Inner City Press

Inner City Press -- Investigative Reporting From the United Nations to Wall Street to the Inner City

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis

In Other Media-eg New Statesman, AJE, FP, Georgia, NYT Azerbaijan, CSM Click here to contact us     .


Follow us on TWITTER

Home -

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis


(FP Twitterati 100, 2013)

ICP on YouTube
Sept 24, 2013

UN: Sri Lanka


FOIA Finds  

Google, Asked at UN About Censorship, Moved to Censor the Questioner, Sources Say, Blaming UN - Update - Editorial

Support this work by buying this book

Click on cover for secure site orders

also includes "Toxic Credit in the Global Inner City"




Bank Beat

Freedom of Information

How to Contact Us

After UNCA Thanks Hillary & Lobs Softball, Tradition Claim Debunked

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 11, more here -- That the UN is a backwater is one thing -- but a laughing stock of softball questions from pre-screened correspondents is another. It is a new lown. Here is the transcript:

UNCA via Turkish TV: Madam Secretary, on behalf of the U.N. correspondents association, thank you very much for your remarks and it's wonderful to see you here again.

Madam Secretary, why did you opt out using two devices at the time? Obviously, if this hadn't come out, it probably would not have been an issue. And my second follow up question is, if you are a man today, would all this fuss be made?

  While UNCA after this continues to insist it is a tradition it gets set-aside first question at the stakeout where Hillary Clinton spoke, that is false, as shown by even a cursory search of

  Given that even for UN Ambassadors Samantha Power and before her Susan Rice there has been NO "tradition" of first questions at the stakeout set aside for UNCA why was it done in this case, seemingly with the US Mission to the UN?

  UNCA has brought the UN press corps to a new low - despite its utility to Ban Ki-moon as a reliable source of softball questions, a change is needed. We'll have more on this.

Responding to questions about how this set-aside question came about, UNCA president Giampaolo Pioli -- an Italian journalist who has never asked the UN about either Central African Republic or Burundi but is now flying with the UN Security Council to both -- and his vice president claimed to Al Kamen and Colby Itzkowit of “In the Loop” that it is tradition that UNCA gets the first question.

   As to the stakeout where Hillary Clinton spoke on Tuesday, this is not true, as a simple review of past stakeouts on UNTV's website shows.

   The only “tradition” at issue here is one of servility.

  Even as to the sit-down UN Press Briefing Room, where Hillary Clinton did NOT appear, UNCA claim for set-aside first questions is contested; when Chad was the president of the Security Council in December 2014, for example, UNCA did not get the first question. Often UNCA doesn't sent anyone to press conference, for example one on Tuesday about women in legislatures.

   So why did this UNCA get the first question to Hillary Clinton and why was what was asked (about if Hillary Clinton were a man the email / FOIA controversy not arising) asked?

   UNCA performs this softball question function for Ban Ki-moon, routinely. In fact, UNCA has shown itself willing to ask for the expulsion of the investigative Press which was critical of Ban (and UNCA) on inaction on Sri Lanka and other issues.

   At the stakeout on Tuesday, Clinton pointed to give the first question to UNCA, saying “Nick” is choosing the questions. But it was not Nick seen negotiating the question with UNCA. We'll have more on this.

In disclosure, when UNCA's Pioli ordered Inner City Press to take off the Internet its reporting on Sri Lanka and Inner City Press refused, instead offering to publish any letter to the editor Pioli would submit, UNCA board members tried to get Inner City Press expelled not only from UNCA but the UN.

  The latter was exposed, including using the US Freedom of Information Act. When Inner City Press' elected term on the UNCA board expired, Inner City Press quit the group and co-founded the new Free UN Coalition for Access. The UN shouldn't be an easy venue for softball questions.


Share |

* * *

These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for Sept 26, 2011 New Yorker on Inner City Press at UN

Click for re Libya, Sri Lanka, UN Corruption

Feedback: Editorial [at]

UN Office: S-303, UN, NY 10017 USA

Reporter's mobile (and weekends): 718-716-3540

  Search  Search WWW (censored?)

Other, earlier Inner City Press are listed here, and some are available in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.

            Copyright 2006-2015 Inner City Press, Inc. To request reprint or other permission, e-contact Editorial [at]