Accuracy in Media

The July-August issue of Foreign Policy magazine has an article, “How to Defuse the Bolton Bomb,” attacking U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton. It is written by Barbara Crossette, identified as U.N. bureau chief for the New York Times from 1994-2001 and now “a consulting editor at the United Nations Association of the United States.” The latter is a main component of the pro-U.N. lobby.

But the Times affiliation is what is most interesting. Here we have a case of a former reporter and bureau chief for the Times who covered the United Nations and now works for the pro-U.N. lobby and has put her name on an article attacking America’s Ambassador to the world body. This is an example of the “revolving door” between politics and journalism. One has to be a fool to suppose that Crossette’s left-wing bias only emerged after she left the employ of the Times. Her work for the U.N. Association demonstrates that left-wing reporters covering the U.N. will always have a home in the U.N. lobby after they leave journalism.

Before going to work for the U.N. Association, she worked for something called U.N. Wire, funded by U.N. sugar daddy Ted Turner.

The piece is laughable. “As is his right,” she says, “Bolton has replaced staffers at the mission in New York with loyalists and true believers.” She cites only one, Richard “Terry” Miller, who had been added to the Bolton team at the U.S. Mission. Crossette neglects to mention that Peggy Kerry, John Kerry’s equally liberal sister, is still at the U.S. Mission to the U.N., where she handles relations with left-wing non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Bolton can’t replace her-or most of the staff up there-because they are considered career civil servants.

In an article that originally appeared in World Policy Journal, Crossette condemned the Bush Administration for McCarthyism and for pursuing “ideologically driven, unrealistic, and outdated social policies?” She claimed the administration was in hock to “the most illiberal of American anti-abortion, anti-choice, anti-gay lobbies.”

This is partly why her article in Foreign Policy deserves to be laughed at. It purports to be advice for Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on how to “regain control of American diplomacy” by isolating Bolton. Is there any reason to believe that Rice would take advice from a far-left former Times reporter now working for the U.N. lobby? Let’s hope not.

On the other hand, Benny Avni of the New York Sun notes that Bolton’s effort to withhold money from the U.N. in order to force reform at the world body has been overruled by higher-ups.  “America is retreating from an attempt to use its sizable monetary contributions to insist on genuine reform at the United Nations,” he reported on June 26. That retreat has been engineered by top aides to Rice-and perhaps Rice herself.

So the real problem is not Bolton but the State Department bureaucracy, which has captured Rice and is using her for its own purposes. The story is the exact opposite of what Crossette reported.

Crossette, by the way, is the consulting editor for the U.N. Association newsletter, The Interdependent. One of my favorite issues, Summer 1999, showed Clinton Secretary of State Madeleine Albright on the cover with her thumb in the air as though she were claiming victory over something. The headline was: “Kosovo: The U.N. Takes Charge.”

In Kosovo today, as noted by Austrian writer Peter Handke, Serbs have to live “surrounded by barbed wire and tanks” because of the U.N. plan to make the Serbian province into an independent Muslim state.

Crossette should have done an article about that. But that, you see, would make the U.N. look bad.

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