The Fourth Estate, the State Department and Haiti

"I have always been interested in how a supposedly independent press so often manages to report on foreign affairs from the point of view of the State Department," writes Diana Barahona. As a case study, she examines the work of Michael Deibert, a journalist reporting from Haiti around the time of the February 2004 coup that ousted President Jean Bertrand-Aristide. Deibert's articles say that Aristide had lost popular support, though "he won the 2000 election with 90 percent of votes cast, and a 2000 USAID-commissioned Gallup poll showed that over 60% of the populace still supported the president." Deibert's articles portray Aristide supporters as "armed street gangs" and "thugs," while ignoring violent attacks against members of Aristide's political party, Lavalas. "Deibert doesn't mention the fact that" anti-Aristide paramilitaries led by former Haitian army members "have U.S.-made weapons." And even though he attended a press conference by coup leader Guy Philippe, a recipient of U.S. military training and "an admirer of Augusto Pinochet," Deibert didn't "seem to be asking the obvious question," writes Barahona -- did the U.S. support the coup?