Secretary Clinton criticizes media coverage of US Haiti effort. Al Jazeera responds.

Posted: 27 Jan 2010   Print   Send a link
"Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Tuesday she resents criticism of the U.S. effort to help stricken Haiti and pledged to redouble efforts to help survivors of the Jan. 12 earthquake. ... Asked whom Clinton was referring to, Crowley mentioned criticism from Italy and France, plus news reporting from Haiti by the Al-Jazeera news network and CNN that he said was unfair. Al-Jazeera English issued a statement calling its work 'balanced, fair and detailed,' and said it reflected a range of views on quake relief efforts." AP, 27 January 2010.
     "'We sent cables to all posts. We asked our entire teams to be prepared to respond to any misleading media report,' Mrs. Clinton said. 'We are not going to leave unanswered charges against the United States of America and the kind of work that we do every single day.'" Washington Times, 27 January 2010. From Secretary Clinton's town hall meeting, 26 January 2010.
     Philip J. Crowley, Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of Public Affairs, at State daily press briefing, 26 January 2010: "When you’re talking about international reporting, we have had – I’ve had direct conversations with our friends at Al Jazeera, for example. And we have spent some time critiquing what we felt was unfair, unbalanced coverage of operations in Haiti. So we will have those conversations where we think that coverage is unfair. Occasionally, we’ve had those conversations with CNN. ... QUESTION: Specifically, what was your problem with the coverage – that these outlets were reporting the criticism from foreign officials or that they were editorializing? MR. CROWLEY: No, we – in one particular case, we thought that the reporting on the ground in Haiti was inflammatory. QUESTION: How so? MR. CROWLEY: It suggested there was a militarization of the effort. It compared military activities at the airport to a little Green Zone, as I will recall, in one particular instance. We thought that was inappropriate. ... QUESTION: Would you say who that was with? MR. CROWLEY: It was a conversation I had with officials at Al Jazeera, English channel." State Department transcript, 26 January 2010.
     "Al-Jazeera English countered that the report reflected "concerns of the Brazilian and French governments, aid agencies on the ground and many Haitians we spoke to" and said the US State Department was allowed to respond. 'We will continue to provide as accurate an account as possible of the relief effort, and reflect all opinions on its progress and effect,' a spokesperson for the network said." AFP, 26 January 2010. "The TV station also said it had 'broadcast regular interviews with the senior US commanders on the ground, and accompanied the US military as they delivered aid'. Aljazeera.net, 27 January 2010.
     "Watch the U.S. media and its coverage of the crisis in Haiti, and you get the impression that Washington is a benevolent power doing its utmost to help with emergency relief in the Caribbean island nation. But tune into al-Jazeera English or South American news network Telesur and you come away with a very different view. I was particularly struck by one hard hitting al-Jazeera report posted on You Tube which serves as a fitting antidote to the usual mainstream fare. The report is highly critical of the U.S., which according to the reporter has focused most of its energy on fostering stability and putting boots on the ground as opposed to rebuilding Haitian society." Nikolas Kozloff, CounterPunch, 22 January 2010.
     "Large networks such as Al Jazeera rushed to send their crews to Port-au-Prince, and the vast majority of news satellite networks operating in the region have been competing to update their viewers about the devastation and human agony in this tiny Caribbean country, but à la Middle East ...it had to be about more than just Haiti." Jamal Dajani, LinkTV, 22 January 2010.