Sunday, December 12, 2004

Karzai and Poppies

Karzai was on CNN’s “Late Night with Wolf Blitzer” today. CNN ran an article of 506 words. Fox ran an AP story of almost identical length of 512 words. The headlines were similar

CNN notes, in the second sentence, that Karzai was “hand-picked by the Bush administration as interim leader before he handily won election to the presidency in October.” Near the end of the article they note that he is “a former lobbyist for the U.S. oil and gas company Unocal.” The beginning of the article uses 122 words to cover the headline story. Then, the article devotes the next 133 words to the rise in poppy production (source of opium). It states that Karzai said that they will:

“fight the poppy by destroying the poppy fields and planting ‘alternative crops.’ ‘That will take a few years to complete, but we have resolved to fight poppies, and we will begin to destroy some of the fields this year, and we will do it.’”

CNN notes that “After the Taliban banned poppy cultivation in July 2000, poppy production continued in areas held by the U.S.-backed Northern Alliance.”

Fox’s AP article uses the first 231 words to cover the headline story and then goes to the comments on poppy production increases in the next 165 words. Fox’s story gives more specific measures that are being done to fight poppy production including:

“Afghan judges and prosecutors began training for special courts officials hope will begin jailing heroin and opium kingpins early next year.

U.S. and British counter-narcotics experts are training Afghan security forces who have already begun destroying drug stockpiles, smashing refining laboratories and arresting traffickers.

“Plans are also being laid to punish farmers by destroying opium poppy crops in key growing regions early next year. Meanwhile, hundreds of millions of dollars are earmarked to help the farmers switch to less lucrative but legal crops.”

CNN talks more of the history of poppy production and seems to hint our tacit acceptance of that by “CIA-backed anti-Soviet mujahedeen.” CNN also included more background information about Karzai and his U.S. ties. Why is this so? Why didn’t Fox? Fox’s article provides more information on specific poppy-fighting plans. Why did they include that? Why didn’t CNN?

Side note: Fox’s AP article does not mention until the 11th sentence that Karzai was speaking on CNN.

The article links:,2933,141235,00.html

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