Monday, January 02, 2006

The UN Press Corps's Saudi-Dominated Leadership

Land of the Free: Dominates the UN press group

A reader brings to my attention the roster of the newly elected leadership of the scandal-ridden United Nations Correspondents Association. And as I suppose is suitable for the East River Debating and Terrorist Cheerleading Society, the UNCA leadership is dominated by hacks from rigidly anti-American "news" organs, including not one, not two, but three from Saudi or Saudi-financed publications.

The newly elected president of UNCA is Masood Haider of the Pakistani publication Daily Dawn. But you don't have to go far down in the leadership before you find the first representative of the famously free and open Saudi media, Laura Angela Bagnetto of the Saudi Press Agency. Further down the roster are hacks for the Saudi-financed London rags Al Hayat and Asharq-al-Awsat.

Gee, Saudi Arabia and the UN press corps go together like a soup and sandwich, as they used to say in the old Campbell Soup commercial! Alongside Bagnetto in the top leadership are hacks from Beirut's L'Orient Le Jour and the Maghreb Arab News.

Oh, and let's not forget the new "third vice president" Evelyn Leopold of the Reuters "news agency." In May, Leopold leaped to the defense of chief UN propagandist Shashi Tharoor, when it was revealed that Tharoor had given a forum to the notorious anti-Semite Israel Shamir.

Rounding out the roster are some people who -- well, let's just say that they work for publications that are charmingly free of electronic footprints in this online-dominated world. We have Abdelkader Abbadi of something called "The Independent (New York)" and Lee Love from something called "World Broadcast News." Apparently the former is not the British paper, and the latter -- well, Google won't help me out with that.

Anyway, it is a distinguished roster, and the Saudi and Middle Eastern domination of the top ranks of this association is certainly a nice touch. The UN media is notoriously devoted to acting as unpaid (and paid) shills for the UN. And now, as if that wasn't enough, there's a really sandy, really nauseating country out there with a whole lot of influence on this "journalism organization." So let's hope for bigger and better scandals in the coming year!

UPDATE (1/3): In fairness to the new UNCA president Mr. Haider, I should point out that -- as two readers have brought to my attention! -- he was an early and outspoken internal opponent of a lot of the UN correspondent creepiness that emerged in recent months (originally in Accuracy in Media and FrontPage Magazine I might add). So let's see if he actually does anything about the mess at UNCA.


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