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#3681: Re: #3505: Pina provides background to assertion on press reporting (fwd)

From: kevin pina <cariborganics@hotmail.com>

I was finally able to source some material that answers the question of US 
news coverage following the coup.  Aristide's credibility was a central 
question being raised while the slaughter of innocents was seriously under 

Excerpted from:

Democracy Enhancement
Noam Chomsky

Part II: The Case of Haiti

Z Magazine, July/August 1994

3. After the Coup

Wilentz reports further that immediately after the September 30 coup, the 
State Department apparently "circulated a thick notebook filled with alleged 
human rights violations" under Aristide -- "something it had not done under 
the previous rulers, Duvalierists and military men," who were deemed proper 
for aid, including military aid, "based on unsubstantiated human-rights 
improvements." Toronto Star reporter Linda Diebel adds details. A "thick, 
bound dossier" on Aristide's alleged crimes was presented by the coup 
leader, General Cedras, to OAS negotiators. On October 3, U.S. Ambassador 
Alvin Adams summoned reporters from the New York Times, Washington Post, and 
other major U.S. journals to private meetings where he briefed them on these 
alleged crimes, reportedly presenting them with the "dossier" -- which, we 
may learn some day, was compiled by U.S. intelligence and provided to its 
favorite generals. The Ambassador and his helpers began leaking the tales 
that have been used since to demonstrate Aristide's meager democratic 
credentials and his psychological disorders.13

The approved version is reflected by coverage of human rights abuses after 
the coup. As shown in a study by Boston Media Action, while the military 
were rampaging, the press focussed on abuses attributed to Aristide 
supporters, less than 1% of the total but the topic of 60% of the coverage 
in major journals during the two weeks following the coup, and over half of 
coverage in the New York Times through mid-1992. During the two-week period 
after the coup, Catherine Orenstein reports, the Times "spent over three 
times as many column inches discussing Aristide's alleged transgressions 
[as] it spent
reporting on the ongoing military repression. Mass murders, executions, and 
tortures that were reported in human rights publications earned less than 4% 
of the space that the Times devoted to Haiti in those weeks." A week after 
the coup, the Washington Post accused Aristide of having organized his 
followers into "an instrument of real terror," ignoring the 75% reduction in 
human rights abuses during his term reported by human rights groups.14

13 Diebel, Star, Oct. 10, 1991; Nov. 14, 1993.

14 Boston Media Action report, distributed by Haiti Communications Project 
(Cambridge); Z magazine, March 1993. Orenstein, NACLA Report on the 
Americas, July/August 1993.

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