UN's Ban in DC Cedes Control to
Coverage, Of Closed Pools and White House Rules
Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of
Inner City Press at the UN: News Muse
NATIONS, March 9 -- From Haiti
to the White House, the UN's Ban Ki-moon is on the move this week. His
communications operation in New York is somewhat less dynamic. A
the weekend to the UN Spokesperson's office for information on media
Ban's meeting Tuesday with President Obama, only announced late Friday,
met with this reply:
I heard, we take our guidance from the White House, so you would need
up with the White House about press arrangements there. As I am not
with the delegation, I do not have the latest on logistics, so you
to follow up on trip logistics with.. the UN Information Center in
are following up on your other queries."
Beyond the statement on from where
takes its guidance, inquiry Monday with the White House revealed that
usually leaders who come to meet with Obama bring in their own press
contingent, in this case the UN has made no request for any journalists
the White House with Ban. (It is not yet clear if the UN is bringing
in-house UN Photo and UN Television.) On this basis, the White House
office's verdict was that "the pool is closed." Whether the new
spokesman of the US Mission to the UN may re-open the pool - "c'mon in,
the water's fine" -- is not yet known. He has at least
asked a colleague to try. At 4:32 p.m., it was said that "the pool is
pretty set," and that "no stakeout is expected since President and Sec.
General like to give remarks to pool." For next in this series, still
pre-White House, click here.
Ambassador Susan Rice, after taking three
questions Tuesday at noon at the Security Council stakeout, said she
had to run to a plane to get to the DC meeting.
A request to the UN's Media Accreditation and
Liaison Unit yielded that
none of the reporters traveling from Haiti in Bill Clinton's plane with
Ban and "a
group of potential investors" planned to stay in Washington to
visits to the White House, to the State Department and Capitol Hill.
UN's Ban in Haiti, an openness to media apparently not carried over to
A request to the UN Information Center
resulted in a
belated response that while nothing could or would be done about access
Ban's White House meeting, "there are two press availabilities
scheduled on Capitol Hill on Wednesday; one after the morning
the House Foreign Affairs Committee, then a second after the afternoon
with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The Committees'
spokespersons are handling the arrangements for those."
contrast, when for example the Greek foreign
traveled to Washington and the UN in New York, her office brought a
journalists in tow, and stopped
to answer questions, including from Inner City
Press. How can it be that the UN, with an extensive Department of
Information and Spokesperson's Office, claims it has no control over
reporters can have access to cover Ban's meetings with those he "takes
guidance" from? We will be endeavoring to cover these meetings
Watch this site.
Footnote: It appears that in Haiti
Ban did not, unlike the leader of
the Security Council's trip Jorge Urbina who has said he
will, raise the issue of the 107 UN Peacekeepers repatriated to Sri
Lanka from Haiti for sexual abuse. But the sexual crimes version of
the TV show
Law and Order came and filmed at the UN on March 7, as the UN's Deputy
Spokesperson Marie Okabe described in great detail on Monday.
She named the
actors and the characters they
play, where they filmed in the UN and that the results will be shown on
on March 24 -- at 10 p.m. eastern. It sounded like an advertisement.
it will be good for the UN, to get it the publicity it seems to crave.
then make no provision for UN correspondents to be able to cover Ban's
Click here for Inner City
Press' Feb 26 UN debate
12 debate on Sri Lanka http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/17772?in=11:33&out=32:56
Click here for Inner City Press' Jan.
16, 2009 debate about Gaza
Click here for Inner City Press'
review-of-2008 UN Top Ten debate
Click here for Inner
City Press' December 24 debate on UN budget, Niger
Click here from Inner City Press'
December 12 debate on UN double standards
Click here for Inner
City Press' November 25 debate on Somalia, politics
Click here for Inner City
Press Nov. 7 debate on the war in Congo
Watch this site, and this Oct. 2 debate, on
UN, bailout, MDGs
and this October 17 debate, on
Security Council and Obama and the UN.
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