Sunday, June 05, 2005

A Tale of Two Amnesty's

Amnesty International recently came up with a report that had glaring criticism of the U.S. and the Guantanamo Bay detention camp. In a recent post I noted differences in coverage of Vice President Cheney’s reaction. Today, CNN and Fox News reported on reaction by the head of Amnesty International USA, William Schulz. The differences are as clear as night and day even though CNN reported on an interview with Schulz on Fox’s “Fox News Sunday.” There are two key differences, of several, that I would like to point out:

1. Here are the headlines and opening sentences for each with CNN leading with the U.S. having secret jails while Fox leads with Schulz backtracking a little on Amnesty’s use of the term “gulag” in reference to Guantanamo.

CNN: Rights group leader says U.S. has secret jails

The chief of Amnesty International USA alleged Sunday that the Guantanamo Bay detention camp is part of a worldwide network of U.S. jails, some of them secret, where prisoners are mistreated and even killed.

FOX: Amnesty Chief: 'Gulag' Not the Best Analogy

The American head of Amnesty International admits his group did not pick the best analogy when it compared detainee conditions at Guantanamo Bay to the Soviet-era "gulag" forced-labor system.

2. CNN ends its article with coverage of two senators saying that hearings on Guantanamo may be appropriate. Fox does not mention that but does discuss criticism of Amnesty International which is not found in CNN’s article:

CNN: ""Look, it's very difficult to run a perfect prison," said Majority Whip Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. "But we have an open country. We have hearings on a whole lot of different subjects. We might well have hearings on this."

Democratic Sen. Christopher Dodd of Connecticut, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said holding hearings would "send a better message to the world about who we are and what we care about if we do that, if we approach it in that direction."

FOX: But Amnesty International critics say that may be part of the problem.

They point out that the group's international report has multiple pages criticizing Israel and milder critique of the Palestinian Authority. Meanwhile, the report devotes a similar amount of space to the slaughter in Sudan as it does poor treatment by police officers in Switzerland.

Human rights expert Anthony Arend from Georgetown University said calling Guantanamo Bay a 'gulag' prevents people from focusing on real abuses in the world.

Links to the articles:,2933,158555,00.html

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