‘New York Times’ Congo coverage goes from ‘F’ to ‘D-minus’

Jeffrey Gettleman’s article in today’s NYT is a modest improvement over his failure yesterday.  He has stopped hero-worshipping the Rwandan-supported M23 armed force that seized the regional capital of Goma, even noting that the group “has a long history of killing civilians.”  

He also finally reported that the Rwandan/M23 attack is triggering a humanitarian disaster that will certainly add to the 5 million death toll in the region, a point he left out of yesterday’s dispatch.  He briefly quotes an official with the relief agency Oxfam who warns that the renewed fighting will spread cholera and other diseases.

On the other hand, he neglects to mention that Rwanda is supporting and quite probably commanding the M23, and that the United States has so far refused to come out and condemn Rwandan involvement.

Easily the most valuable part of the article is the heartbreaking photograph that accompanies it, which shows thousands of Congolese refugees fleeing the fighting. You can make out people in the front ranks of the crowd who are carrying their mattresses on their heads and backs.

Gettleman did not interview any of these people.  Only a single Congolese is quoted in the article: the prime minister, who is presumably in the far-off capital, Kinshasa. Isn’t Gettleman interested in listening to people who are so poor they can’t bear to leave their mattresses behind?

(My own view of the latest tragedy in Congo is here.) 

Posted in Media

{ 7 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. I see striking parallels between Rwanda and Israel. The Rwandan leaders also exploit the sympathy that many people feel for them in connection with the past genocide of their people (in this case the Tutsis) to justify their aggression against a neighboring country. While the real reasons for the incursions into eastern Congo are those you explain in your article (especially the valuable metals there), the official reason has been the need to hunt down the Hutu Interahamwe forces that supposedly threaten renewal of the genocide.

  2. Citizen says:

    What does the US Congress Black Caucus say about this subject?

  3. ritzl says:

    This lack of attention to one of the worst of the worst of current (or is that ever) genocides is one of the biggest reasons to solve the Palestine-Israel conflict. At least it’s one that I use, conversationally to respond to the “Why should I care about I/P?” shrug.

    Instead of the State Department spending all (literally) of its time trying to thwart the Palestinians at the UN and everywhere else, it could be spending those considerable and potent resources solving this ongoing catastrophe. Same with all the other departments and/or branches of the USG. Same with other mass killing around the globe.

    Thanks for bringing this up, here, JN. It’s an important part of the I/P context. So much tragic waste of humanity occurs as the I/P conflict is allowed to, and in fact is designed to, fester.

  4. gamal says:

    Herman’s “The Politics of Genocide”

    also Andre Vltchek

    “In the Heart of the DR Congo
    The Most Brutal Genocide Money Can Buy
    by ANDRE VLTCHEK

    The camp for Congolese refugees in Kisoro is overcrowded, and people keep flowing in. The border between Uganda and DR Congo is just a few kilometers away, and right behind the border the vicious fighting goes on; there is true bloodshed and carnage.

    The border is called Bunagana. I drive there, I film, and I talk to a few people. There is tension, everybody is edgy – locals and refugees. One cannot tell who is who. Both Ugandans and Congolese know, but, the outsider cannot tell the difference; it is one region, one area. People were coming back and forth for years and decades, people were mixing, staying at both sides of the border legally and illegally.

    But now, there is almost nothing left to go back to at the other side of the border. Murderous militia M23 recently went on the rampage – killing, raping and looting with no mercy, and with absolute impunity.”

    link to counterpunch.org

  5. I like the grading of the NYTimes reporting, when supported by facts with its own ideological underpinnings “unconcealed.” I’d be interested to know how many readers Mondoweiss gets – I really have no idea. As people tune into the second-rate nature of the journalistic product, and to the bankrupt “thinking” that underlies it, it is only a matter of time before it falls or corrects itself as the so-called newspaper of record.

  6. chinese box says:

    @David Doppler Maybe the NYT should do it’s readers a favor and stick to domestic issues…

  7. yourstruly says:

    today’s LA Times Op-ed – “Renew the peace process? Not now” with “The last thing anyone needs is another failed US. effort to bring Israel and the Palestinians together”, its subtitle; author Chuck Freilich. “senior fellow at Harvard Kennedy School, was a deputy national security advisor in Israel under labor and Likud governments. He (& as presented; ?, american born?) is the author of “Zion’s dilemmas : How IsraelMakes National Security Policy.” {ie.pusher-in-chief, authorized narrative, U.S.-Israel alliance/axis}

    narrative; past, present + whatever’s yet to come
    vetted & verified
    out in public
    well written
    easy to grasp
    truth
    turned upside down; such as –

    “It is standard diplomatic practice to view crises as an opportunity to seek fundamental change in the situation. Well before operation Pillar of Defense started, strategists and pundits were calling upon President Obama to devote his second term to renewed effort to promote the long moribund peace process. They are wrong. The last thing the Middle East needs right now – especially Israelis and Palestinians” {the people, yes, but about their land, nothing!}…….
    “Hamas is a fundamentalist Islamic organization whose charter refers to Jews as donkeys and dogs and calls for Israel’s destruction. It is not a partner for negotiations.”……”and tghe last thingsthe U.S. needs is another failed American-led peace process. And it would fail. What Bill Clinton and George W. Bush could not achieve on the basis of Israel’s dramatic proposals in 2000 and 2008, Obama will not be able to do today. “………U.N. recognition of Palestine as a non-state member later this month, despite repeated American, international and Israeli remonstrations. {they actually don’t think the public will see through this}. United Nations recognition will not ring thePalestinians one inch closter to actual statehood. Establishing a state will require compromise, and it is much easier for Abbas to play {the right word!} to the automatic Third World choir in the U.N. and receive support for the establoishment of a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders than tonegotiate seriously with Israel. Doing that would mean agreeing to some territorial changes and forgetting the fancifal dream of a return of refugees” {but their dream is real? The one about a land without a people for a people without a land?}….”On the Israeli side, Prime Minister Benjamin is likelysto sweep the January elections and to continue his hard line approach. He will befurther buoyed byh an electorate that has long despaired of any Palestinian willingness to compromise and will be further hardened by recent events.” {Israel’s terrorist regime already has a 90% approval rating. Egypt, which was firmly {coincidence, this macho choice of words?) at peace with Israel for the last 30 years is now governed bythe Muslim Brotherhood, and the future of its peace treaty withIsrel is far from guaranteed. Inhis speeches, Morsi has consistently found ways to avoid saying the word, ‘Israel’. He finally let it slipinthelast few days. Leaders of his party call for Israel’s destruction. Self-interest {as defined by whom & from where?} forced Egypt to play {that word, again} a moderating role in this round, but its future direction is very worrying. The entire Mideast is in an equally worrying state of transformation. The Arab Spring is becoming a nightmare {but for whom & why?}. The slaughter in Syria continues unabated. It may result in an islamic regime, and it is spilling over into Lebanon . Unrest threatens the regime in Jordan. Iraq is in shambles, illiberal winds are blowing in Tunisia and Morocco. Yemen, Libya, Sudan and Somalia are failed states. Change is inevitable in Saudi Arabia too. {wow, such gloom and doom} {Meanwhile}, “The Unied States’ stature inthe region is at its lowest in decades, and when Obamatried to start peace negotiations during his first year in office, he got nowhere. {yeh, but why was that?} Attempting and falling short again could prove more dangerous than not trying at all. Repeated failures have led both Israelis and Palestinians {Palestinians, such as?} to despair
    of the prospects of peace, and we will need whatever residual hopes remain if and when circumstances for a breakthrough arise. We cannot afford to undermine these hopes.” {& how’s that for optimism?} Moreover, failure strengthens and emboldens hard-liners on both sides, ‘proving’ their case that peace is not possible and risking further outbreaks of the violence, such as the bloody intifada in 2000. Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran successfully derailed past negotiations with spasms of terrorism {spasms, rather than the ongoing, now steadily increasing jewish-israeli terrorism}
    Nothing has done more to undermine the peace process than ongoing terrorism. {Israel, of course, in no way responsible for any of this?} ….One aspect of American power is the perception that it can force tghe sides to reach agreement – and succeed in brokering a deal. (to which side’s advantage?} Another aborted attempt would merely reinforce the Arab image of the U.S. as a weak, declining power, making it that much harder for the U.S. to play in effective role {always a role, never for real} when the time is right.” {what if the time is right, only for a turnabout, not the status-quo?}

    and then there’s this,

    …the Israeli-Palestinian conflict actually has little to do with the primary challenges facing the Mideast today, and resolving it will not significantly enhance other American interests in the region or its relations with Arab states. This is not to argue that the U.S. should only interven when success is guaranteed – some risk is inherent and warranted {like in a U.S.-backed Israeli war on Iran?} – but the prospects for peace must be significant, and they are not now.”

    the article concluding with,

    The Mideast peace process is too important for Israel, the Palestinians, the region and for U.S. interests to allow well-meaning but unrealistic hopes to propel precipitous action. {now impotent, although may regain some “manhood”, once UNGA recognizes Palestine}

    The next time the U.S. engages it must succeed. In the meantime, the Iranian nuclear program sand the slaughter in Syria and the slaughter in Syria are far more pressing matters, and they are situations in which the U.S. can make a difference {‘Look! Not here, over there, the bad guys!’}

    what to make of this op-ed?

    well, assuming as heretofore it’s always been,

    that the truth is the opposite of what the zionists make it out to be,

    that, indeed, now is the time

    justice for palestine

    the specific conflict

    the resolution of which

    turnabout?