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Mountains Out of Molehills

Reported by Nancy - December 15, 2004 -

Jonathan Hunt did his usual rabid attack on Kofi Annan today (12/15) on FNL, completely ignoring -- as usual -- most of the FACTS of the story. If Hunt were "reporting" that the sun rose this morning, he'd try to make it sound like a shocking scandal, unprecented in the annals of humanity.

Before Hunt's segment, at 12:05pm (ET), Asman interviewed Martin Walker (UPI editor in chief) & Michael Weisskopf (Time) about the mess in Iraq. In contrast to yesterday's "happy Iraq" propaganda, both this interview & the various short blurbs elsewhere on FNL were full of bombings, death & destruction. Asman opened by asking whether yesterday's bomb in Karbala (apparently an assassination attempt on Ali Sistani or one of his aides) might be the beginning of civil war. Both Walker & Weisskopf were not enthusiastic about the way things are going in Iraq in general. Asman then moved on to the trials that are "about to begin", saying they will highlight the "horrors" of Saddam Hussein's regime, but can the US make any headway against "folks like Al Jazeera" who "don't want to show these images"? [comment: yes, he apparently said this entirely without irony; it's hypocritical US-based media who "shelter" their viewers from any unpleasant images, like the photos from Abu Ghraib or even pictures of coffins of US military personnel killed in Iraq]. Asman then wondered if Iraqis "need to be reminded" about "how bad Saddam was", & Weisskopf said yes, as we "pacify" the country [comment: again, without irony -- echoes of Vietnam, anyone?].

At 12:15pm (ET), after a couple of teasers from Asman spinning the story as something that Fox had "discovered", Jonathan Hunt "reported" [comment: I always put that word in quotes when writing about Hunt; he doesn't "report", he does the verbal equivalent of tabloid headlines, complete with exclamation points! raised eyebrows! suggestive tone! lots of smoke! no fire!] on Kofi & Kojo Annan, claiming that "we have been combing through documents" that show that either or both father & son have been "economical with the truth" about Kojo's work for Cotecna (the Swiss company contracted by the UN to handle some of the Oil-for-Food program). Hunt claimed that his so-called "revelation" is "devastating" for Kofi Annan. Asman speculated that "Kojo hasn't told his father" everything, & Hunt agreed but said "that doesn't lift the cloud" & "somebody somewhere is telling lies" [comment: they sure are, & it ain't anyone at the UN].

Comment: I am putting together a master file of reports from other, more reliable, sources about the UN Oil-for-Food program. If you have any you'd like to recommend, please post a link here & I'll check it out. Thanks!