Sunday, May 22, 2005

Different Perspectives on Pres. Karzai

Afghan President Hamid Karzai appeared on CNN’s “Late Edition” and also appeared on Fox News’ “Weekend Live.” Both web sites discussed Karzai’s remarks. The articles are significantly different based on what I see as bias either way with Fox being more favorable to President Bush and CNN being harsher on the administration. Consider these five points:

1. Each article opens from different perspectives. CNN, in its first sentence, says that Karzai “demanded justice Sunday from the United States over the alleged abuse of two Afghan detainees who reportedly died in U.S. custody.” Fox, on the other hand opens with the fact that Karzai “will meet with President Bush on Monday, at which time he plans to ask for stronger coordination between U.S. troops and the Afghan government and to demand punishment for U.S. soldiers accused of abuse at U.S. detention facilities.” While Fox notes that Karzai wants justice, it opens with a positive comment. In fact the very first phrase is “Looking to strengthen U.S.-Afghanistan relations …”

2. CNN uses the same four pictures noted in my previous post. One is of Karzai and the other three are of protesters. Fox uses two pictures, both of Karzai in positive situations – receiving an honorary degree and being welcomed at the airport.

3. Here is a contrast in how poppy eradication is covered by both:

CNN: Karzai also angrily defended his presidency against a charge published in Sunday's Times that a poppy eradication program in Afghanistan is failing because "has been unwilling to assert strong leadership."

The charge came from a memo sent from the U.S. Embassy in Kabul to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, the Times said, and was leaked to the paper by "an American official alarmed at the slow pace of poppy eradication."

"We have done our job," Karzai said.

"The Afghan people have done their job. Now the international community must come and provide alternative revenue to the Afghan people which they have not done so far," Karzai said.

FOX: The Afghan president agreed that his country's future well-being will also in part rely on eradicating the poppy crops that are used to make opium. Last year, more than a half million acres of land were dedicated to growing poppies, producing about 5,000 metric tons of opium. Afghanistan is the biggest poppy-producing nation in the world.

Karzai said a U.N. document recently released on Afghanistan's poppy cultivation shows a decrease in most provinces where the flower is grown and his nation continues its eradication program.

"Let's hope that we will build on that and that eventually in five to six years we will completely eradicate poppies," he said, adding that to be successful, the international community must help present options for alternative revenues for Afghan farmers.

4. Here is another contrast in how Karzai is described by some as a possible U.S. puppet:

CNN: Karzai, a former U.S. oil company executive seen by many in his own country as a U.S. puppet, came to the United States 10 days after at least 15 people were killed in anti-U.S. protests in his country.

FOX: When asked how he walks the line between embracing the U.S. relationship with Afghanistan without alienating citizens who consider him a puppet of the U.S. government, Karzai responded that people in his country know that following democratic ambitions is the only road to success.

"No Afghan is a puppet, you know. Afghans are very independent people. They understand. The Afghan people, perhaps, are among the most freedom lovers of all the people in the world, but for the Afghan people, the relationship with the United States is in a necessarily different context — in the context of the future stability of Afghanistan, the future well-being of the Afghan people and the prevention of intervention from outside into Afghanistan," he said.

5. Readers of only one article would have a different perception of how well things are going or not going in Afghanistan as noted by the examples above. Here are a few other excerpts:

CNN: His [Karzai] comments came on the same day that the United Nations condemned the alleged abuse as "utterly unacceptable." {Fox does not mention that U.N. report.}

FOX: Expressing gratitude for U.S. efforts to rid the nation of Taliban radicals and increase security across the long-ravaged country, Karzai said he wants Afghan prisoners to be returned to Afghan prisons from U.S. detention centers and greater consultation before military operations take place on the ground in Afghanistan. {CNN never mentions any gratitude expressed by Karzai.}

Links to the articles:,2933,157297,00.html

1 comment:

socialsomatic said...

yesterday, i saw the story on the fox website and the headline was something like, "Bush reassures Karzai." i thought that was an incredibly insulting headline for a meeting between world leaders. a picture of bush patting him on the head would have been a nice addition.