HLLN analysis of NYT's cholera article: Playing the Left-Right game of neutral reporting
If the New York Times applied the "follow the money" journalistic adage, the picture effortless falls into place. The Haiti truth, the names and credentials of who benefits from letting cholera ravage Haiti, earthquake victims die -- from all Haiti crisis -- their intertwining Boards of Directors, job positions, current and former employers, University alliances, corporate and business connections -- would have made this piece Pulitzer prize worthy material. As much as we see the effort for non-bias reporting, NYT still could not transcend what animates the Left-Right game of neutral imperialism and philanthropic white supremacy.
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HLLN major points on the New York Times' April 1, 2012 article, Global Failures on a Haitian Epidemic, by Deborah Sontag.
1. The original New York Times (NYT) title's description of the cholera in Haiti as tainting the UN is not only subliminal racism but an egregious insult to the 7,000 dead Haitians and 539,000 infected with UN cholera. They killed with the most virulent strain of a contagious disease, but Haitians are the ones described in the title as "tainting" the UN.
New York times managed to sprout the standard neocolonial stigmatization of the "diseased" Haitians who "TAINTED" the UN despite their Left and Right game of neutral imperialism and philanthropic white supremacy.
Notice how UN Special Envoy to Haiti, Bill Clinton, is missing in action in this article. Perhaps to deflect from the notion that, in Haiti's case, the UN is a branch of the U.S. State Department and Secretary of State, Mrs. Clinton State Department policies? Instead, a US lawyer, spoke for the UN. Anthony Banbury, the Acting Principal Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH).
2. The article begins with the first case of cholera and how it killed, goes on to talk about the millions spent by the international community to help the sick. But I don't believe it mentioned what the UN is doing in Haiti in the first place. There is less violence in Haiti than in Washington D.C., in Brazil, Mexico, Bahamas, Jamaica, Dominican Republic. Haiti is not at war and has less violence than most countries in Western Hemisphere. (See UN Global Study on Homicide at pg 93.)
What's a Chapter 7, peace enforcement UN mission doing in Haiti for 8-years when there is no peace agreement to enforce? The piece also didn't dwell on what happened to all the collected earthquake monies. If it was about Haiti corruption there most likely would have been at least a mention of this. But Bill Clinton, the over-funded Paul Farmer and the NGOs, nothing about the for-profit hotels they're building on earthquake monies. Not a word was written about the endemic UN sexual abuse of Haiti children. (See, Girls as young as 13 were having sex with U.N. peacekeepers for as little as $1.) No mention was made of the Haiti riches, minerals, oil, gold, iridium and resources being plundered behind this US occupation masked as a UN "peace enforcement" mission. The UN leaked the cholera disease into Haiti's water supplies, but no mention was made that amongst the first victims of this environmental poisoning, where hundreds of thousands of healthy agricultural workers losing their lives, health, livelihood or meager food source. No mention that the Clinton Global Initiative sponsors a cholera insurance plan to squeeze monies out of the bare hands of Haiti's hurting market women and agricultural workers. No mention was made that the first action of UN/USAID was not filtering Haiti water and environmental clean up, but making profit by buying 200,000 body bags from overseas. No mention that the UN-MINUSTAH mission was approved for Haiti with the signature of a former career UN employee, Gerard Latortue, living in Florida who hadn't live in Haiti for 40years. The real Prime Minister of Haiti was illegally put in jail for two years.
If the New York Times had simply applied the "followed the money" journalistic adage, the picture of who benefits from letting cholera ravage Haiti -- from all Haiti crisis -- their intertwining Boards of Directors, job positions, current and former employers, University alliances, corporate and business connections -- would have made this piece indeed Pulitzer prize worthy material.
Another example of non-neutrality, though perhaps not consciously done is the way Ms. Sontag failed to comment on the fact that the UN's investigative panel, along with Harvard and the CDC, failed to do a DNA whole genome test on Nepal cholera to compare the bacteria in Haiti despite Haitian eyewitness testimonies of Nepal unsanitary standard at the Mirebalais base. (Read Dady Chery's Why It Took Eleven Months Instead of Three Weeks to Show that Haiti's Cholera Is Nepalese: a Tale of Noble and Ignoble Scientists, Harvard, and the U.N. )
"Without exaggerating, one might say, for example, that the cholera study by Harvard (Paul Farmer"s territory) was analogous to using the most sensitive instruments and best-trained scientists to test for Fukushima radiation everywhere in the globe except Japan, reporting that the meltdowns had probably happened somewhere in Asia, and then proposing that a commission from the nuclear-power companies finish the investigation." (Why It Took Eleven Months)
The Nepalese soldiers, according to the townspeople, defecated in the river, were letting their run-off from toilets, leaking pipes and septic tanks go directly into the river for years.
3. Worst, Ms Sontag ended the article by subliminally underlining for us the UN defense.
Sontag's piece leaves the reader with the image of this animalistic piece of poetry describing : "a naked 6-year-old girl, Magalie Louis, defecated by the bank, gnawed on a stalk of sugarcane and then splashed into the water to brush her teeth."
Her essay did not end by pointing out that Haiti pollutants or naked 6-year-old Haiti girls defecating could not have caused the cholera outbreak. No. It gave the opposite message. The fact remains Haitians have antibodies for their own pollutants. Ms. Sontag, as much as we see the effort for non-bias reporting, still could not transcend what animates the Left-Right game of neutral imperialism and philanthropic white supremacy.