Accuracy in Media

In the wake of Benazir Bhutto’s assassination, Wolf Blitzer of CNN made much of an e-mail, exclusively provided to him by a close associate of Bhutto and a Hillary Clinton supporter, casting blame on Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf for her murder. We can now understand why Musharraf’s November 3 state-of-emergency decree took foreign news outlets like CNN off the air. Musharraf, who is one of the main targets of the al-Qaeda international terrorist organization, recognizes that the so-called “CNN effect” in global affairs can destabilize foreign governments, including his own. It’s no wonder that he recently complained about being betrayed by the Western media.  

Now, with Hillary Clinton appearing on Blitzer’s show one day later, to complain about a “blank check” for Musharraf and the “failed policies” of the Bush Administration, the Democratic Party agenda is out in the open―overthrow the government of Pakistan, no matter what comes after it. This is the recipe that brought the Mullahs to power in Iran under Democrat Jimmy Carter’s Administration. It could bring al Qaeda to power in Pakistan, with control over dozens of nuclear weapons, if President Bush doesn’t get control of his State Department and the CIA.  

“Happening now―breaking news,” Blitzer breathlessly declared on Thursday. “Benazir Bhutto holds Pakistan’s president responsible for her assassination in an e-mail sent only weeks before her death. We’re going to bring you an exclusive look at that never-before-seen e-mail and an interview with the man who received and who let me in on his chilling secret.” 

Blitzer understood the impact of his words. “We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world,” he said, knowing such an explosive report could lead to the further loss of life (19 people had died in Pakistan in riots following the Bhutto death as of Friday afternoon). 

It was an incendiary charge. Blitzer called it “my exclusive report on Benazir Bhutto casting blame for her own assassination two months before it happened.” If killed, she reportedly said in the e-mail, “I would hold Musharraf responsible. I have been made to feel insecure by his minions…” 

But Musharraf, under U.S. pressure, was forced to let her back in the country. Musharraf had to withdraw Interpol notices for her arrest on corruption charges. She is reportedly worth more than $1 billion and has been linked to the U.N.’s oil-for-food scandal.  

He knew―and she knew―that she would also be in danger from the same al-Qaeda forces that have targeted Musharraf himself. (Musharraf is a target because he has rounded up hundreds of suspected al-Qaeda terrorists, including some directly involved in 9/11, and has turned them over to the U.S.) 

Choosing to blame Musharraf for her murder (in advance of it happening) is about as rational as appearing openly at crowds with thousands of people and then departing in a car with her head poking through a sunroof. This was clearly reckless conduct on her part. But this gross error has been compounded by Hillary now calling for some kind of international investigation of who murdered Bhutto. On the Blitzer show, she even suggested that Interpol ought to take the lead, when it was Interpol that had issued the notice for Bhutto’s arrest on corruption charges.    

When Blitzer brought up some of the facts about Bhutto’s open–air campaigning to Mark Siegel, the source of his controversial e-mail, he replied that “Benazir Bhutto believed in democracy and she believed in speaking to the people. It’s not reckless to go out and touch the people. Don’t blame the victim for the crime…”   

But it was Bhutto blaming Musharraf for the crime―in advance of it happening. And CNN was circulating her irrational statement to a worldwide audience.  

Blitzer’s exploitation of this e-mail was unconscionable. The real story is not whether Bhutto would irrationally blame Musharraf for her possible death, but where this e-mail came from and why it was being released at this time. It was like pouring gasoline on a fire. To his credit, Senator John McCain noted, like Bush, that Musharraf has been a reliable partner of the U.S. in the war on al-Qaeda terrorism. He has compared himself to Abraham Lincoln holding America together as a sovereign entity and using emergency powers during the Civil War.   

Musharraf is sometimes labeled a “military dictator” who doesn’t deserve U.S. support. But we have to remember that he seized power from a Pakistani Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, who reportedly accepted bribes from Osama bin Laden and presided over the building of Pakistan’s nuclear bomb. Under U.S. pressure, Sharif is now back in Pakistan as one of Musharraf’s other political rivals.  

With Hillary’s appearance on Blitzer’s show, one day after Siegel released the controversial Bhutto e-mail, it is clear that a network of Democratic Party officials is pursuing its own dangerous foreign policy agenda.  

Siegel, who provided the e-mail to Blitzer and has endorsed Hillary for president, is a prominent member of a Democratic Party foreign policy network and served on the board of the federally-funded National Democratic Institute (NDI), a group that has been promoting “democracy” in Pakistan. Siegel was a lobbyist and registered foreign agent for Bhutto (according to the Washington Post, Siegel was paid $452,941 for one year’s work for Bhutto) when she was Prime Minister and his resumé includes work for President Jimmy Carter and Senator Ted Kennedy. Carter, you may recall, helped undermine and topple the Shah of Iran in the name of promoting human rights and democracy there. That gave us the fanatical Mullahs and their “peaceful” nuclear program.  

Blitzer, on his show, referred to Siegel merely as Bhutto’s “long-time friend” and “U.S. spokesman” and someone having a long “relationship” with her. He is much more than that, and Blitzer knows it.  

Just recently, former Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle, a member of the NDI board of directors, gave testimony blasting Musharraf for allegedly not doing enough to ensure credible elections are going to be held in Pakistan.  

Is the Democratic Party position that Musharraf should be toppled, in the same way that Carter helped undermine the Shah? It is interesting to note that Democratic candidate Bill Richardson, considered a possible running mate for Hillary Clinton, called for Musharraf to step down but didn’t identify who his replacement ought to be. Yet, Richardson is supposed to be a Democrat with foreign policy experience.  

Much of the socialist-oriented political platform of Bhutto’s Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) reads like it was taken from the speeches of Democratic Party politicians. This mish-mash calls for “a synthesis of economic liberalism with a strong social democratic agenda” and has numerous references to making foreign policy decisions based on the U.N. Charter and U.N. agreements, such as the global warming treaty.   

Not surprisingly, Democratic Party politicians and much of the liberal media have portrayed Musharraf as a villain and Bhutto as a martyr for human rights and democracy.  

In order to accelerate this campaign to destabilize Pakistan, Bhutto’s book, Reconciliation: Islam, Democracy and the West, is being rushed into print by HarperCollins, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation. Ironically, Siegel told Blitzer that he helped write the book and that it is about how problems “within Islam and between Islam and the West” can be “reconciled peacefully, and in a way that promotes peace in the future.”  

Hillary and her allies in the Democratic Party and the media are doing anything but promoting peace. They are exploiting a tragic death in order to destabilize a U.S. ally.

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