Toxicity of Washington Post’s Pandering to the State Department

BY ARA KHACHATOURIAN

With all guns blazing, the Washington Post in an editorial on Friday condemned senators Barbara Boxer and Robert Menendez for placing a hold on Matt Bryza’s confirmation as the next US ambassador to Baku, saying the “two Democrats risk US interests by blocking” what the paper calls “a top-notch State Department diplomat.”

Entitled “A Toxic Hold: Two Democratic Senators Block an Ambassador—At the Expense of US Interests,” the editorial also goes out of its way to discredit and tarnish the work of the Armenian National Committee of America, and in a bizarre leap, it is essentially blaming the ANCA for instability in the Caucasus.

The Post accuses Boxer and Menendez of “pandering” presumably to the Armenian electorate. Yet the noxious tenor of the editorial clearly signals that the Post is doing the “Most Craven” pandering to the State Department.

Despite wide-spread support by the Armenian community during the 2008 elections, the Obama Administration, especially the State Department, has stepped up its fruitless efforts to marginalize the ANCA. The Washington Post editorial echoes the State Department’s anger and frustration at the grass-roots power of the Armenian-American community and by parroting the State Department’s skewed representation of Bryza, the venerable newspaper is diminishing its credibility as an influential and objective member of the Fourth Estate and it is disgracing its own status in its feeble attempt to push the ANCA out of the civic national discourse.

A regular and advanced search of the Washington Post archives of the past 60 days shows only one reference to Bryza and that is Friday’s scathing and unbalanced editorial. If Bryza’s nomination was such an important factor in advancing US interests, why then did the Post remain silent during the entire confirmation process?

The Post uses adjectives such as “top-notch” and “competent” to describe Bryza and without any effort to substantiate its claims the newspaper paints Bryza as “the American most likely to prevent more aggression.” Clearly the Post missed the episode where Bryza was quickly recalled to Washington after allegedly running a woman over in Moscow; or when the editor and writer of an article claiming that high-ranking Azeri government officials paid for Bryza’s wedding were brutally beaten and jailed by Azerbaijan without even a peep out of the esteemed US Ambassador nominee. And, what of his role as peace broker? It is common knowledge that Bryza’s not-so-diplomatic double-speak during his tenure as the US co-chair not only created confusion around the fragile peace process, but also angered government officials in the Caucasus and forced his fellow co-chairs to issue regular clarifications.

In defending Bryza’s wife Zeyno Baran as “an outspoken critic of the current Turkish government,” the Post neglects to highlight Baran serves on the editorial board of the Azeri Government funded “Azerbaijan Focus,” a journal published by the Center for Strategic Studies founded by Azeri President Ilham Aliyev. She joined on that board by Azerbaijan’s Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov and Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, among other high-level Azeri officials. During the confirmation vote, Sen. Menendez was concerned about the potential conflict of interest that Baran’s position might pose due to her ties to the Azeri government, but the Washington Post chose not to address this matter.

The actions of Boxer and Menendez are praiseworthy because they extensively pursued clarifications from Bryza and when his position on issues of importance in the region did not satisfy the veteran legislators they took due action, instead of rubber-stamping the nomination. Boxer was one of the first senators to question US reaction after the Azeri military destroyed the Armenian cemetery in Djulfa. She was one of the first US legislators to travel to Armenia to assess its post-independence situation, so when she returned to the US she could make informed choices and decisions that not only were based on human rights considerations but also bolstered American interests in the region.

When I was a journalism student at Northeastern University in the late 80s, the Washington Post’s esteemed editor Ben Bradley addressed our class. His sage advice was that as journalists we should always seek out the facts before reporting them. It is shameful that today’s Washington Post has stooped so low that its editorial reeks of blatant collusion with the government—a sad reflection on the paper’s honored legacy.

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22 Comments

  1. Hye4Life said:

    washington post is the mouthpiece of US government, there is no democracy or freedom. all they care about is thier interest.

  2. Satenik said:

    “the American most likely to prevent more aggression.” Is it 1st of April already?

  3. sebouh from australia said:

    typical US corrupt point of view…when are US Armenians going to wake up and stop supporting corrupt politicians

  4. Gary said:

    I’m a Republican, but I’m going to vote for Boxer (a democrate). Shame on Feinstein for not voting with Boxer to block Byrzra.

    • Paul said:

      at the end of the day its all politics. Boxer is in need of our vote soon. we must all unite and invest in our own politicians and push our own ahead. the only remedy. REGARDLESS, WE MUST FIGHT ON AND NOT LOOSE HOPE IN ALL OUR ISSUES. GOD BLESS ARMENIA!!!!

    • Osik said:

      Gary,
      Hold your horses; I don’t think that Senator Dianne Feinstein is a Senate Foreign Relations Committee member.
      It looks like you just came from a “Tea Party” because you barked on a wrong tree and a big Apology is due, go ahead we are waiting sir.

    • ArdeVast Atheian said:

      Ideologically speaking, the right has been much more sympathetic to our plight of having to survive as Christians surrounded by hostile Muslims, than the left has been. Remember when the left gave away, Eastern Armenia to Turkey, Jhavakhk to Georgia and Nakhichevan and Artsakh to Azerbaijan just to please Turkey at the end of WWI?

      It shouldn’t come as a surprise for the left in general and Obama in particular, to promise us anything before the election and deliver us none of it afterwards. Obama in particular deceived not only us but the entire nation about the nature of his policitics.

      I chuckle now when I remember how sold Asbarez, AYF and ANCA were just a year ago on his promised agenda.

    • Jay said:

      This is what we get for not having Think-Tank in D.C., Look at the Israel,Jewish and the Oil lobby amongst other. They are being considered the ‘Washington Powerhouse’ and believe me you don’t wanna mess with them. On the other hand what do we have, ANCA or AAA? both are ineffective tool when challenging the above mentioned lobbyists.We need to get rid the leadership of both organizations and designate a new ones who can come up with better strategy.

      • O'dodd said:

        The so-called “Washington-Powerhouse” that you so gamely site, Jay, has been on the defensive since the ANCA began questionning Bryza’s background and his true interests. And as far as an “ineffective tool” is concerned, I believe that Asbarez has posted numerous articles in the last several months that dispute this fact. If you care to search outside sources – read what the Economist has to say about the “Armenian lobby” here in the states!

        • Jay said:

          So, then who do you blame the failure of the current and past administrations promise of recognizing the genocide?

  5. Vars said:

    Thank you Ara for articulating the shortfalls and concerns all Armenians should have regarding this nominee and the Washington Post’s oil stained lack of research.

  6. Paul said:

    Californians should be proud of their Senator Boxer and make sure to vote for her in November!

  7. Hovik said:

    actually I see these recent amenophobe activities in major newspaper editorials as a combined effort of Jewish lobby and oil industry to undermine Armenia’s growing importance in geopolitic.

    This is a kind of soft war declared on us, so all Armenians should stand firm on their foot , because in the first time in last three centuries there is a slim chance in horizen that Armenians will gain back atleast portion of all what was lost before, so hyperactivity in our enemies side actually is the sign that we are on right path!

    (P.S)parden me for English, I am posting from Tehran

  8. WPost said:

    I talked to many armenians right after Washington Post endorsed Hrant Jamgochian in MD, and all of them were praising the newspaper. Now you guys are beiting it to death. Why cannot accept the fact that truth is truth. Everyone knows that Senators Boxer and Menendez are biased in M.Bryza’s nomination, because both of them want to please their armenian constituencies before the upcoming elections.

  9. manooshag said:

    Obviously, you’ve not read whistle blower Sibel Edmonds remarks re Bryza… as for Hrant Jamgochian, he is such an outstanding and experienced individual, that you’d be obviously wrong not recognizing… Manooshag

  10. Pingback: greetingslondon.net » Washington Post Blinded by Love Affair with Bryza

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