The Nation Report About Obama Speech Belongs On Opinion Page, Should Be Properly Sourced

Jan 28th, 2010 | By | Category: The Nation
American President Barack Obama Giving His Speech

American President Barack Obama Giving His Speech

Today’s The Nation includes a report by an anonymous person known only as “Special Correspondent” on American President Barack Obama’s speech to the American Congress last night which chastises him for not mentioning Pakistan specifically enough. While it is true that Pakistan was not mentioned by name in the speech, the article is clearly meant to suggest a snub against Pakistan and thus belongs more appropriately on the Opinion page of the newspaper. Moreover, the suggestion that a lack of a specific mention of Pakistan in a speech by the American President to the American Congress is a snub is really quite silly.

The Nation’s anonymous reporter begins the article by criticizing Obama for not speaking enough about Pakistan and India-Pakistan relations.

Declaring that the United States has strengthened partnerships with its anti-terrorism allies, President Barack Obama on Wednesday cited his adminitration’s effective fight against al-Qaeda militants but said nothing specific about close ally Pakistan.

Although Obama took note of partnerships in Asia, his first State of the Union address made no mention of Pakistan, a US ally in the war on terror. There was also no reference to India-Pakistan relations and their impact on regional stability. The contentious Middle East conflict was another
major ommission in the speech.

It is true that Mr. Obama’s speech did not mention Pakistan by name, but it also does not mention any other nations that are currently fighting against terrorists. Mr. Obama did mention partnerships broadly, but does not single out any specific nations. For example, he said:

We’ve prohibited torture and strengthened partnerships from the Pacific to South Asia to the Arabian Peninsula.

Actually, the reason that Mr. Obama did not mention Pakistan or India-Pakistan relations in his speech was not a snub against Pakistan but because his speech was mostly about US affairs only. In fact, the anonymous reporter for The Nation even admits this in his report:

Obama’s address focused largely on economic recovery initiatives that his administration is pursuing…

Additionally, while Mr. Obama did talk briefly about foreign policy challenges, including the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, he did so from an American perspective for his American audience. He did not mention any of the other countries with troops in those wars, not only Pakistan. The anonymous reporter from The Nation does not mention that Mr. Obama also does not specifically mention other nations that are fighting against terrorism, including:

  • United Kingdom
  • France
  • Canada
  • Italy
  • Netherlands
  • Poland
  • Australia
  • Spain
  • Romania
  • Turkey
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Belgium
  • Norway
  • Bulgaria
  • Sweden
  • Hungary
  • New Zealand
  • Croatia

Even though they were not mentioned, none of the media in other countries are writing anonymous opinion articles suggesting they were snubbed and trying to pass them off as ‘news’.

The Nation has a well-documented anti-American position with regards to foreign policy. Obviously, they have the right to this position and it is their right to continue to publish anti-American Editorials and Opinion columns. But such political positions belong on the Opinion page, not in the  sections for actual news reporting. The column in The Nation is clearly meant to raise anger among those people known as the Ghairat Brigade. The fact that the report is sourced to an anonymous “Special Correspondent” makes it even worse than misleading, though, it’s simply unprofessional.

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