Accuracy in Media

Elite members of the World Economic Forum (WEF) meeting in Davos, Switzerland, at the end of January were considering a proposal for a new global television network to usher in a state of “global governance.” It sounds authoritarian, even totalitarian, to some.

The media proposal, which was included in “The Global Agenda 2009” report, is to create “a new global network” with “the capacity to connect the world, bridging cultures and peoples, and telling us who we are and what we mean to each other.” Several prominent U.S. media figures signed on to the alarming and controversial proposal.

Isn’t it nice that we might have a TV network telling us “who we are?” And “what we mean to each other?” Perhaps we will learn that we are global citizens. Perhaps a global leader of some sort will tell us that. Who might that be?

This outlandish and frightening proposal doesn’t come from a fringe organization. The WEF is an exclusive club of very rich and powerful people from around the world. It describes itself as “an independent international organization committed to improving the state of the world by engaging leaders in partnerships to shape global, regional and industry agendas.”

This year’s conference featured speeches by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao. The event’s corporate sponsors, which pay about half a million dollars each to participate, include several failing institutions that have received tens of billions of dollars from U.S. taxpayers. They include Bank of America, Citi, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase & Co., and Morgan Stanley. These entities are termed “Strategic Partners” of the World Economic Forum.

News Corporation, the parent of Fox News, was another “strategic partner” of the event. 

Valerie Jarrett, Assistant to the President for Intergovernmental Relations and Public Liaison, represented the Obama Administration at this year’s event and called leaders from all nations to “seize gladly” the duties of collaborating and boldly embrace “a new era of global financial responsibility.”

But in a major embarrassment, the WEF also released a report, “The Future of the Global Financial System,” acknowledging “intellectual stewardship and guidance” provided by a steering committee co-chaired by John Thain, the former Merrill Lynch & Co. chief executive officer who was recently ousted from Bank of America in a scandal. Thain oversaw the disastrous sale of Merrill Lynch to Bank of America and was criticized for lavish spending on office decorations, including a $1,405 waste basket and $87,784 rug.

The other co-chair of the committee was David Rubenstein, co-founder and managing director of The Carlyle Group, who has been quoted as saying that China holds the key to the world economy’s future. One report notes that Rubenstein says Carlyle “was an early investor in the Chinese marketplace,” that its China office “has hired many native-born Chinese, and the company is seeking to build its buyout and growth-capital businesses there.”

The End Of Sovereignty

The Global Agenda 2009 report says that “sovereign states do not adequately address problems reaching across borders” and that “international taxation” may be needed to generate the “additional resources” for “global governance.”

Could this become a source of new bailout money here and abroad?

“As current global governance problems come from market failures, sovereign failures and inter-governmental failures that cross boundaries, sacrificing sovereignty for greater gain may become an option,” the report says.

Law Of The Sea Treaty

The report says the U.N.’s Law of the Sea Treaty, which is a top priority for Senate ratification under the Obama Administration, is a measure that has “earned the acceptance and compliance” of most nations. The treaty would turn over oil, gas, and mineral resources to the U.N. and authorize access to them through payment of a global tax to a U.N. body. 

Alaska Governor Sarah Palin has engendered criticism from conservatives for having endorsed the Law of the Sea Treaty in 2007.

But the WEF also envisions cooperation and collaboration in global media ventures. It asks, “How can we save journalism to help it save the world?” Clearly, this is advocacy journalism on a global scale.

Indeed, the list of “Recommendations” says it is imperative to start “Communicating a global agenda, and motivating and mobilizing people to support it…”

Is this journalism? Or is it brainwashing and propaganda?

It says that “a genuine, global voice” is needed that shares a “fundamental commitment” to being an international media voice, and makes mention of “the media voices we think of as international” coming from London (the BBC), Qatar (Al-Jazeera) or Atlanta (CNN).

BBC is known for its anti-American programming, Al-Jazeera for its pro-terrorist slant, and CNN for its left-wing and pro-Democratic bias.

It will take “innovative public-private funding” to bring this new network into being, apparently meaning that the taxpayers in the U.S. will have to be soaked in order to help bring this about. But no price tag is put on the venture and no objection was apparently raised to government funding of such a network on a global basis. An “overview” statement does, however, decry “censorship and self-censorship.” 

Elsewhere in the report (page 31) the idea of “international taxation” is proposed for “global action” of various kinds. Perhaps this is a vehicle for raising revenue for the new “global voice.”

The media proposal was developed by one of several “Global Agenda Councils” under the auspices of the WEF. The new TV network proposal was issued under the supervision of Pat Mitchell, the president of the Paley Center for Media and former President and Chief Executive Officer of the Public Broadcasting Service. She was the chair of the Global Agenda Council on the Future of Media.

Key Members

Other members of the Council on the Future of Media were Betsy Morgan of the left-wing Huffington Post (former general manager of; Rui Chenggang of China Central Television, an official political propaganda arm of the communist regime; and Zafar Siddiqi of CNBC Arabiya, a subsidiary of General Electric which is described as a 24-hour Arabic language financial and business information channel.

There is no indication in the published report that the Huffington Post executive raised any objection to working hand-in-glove with the communist propaganda channel. Is the Chinese media model a precedent for the new “global network?”

The conference was covered by media organizations such as CNBC, CNN, Bloomberg, Forbes and Fox, but no coverage that we could find was devoted to the proposal for a government-financed global media network. Talk about self-censorship!

John J. DeGioia, President of Georgetown University and the “Rapporteur of the Global Agenda Councils focusing on Society and Values,” summarized the work of Mitchell’s panel. He says (page 46) that “We believe that this new moment also calls for a new media platform, across all media channels, a global non-profit ‘CNN’ providing a new form of independent journalism to inform, illuminate and deepen knowledge about issues that improve the state of the world.”

According to DeGioia’s biography, he walks the walk and is dedicated to helping “prepare young people for leadership roles in the global community.” His bio adds, “He is a member of the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO and Chair of its Education Committee and he represents Georgetown at the World Economic Forum and on the Council on Foreign Relations.”

The media council took advantage of what a description of its work said was an “enormous opportunity” to “redefine the media and its roles in a global, interconnected society.”

Under the title of “Recommendations” (page 182), the Council on the Future of Media declares that “The Council is championing a new global, independent news and information service whose role is to inform, educate and improve the state of the world—one that would take advantage of all platforms of content delivery from mobile to satellite and online to create a new global network.”

It goes on, “In a world where there are calls for global governance as a response to a global financial crisis, where scientific research, capital flows and production chains are globalized, the media and the communities in which we imagine ourselves remain fiercely localized.” Hence, a global network will work against “localized” or national-based systems and convince people to go “global” with their outlook and solutions. In other words, the new network will help undermine old-fashioned notions of national sovereignty and patriotism.

There are 22 members (page 183) of the Council on the Future of Media. In addition to Mitchell and Morgan, American members include:

  • Alex S. Jones, former media reporter for the New York Times and now Director, Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.
  • Susan King, former Washington correspondent for ABC News and now Director, Journalism Initiative, Special Initiatives and Strategy, Carnegie Corp. of New York.
  • John Lavine, Dean, Medill School of Journalism, Northwestern University.
  • Nicholas Lemann, former Washington Post reporter and now Dean, School of Journalism, Columbia University.
  • David Nordfors, Director, Innovation Journalism and Senior Research Scholar, Stanford Center for Innovations in Learning, Stanford University.
  • Monroe Price, Director, Centre for Global Communications Studies, Annenberg School for Communication, the University of Pennsylvania.
  • Orville H. Schell, Director, Center on US-China Relations, Asia Society.

There doesn’t appear to be one identifiable conservative member on the list. Of course, this is probably the way it was designed. 



The liberals have come up with a clever way of ratifying dangerous treaties, which now require a two-thirds vote (67) to pass in the Senate. They may introduce them as legislation, requiring only a majority vote to pass. The model for this new approach is the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

Such an approach would mean quicker and easier passage of controversial and expensive measures that, if debated as treaties in the Senate, might take too long and upset and alarm too many Americans.

By submitting a new global warming treaty as a statute, scholars at the Brookings Institution argue, the Congress can act more quickly on the measure. 

They specifically cite a U.N. climate conference scheduled for December, “when the international community is scheduled to gather in Copenhagen, Denmark, to negotiate a replacement for the 1997 Kyoto Protocol.” The new agreement that comes out of this, they suggest, should be a statute, not a treaty, even though the 1997 Kyoto Protocol was a treaty.

Brookings scholars William J. Antholis and Nigel Purvis say that the U.S. must quickly transform its domestic and international energy policy and come into line with international demands. “To reclaim global leadership, the United States must show the world proof that it has the political will to curb greenhouse gases,” they say.

The “political will” would be a power grab by Obama and his liberal allies in Congress. Left unsaid is the fact that this is obviously a way to cut conservative Republican senators out of the process and forge a bare majority of senators in favor of controversial treaties.

They say that “…in consultation with Congress, the president would decide that future climate and energy agreements are to be approved by the United States by statute rather than as treaties.” In other words, Obama would decide, after getting the approval of leading Democrats in Congress, that he won’t submit the new U.N. climate treaty as a treaty. Instead, he would submit it as just a statute. This would obviously make passage much easier.

They argue that all of this can be accomplished under the rubric of a new “Climate Protection Authority” that Obama should adopt. 

Time To Act

“Domestically, the president’s public approval and congressional majorities may never be as high,” they note, in an obvious reference to Obama’s Democratic edge in both congressional bodies.

The implication is that Obama has to act now, bypassing Senate conservatives, especially Republicans, by implementing the “Climate Protection Authority” and then submitting “future climate and energy agreements” as statutes rather than as treaties.

It must be done now, rather than later, the Brookings scholars argue, because the prospect of “regulating greenhouse gases could fade if the economy continues to worsen.”

In other words, expensive and costly prohibitions of energy use might be tougher to impose if peoples’ living and working conditions continue to deteriorate.

This approach is needed, they argue, because other nations “distrust our treaty-making process.” They explain, “These countries are reluctant to make politically difficult concessions only to see the United States stay out of the agreement in the end.” Translated into common language, this means that the treaty process takes too long and the treaty may ultimately be rejected by senators reacting to popular pressure.

Antholis is Managing Director of the Brookings Institution, while Purvis, a former State Department official, is a Nonresident Brookings Scholar on Environment and Development and Foreign Policy.

Purvis also runs a group, Climate Advisers, which has a vested financial interest in seeing the theory of man-made global warming imposed on the U.S. and the world.

Arguing for the abandonment of the constitutional requirement that treaties get two-thirds approval, they explain, “Statutes require a majority in both houses of Congress, whereas treaties require two-thirds of only the Senate. Federal courts have repeatedly upheld the constitutionality of bicameral statutory approval of international pacts. In fact, the United States enters into more international agreements this way than by treaty, including some arms control agreements and environmental pacts and almost all trade deals.”

This point is at least partly true. For example, President Clinton submitted NAFTA as a statute, not a treaty, after he realized that he didn’t have the two-thirds vote in the Senate to pass it.  

 This logic, of course, might be applied to other controversial treaties, including the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the International Criminal Court.

Will Obama do it? With the backing of a major liberal think tank with Democratic Party connections like Brookings, it might be tempting, even irresistible. 

Susan Rice, Obama’s close foreign policy adviser and now his U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., was a senior fellow at Brookings from 2002 to 2009.

In fact, the Brookings approach is not new.

Trashing The Red States

In a June 18, 2007 article in the liberal American Prospect, Thomas Geoghegan had lamented that the Kyoto global warming treaty and the International Criminal Court “are among the great global projects of our day” but are not getting through the Senate because of the two-thirds majority required for passage. “So what’s the way out of this bind? It’s the same way out we used for NAFTA or for fast-track free-trade agreements. That is, we just pass a simple law,” he said.

Geoghegan says the reason liberals can’t get these measures currently passed in the Senate is because this body “over-represents” states like “Wyoming, Idaho and America’s backwoods.” In other words, Red State senators have too much clout under the Constitution. They are obstructing the “progressive” vision.

Geoghegan says legal justification for this new approach can be found in an article in the October 2004 American Journal of International Law (AJIL) by Steve Charnovitz, an associate professor of international law at the George Washington University School of Law. The article complains about Senate inaction on such treaties as the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child, Convention on Biological Diversity, the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea, and various U.N. human rights treaties.

Charnovitz admits the approach of pushing these treaties as mere agreements would be controversial. But he finds comfort in the fact that the legal action against NAFTA was thrown out. Asked about the Brookings proposal, Charnovitz said it was similar to his approach. He explained, “In my proposal published in the American Journal of International Law in October 2004, I proposed a U.S. framework statute that would authorize and set goals for U.S. participation in negotiations in advance. I specifically mentioned environment as one example of where the approach would be useful and discussed the Kyoto experience. The Brookings staff proposal is similar to what I have advocated.”

However, in regard to using such an approach with the Law of the Sea Treaty or the International Criminal Court, he believes “it is too late now to use a framework statute as those negotiations have already concluded and the treaties are already in force.” He explains, “I would not support the Congress approving those treaties by a statute because I think the approach should be used only when authorized in advance. But I don’t think it would be unconstitutional to approve those treaties with a statute. In my AJIL article, I also noted that with the statutory approach, a supermajority could be required. So one could require for a 60 vote margin (or 67) in the Senate and still use a statute.”

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