Thursday, April 21, 2005

U.N. Scandal -- Roanoke Times the dog that wouldn't bark?

One of the biggest conceits of Roanoke Times publisher Wendy Zomparelli is that while her editorial page staff is composed entirely of "left-wing moonbats" (actually she doesn't use that term), this bias NEVER leaks over into the paper's "news" side. The paper's contents undercut that conceit virtually every day, and one of the premier pieces of evidence is it's lack of coverage of the U.N. food-for-oil scandal, the largest monetary scandal in world history.

Yesterday, two senior investigators with the committee probing corruption in the U.N. oil-for-food program resigned in protest, saying they believe a report that cleared Kofi Annan of meddling in the $64 billion operation was too soft on the secretary-general . This scandal at the world's diplomatic headquarters involves bribery from Saddamn Hussein and the misdirection of money meant to help feed Iraq's starving children. And where is this story in the Roanoke Times? Nowhere in today's print issue, though the editors clearly know about the story -- it's AP lead is buried in the Roanoke Times' online product.

Writer Roger Simon has done a superb job reporting on this for months, carefully following the investigative reporting of Claudia Rosette, whom many feel should have received a Pulitizer for her work. Visit his site and type in "oil for food" in his site search box.

Why would The Roanoke Times offer scant coverage of the U.N. Food-for-Oil scandal? Because the story undercuts the newspaper's repeated charges that the Bush administration should have worked more with the U.N. before invading Iraq. The scandal story reinforces charges that the U.N. was actually protecting the tyrant, allowing the starvation and butchery of the Iraqi people in return for payoffs. The scandal shows the Roanoke Times' editors to be hateful fools.

Of all the objections to the American invasion of Iraq, the silliest was the notion that the United Nations represented an objective, disinterested and honorable counterbalance to the arrogant unilateralism of the Bush Administration -- a theme often trumpeted in the Roanoke Times. Even beyond the food-for-oil scanndal, the fact is that most of the U.N.'s membership are totalitarian or authoritarian thugocracies. They overlook each other's real atrocities while bashing the United States and Israel (oh, did we speak of the U.N.'s anti-semitism?) for a variety of phony ones. At the time America invaded Iraq, Syria was scheduled to chair the U.N. Human Rights Commission. Iraq chaired its committee on disarmament.

But don't bark, Roanoke Times, that might give your thieving friends away and burnish the image of the man you hate more than Saddam Hussein -- Bush McHitlerburton.

Who'd have thought down here in hound dog country we had a poodle for a newspaper?