Neglected news

Remember the oil-for-food scandal? You know, the U.N. program where Iraq was allowed to sell oil in exchange for humanitarian supplies like food, medicines, and so on. Only it turned into a scandal, with allegations of kickbacks, bribes, and profiteering levied against some high-profile VIPs. Well, there’s been a big development. Korean national Tongsun Park ...

607148_UNflag5.jpg
607148_UNflag5.jpg

Remember the oil-for-food scandal? You know, the U.N. program where Iraq was allowed to sell oil in exchange for humanitarian supplies like food, medicines, and so on. Only it turned into a scandal, with allegations of kickbacks, bribes, and profiteering levied against some high-profile VIPs. Well, there's been a big development.

Korean national Tongsun Park was convicted in a U.S. court last week for being an agent of Saddam Hussein. In Niall Stanage's story in today's New York Observer, he alleges that the lack of trial coverage in the mainstream media has to do with its "liberal" bias - because the story was first addressed in more conservative outlets, like the National Review and the editorial pages of the WSJ. Park's conviction, Stanage continues, also displays the corruption and incompetence endemic to many U.N. programs, and the liberal media doesn't want to see the U.N. taken down.

I'm really skeptical of that argument. I'd attest it to the lack of interest toward international stories in the mainstream media. There's only so much time on network news, and only so much space in national newspapers. When you have a story like the Middle East crisis dominating headlines, plus the G8 summit and the bombings in Mumbai, all other international stories fall to the wayside. Unfortunate, but true. After all, take a look at the tsunami in Indonesia. More than 500 people have died, and hardly anyone's noticed. No one would have noticed the G8 summit either, if not for the fact that Bush cursed and ordered a Diet Coke. 

Remember the oil-for-food scandal? You know, the U.N. program where Iraq was allowed to sell oil in exchange for humanitarian supplies like food, medicines, and so on. Only it turned into a scandal, with allegations of kickbacks, bribes, and profiteering levied against some high-profile VIPs. Well, there’s been a big development.

Korean national Tongsun Park was convicted in a U.S. court last week for being an agent of Saddam Hussein. In Niall Stanage’s story in today’s New York Observer, he alleges that the lack of trial coverage in the mainstream media has to do with its “liberal” bias – because the story was first addressed in more conservative outlets, like the National Review and the editorial pages of the WSJ. Park’s conviction, Stanage continues, also displays the corruption and incompetence endemic to many U.N. programs, and the liberal media doesn’t want to see the U.N. taken down.

I’m really skeptical of that argument. I’d attest it to the lack of interest toward international stories in the mainstream media. There’s only so much time on network news, and only so much space in national newspapers. When you have a story like the Middle East crisis dominating headlines, plus the G8 summit and the bombings in Mumbai, all other international stories fall to the wayside. Unfortunate, but true. After all, take a look at the tsunami in Indonesia. More than 500 people have died, and hardly anyone’s noticed. No one would have noticed the G8 summit either, if not for the fact that Bush cursed and ordered a Diet Coke. 

Christine Y. Chen is a senior editor at Foreign Policy.

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