Politico reporters Nahal Toosi and Caitlin Oprysko showed clear bias in their coverage of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s recent trip to the Middle East. Toosi and Oprysko accused Pompeo of being “blunt” in his Cairo address and offering language that would “get smiles from some of the region’s autocratic rulers” while contrasting former President Barack Obama’s 2009 Cairo address as a speech that “was widely hailed as a thoughtful and nuanced document.”
Toosi and Oprysko accused Pompeo of “vitriol” against Obama during his speech, labeling critiques of Obama foreign policy as “likely to be welcomed in realist foreign policy circles, where many believe that notions of democracy and human rights are less important than promoting American power in a region where many U.S. allies are autocrats.”
Toosi and Oprysko further asserted that Pompeo’s “speech only glancingly mentioned human rights,” even while ignoring that Pompeo’s rejection of Obama’s timid, self-loathing approach toward American power resulted in the worst global refugee crisis since World War II.
“In one section likely to get smiles from some of the region’s autocratic rulers, Pompeo even dismissed Obama’s desire to reach out to Muslims as a whole,” write Toosi and Oprysko. “‘Our eagerness to address only Muslims, and not nations, ignored the rich diversity of the Middle East, and frayed old bonds,’ [Pompeo] said. ‘It undermined the concept of the nation-state, the building block of international stability.’
Those comments were the closest Pompeo got to a theme he has hammered in other arenas: National sovereignty should never be supplanted by multilateral governance. While the view underpins Trump’s ‘America first’ approach to the world, it has not always gone over well with U.S. allies.”
Toosi and Oprysko also accuse Pompeo of pleasing dictators in his speech because the secretary of state chose not to view all Muslims as a monolithic block and because he put political authority as a higher priority than an appeal to religious authority–a key component of America’s founding that separated secular from religious power.
Photo by Palácio do Planalto