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What Ever Happened To "We Report, You Decide"?

Reported by Nancy - May 26, 2005 -

Last night (5/25) on Special Report, Brit Hume dismissed the newly-released annual human rights report by Amnesty International with a 30-second blurb feigning outrage that AI would name Gitmo "one of the world's worst prisons."

At 06:27pm (ET) Hume read a teaser for his upcoming "Grapevine" segment: "Wait'll you hear where Amnesty International has found one of the world's worst prisons."

At 06:31pm Hume did the "Grapevine" & sure enough, #1 was about Amnesty International calling (according to Hume) Gitmo the "gulag of our times." He said that AI was critical of the US for having "gone to great lengths to restrict the application of the Geneva Conventions" & of "the practice of arbitrary and indefinite detention in violation of international law." In a 30-second blurb, of course, there's no time to discuss those issues or defend them, & Hume made no attempt to do either, simply reading short quotes from the report with his trademark snide tone of voice.

Comment: The AI report is a 380-page document, based on detailed information from 149 countries, that covers human rights abuses worldwide. To focus on one small piece of that report is ludicrous, & to relegate it to a 30-second mention is offensive -- but conveniently avoids having to discuss it, or to defend US policy & practices. Seems like Fox prefers *not* to report, but to decide what's important for its viewers.

Irene Khan, Secretary-General of AI, gave a speech on 5/25 at the Foreign Press Assoc, announcing the release of the report & briefly summarizing its major findings. You can view sections of the annual report for 2005 (as well as previous years) online at AI's website.

If you haven't got time to read even some of the sections, just do a news search on "Amnesty International report" & you'll see that the press focus on this is all over the map.

Some of the headlines are relatively neutral:
"Amnesty International Releases Human Rights Report" (Kansas City Star)
"Amnesty International: Human Rights Worldwide in Retreat" (Voice of America)

Some focus on one aspect of the report:
"Worldwide, women face `horrific' levels of abuse: AI report" (Taipei Times)

And some, like Hume, ignore the bigger picture altogether:
"Amnesty International criticises Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal" (Hindustan Times)
"Amnesty International Takes Aim at US" (San Francisco Chronicle)
"Amnesty International: Israeli army committed war crimes" (Tehran Times)
"Biased Amnesty report prompts urgent Knesset debate" (Israel Insider)

NOTE TO READERS: Please stay on topic (Special Report's coverage [or lack thereof] of Gitmo in general, AI's report calling Gitmo the world's worst prison). O/T comments will be deleted. Thanks.