U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, right, shakes hands with Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, during their meeting in Baghdad, Iraq, Saturday, April 25, 2009. Photo released by the Iraqi Presidential Press Office.
Did we expect the media to forego the bias it demonstrated toward then presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in its coverage of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton? Dream on.
On Google News today, there’s a link to the Times Online titled Obama Gets His Hands on a New Blackberry; there is, however, on the big news aggregate no mention of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s surprise trip to Iraq this Saturday morning. Just a matter of priority, folks.
At the Washington Post Mary Beth Sheridan mentioned Clinton’s trip in a story titled Clinton Gets Red Carpet Treatment in Iraq that described in detail the Air Force 2 plane - “dinner served on china with cloth napkins” - in which she traveled to Kuwait to be picked up by an Air Force cargo jet for the trip to Baghdad. The brief article also recalled Clinton’s reference to Bosnia in the campaign before describing the red carpet treatment she received on arrival in Iraq, but offered not a word regarding the diplomacy she delivered during her packed schedule of meetings. (Sheridan posted a second article at Wapo later today on Clinton's trip to Iraq that was a little more newsworthy.)
Mark Lander at the NY Times felt compelled to slander Secretary Clinton in his supposed news coverage of her Iraq trip:
At times, her analysis echoed that of former Vice President Dick Cheney and former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld. Mr. Cheney spoke of the insurgency being in its “last throes” during a period of extreme violence; Mr. Rumsfeld talked of “dead-enders” who kept fighting a lost cause.
After quite a search of online news sources, I wound up at Reuters, where Arshad Mohammed covers the story of Secretary Clinton’s trip to Iraq with - surprise! - the objectivity of a professional journalist.
In a whirlwind visit, Clinton met Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari and was briefed by Gen. Ray Odierno, the U.S. commander in Iraq.
Zebari said he found Clinton's message of continued U.S. support reassuring and said the relationship between the two countries would evolve to one of more normal, economic dealings from one been based on security and military concerns.
"There is no doubt that there are serious security and economic challenges that are facing Iraq. We will continue to rely on ... U.S. commitment and support," he said.
Clinton also made time to meet ordinary Iraqis invited to the massive, heavily fortified U.S. embassy, speaking privately to a group of Iraqi women, some of whom were widowed in the last six years of strife.
In her public meeting there, she answered question after question from Iraqis about what the United States could do to help them with everything from education and agriculture to the empowerment of women and the rights of minorities.
At one point, Clinton said she knew that it would not be easy to knit together Iraqi society.
"I know how hard this will be," she said. "My own country has struggled for many years with all kinds of divisions and yet, as you know, we have just elected an African American president, someone who is leading all Americans, not just one group or another group."