There was a damning banner headline article on the Huffington Post on Sunday, "Company Man," lambasting the president for new trade proposals that would give corporations new empowerment. It's sub-heading is "Leaked Documents: Obama Administration Seeking Radical New Political Powers for Corporations.” Clicking through to the article, the piece itself is title, “Obama Faces Backlash Over Corporate Powers in Secret Trade Deal.”
Among proposals described in the heavily-redacted documents is one that would allow foreign corporations to challenge laws in a private, international court. Currently, under the World Trade Organization, only nations themselves can challenge the laws of another country. It's a blunt, harsh and long article.
And only when you read into it do you finally get to this passage --
"These are not U.S. documents and we have no idea of their authorship or authenticity," a spokesman for the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative said. "Some elements in them are outdated, others totally inaccurate."
Gee, you'd think that that would be sort of important. To find out if these documents are actually real and who wrote them.
Mind you, they might be real. And they might be the official position of the Obama Administration. Or -- they could be fake, or real, but from a lower-level official stating low-level positions, not those of the president or his Administration. Or...well, or who knows? But wouldn't it be good to find out first. The following 10 paragraphs go into great detail about the problems with this "deal," and never once remind the reader that these might not actually be part of a proposal.
They might be. And they appear unfortunate at the surface. But not knowing seems so critical to the story, one would think.
Also worth noting is the last editor's note:"This story has been updated with a comment from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative."
Given that there's only one comment in the new, updated article, that would be --"These are not U.S. documents and we have no idea of their authorship or authenticity," a spokesman for the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative said. "Some elements in them are outdated, others totally inaccurate."
In other words, the first version of this article when it was published had left that comment out. It printed the full, damning article about the president and his Administration's trade deal -- and they didn't have the comment from the Office of U.S. Trade that there was a question about the authorship or authenticity of the document.
Again, the document might be totally valid and accurate in stating the White House opinion.
It just would be nice to find out first before saying it is.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
Feedspot Badge of Honor