Thank goodness for impartial media monitors

by Nathan Hamm on 10/12/2005 · 2 comments

As is its wont, Media Matters is peeved. Normally that would not warrant a comment from me, but this time it’s over Washington Post and AP coverage of Secretary Rice and Daniel Fried’s recent criticism of Uzbekistan.

In reporting recent remarks by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Fried criticizing Uzbekistan for human rights abuses and signaling that the United States would now seek different Central Asian allies in the war on terror, The Washington Post and the Associated Press allowed flagrant contradictions in Bush administration statements and actions regarding Uzbekistan to go unmentioned.

Wow, that sounds important! So what else did administration members say and do over the past few days to contradict this?


Well, it looks like nothing. Apparently what’s Brock’s outfit so fired up is that past statements and actions are inconsistent with those of the past couple weeks. If I didn’t know any better, I might take that as a sign that foreign policies change over time.

Obviously one can argue the propriety of US policy on Uzbekistan at different points in time. But this complaint is simply ridiculous. Up front it implies a current contradiction that does not exist and backs up its argument by citing past policy positions.

But David Brock is a partisan hack no matter whose corner he’s working, and everything he touches reflects that. (That’s especially for you, dad.) So, I expect no less.

(This is also a perfect example of how media watchdog organizations are in many ways much worse than the media.)

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– author of 2991 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Nathan is the founder and Principal Analyst for Registan, which he launched in 2003. He was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Uzbekistan 2000-2001 and received his MA in Central Asian Studies from the University of Washington in 2007. Since 2007, he has worked full-time as an analyst, consulting with private and government clients on Central Asian affairs, specializing in how socio-cultural and political factors shape risks and opportunities and how organizations can adjust their strategic and operational plans to account for these variables. More information on Registan's services can be found here, and Nathan can be contacted via Twitter or email.

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Narcogen October 13, 2005 at 2:45 am

Not to defend Media Matters, but am I the only one that reads the second paragraph to be the contradiction?

Basically, after throttling criticism of Uzbekistan for several years, it is now being allowed. The reasons cited for this: UZ’s human rights record.

MM is rightfully pointing out that, by any measure, UZ’s human rights record has been uniformally dismal even before Andijan. MM is pointing out that the real reason is the closure of K2, and to cite the former while ignoring the latter is to allow the hypocrisy of both past and current foreign policy practices towards UZ to go unmentioned.

I agree, that is also par for the course, but at least let’s play them how they lie. Pun intended.

Nathan October 13, 2005 at 7:29 am

But if I ran an outfit like MM, I would have gone after the media for failing to fully report administration criticism and measures to punish Uzbekistan over its human rights record prior to Andijon. Just sayin’…

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