our government with regard to the war on terrorism give lie to much of what we say we want to do.

But what was interesting to me was the comments by other nations on China's review. Although we were not one of the commenters, there was a good mix of European countries and countries like Canada, Australia and Mexico, and African countries. Except for Iran, which praised China censorship of the internet, the countries were unfailing polite and unfailingly critical of China. they gave the sort of knowing criticism that says that while China is no longer outrageously brutal to its citizens, they are still a repressive and undemocratic regime. And everyone knows it. China will still try to polish its image as best it can, but they will have to make much more effort before anyone agrees they are making genuine progress. Before they are brave enough to make the sort of frank self criticisms the United States does.