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As Circa Misplaced Bashir, Echo of Non-Action on Reuters Spying for UN

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 31 -- Circa, based in San Francisco, calls itself "news, re-imagined." In late May with some fanfare it hired Reuters then social media editor Anthony DeRosa as its editor in chief.

  At Inner City Press we are rooting for new media, new approaches. So when Circa reported today on George Clooney spying on Sudan and its International Criminal Court indicted president Omar al Bashir, we chimed in with the fact that Bashir met with the head of UN Peacekeeping, Herve Ladsous, only this month.

  Inner City Press previously questioned why Human Rights watch ignored this UN entanglement to only focus on Bashir's trip to an HIV / AIDS conference in Nigeria. HRW's Ken Roth called Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan a "coward" for not arresting Bashir, but said nothing of the UN's Ladsous meeting with him.

  Soon we learned that Circa has reported that Bashir had fled TO Nigeria, rather than the other way around. And Circa reached out to ask where Bashir was now. Well, back in Sudan (though he's headed to Iran on August 4 for Rouhani's inauguration.)

  The mistake would seem to indicate a dearth of foreign policy chops at Circa; fine. And they replied that they've now updated their story, wherever it is. But we can't help remembering: when DeRosa was at Reuters, ostensibly its bridge to the world of social media, he was told of problems.

  He was shown that Reuters UN bureau chief tried to get Inner City Press thrown out of the UN. He was shown the connection between Reuters and anonymous social media trolling of Inner City Press.

  The Reuters UN bureau chief, Lou Charbonneau, has been shown to have essentially spied for the UN. Charbonneau gave the UN's top Media Accreditation official an internal anti-Press document of the UN Correspondents Association, three minutes after he promised that it would stay within UNCA.

  Story here, audio here, document here, saying "you didn't get this from me."

  Old media Reuters big wigs Stephen J. Adler, Greg McCune, Paul Ingrassia and Walden Siew were all contacted but did nothing.

   But DeRosa never did anything about this either, despite the "social media" in his title. Then one thought that when he left the hegemon, and went hipster at Circa, he might do something. But no, nothing, at least not so far. Some things, however, require action.

  It's fine for a start up social news company to not know, really, who the president of Sudan is, or where and when he traveled, or why. But where is this all going? How can double standards like on Ladsous be reported, given this? Watch this site.


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