ABC’s This Week Fawns Over Samantha Power During Visit To Rwanda

On the heels of The Washington Post Magazine’s glowing profile of U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power, ABC’s Terry Moran gushed over the Democrat during her recent visit to Rwanda to pay respects to the genocide that happened there 20 years ago.

The segment aired during This Week with George Stephanopoulos on Sunday April 13 and Stephanopoulos began the segment by beaming how “As a journalist, Samantha Power uncovered how America and the U.N. failed in Rwanda. Now, as America's U.N. Ambassador she was in Africa this week to make sure that doesn't happen again. ABC's chief foreign correspondent Terry Moran traveled with her.” [See video below.]

Moran then hyped how Power “won the Pulitzer Prize ten years ago for her book "A Problem From Hell" a blistering indictment of U.S. inaction in the face of the Rwandan genocide and other twentieth century atrocities. Now, she's on the inside, a key policymaker and still an advocate.”

Oddly enough, while promoting Power’s book, Moran ignored how at the time the ambassador wrote:

In Rwanda, around the same time, some 800,000 Tutsi and opposition Hutu were exterminated in the swiftest killing spree of the twentieth century. Again, the United States failed to intervene. This time U.S. policy-makers avoided labeling events "genocide" and spearheaded the withdrawal of UN peacekeepers stationed in Rwanda who might have stopped the massacres underway.

Whatever America's commitment to Holocaust remembrance (embodied in the presence of the Holocaust Museum on the Mall in Washington, D.C.), the United States has never intervened to stop genocide.

Instead of noting Power’s damning criticism of the Clinton administration’s handling of the Rwandan genocide, Moran chose instead to cheerlead and glorified how her “Trip this weekend was not just about remembering a genocide, she was trying to stop one from happening.

In fact, nowhere in the Power puff piece did Moran or host Stephanopoulos bother to mention that it was the administration of Democrat Bill Clinton that was in power during the Rwandan genocide or that the United Nations was on the ground when 800,000 people were murdered. Instead, Moran did his best to promote the UN’s efforts:

Help is on the way. On Thursday back in New York, Ambassador Power joined a unanimous U.N. Security Council vote to send 12,000 peacekeepers to the Central Africa Republic. Maybe it's a sign that the world learned from what happened in Rwanda. Learned that the problem from hell can and must be confronted.

After Stephanopoulos pushed Power that even more action might be needed in Africa, the ABC host lauded at how “in many ways, in your previous life, you were the ultimate outsider. And your book is a classic example of speaking truth to power. What has been being on the inside taught you about power and its limits?”

Rather than provide any context to the U.S. involvement in the Rwandan genocide, ABC’s This Week, including Stephanopoulos who actually worked for President Clinton, ignored that it was in fact a Democrat-led administration, not just the United States that failed to stop the genocide. Instead, Moran and Stephanopoulos provided Powers a platform to promote her work in Rwanda as they eagerly cheered her on throughout the entire segment.

See relevant transcript below.


ABC

This Week with George Stephanopoulos

April 13, 2014  

10:49 a.m. Eastern

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: 20 years after the genocide in Rwanda, another horror has been unleashed in the Central Africa Republic. As a journalist, Samantha Power uncovered how America and the U.N. failed in Rwanda. Now, as America's U.N. Ambassador she was in Africa this week to make sure that doesn't happen again. ABC's chief foreign correspondent Terry Moran traveled with her.

TERRY MORAN: In a stadium in Rwanda they held a memorial service this week and it climaxed with a striking moment an image of the genocide that happened here 20 years ago. The crowd hushed. They remembered. They remembered the darkness that came down on this land. A frenzy of slaughter, 800,000 people. Nearly all members of the Tutsi ethnic group. Men, women and children killed in only 100 days, that's seven murders every minute. By members of the Hutu group who were their neighbors, colleagues, even their relatives. 20 years later, the horror is still so fresh for so many survivors that dozens of them broke down during the memorial. In the stands, representing the United States, Samantha Power, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. We caught up with her in Rwanda. Why was it important for you to come here?

SAMANTHA POWER: President Obama wanted us to come back and pay our respects, and show that even if it's 20 years later, this genocide is something that stays with us.

MORAN: Power won the Pulitzer Prize ten years ago for her book "A problem From Hell" a blistering indictment of U.S. inaction in the face of the Rwandan genocide and other twentieth century atrocities. Now, she's on the inside, a key policymaker and still an advocate.

POWERS: It matters to those people that the world is coming and saying that we’re still with them. Because that's the first taunt of the perpetrator is people will forget, they’ll never believe you.  

MORAN: But Power's trip this weekend was not just about remembering a genocide, she was trying to stop one from happening. We flew with her to the central Africa republic where madness has been unleashed. Muslims and Christians killing each other in untold numbers and the U.N. warning of the risk of genocide. 100,000 people huddled in squalor at the airport. Terrified and hungry.

POWER: As you can see, this is like nothing else. The only way they feel safe is to literally be bumping up against the runway where the international community can see them.

MORAN: Help is on the way. On Thursday back in New York, Ambassador Power joined a unanimous U.N. Security Council vote to send 12,000 peacekeepers to the Central Africa Republic. Maybe it's a sign that the world learned from what happened in Rwanda. Learned that the problem from hell can and must be confronted.

POWER: There's still depravity that lies in the human heart and gets unleashed that is pretty hard to put back in the box.

MORAN: For "This Week," I'm Terry Moran, ABC News, in Kigali, Rwanda.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And Ambassador Powers is back with us now. Are you confident that this new peacekeeping force going to the Central African Republic will prevent a genocide?

POWER: Well the peacekeeping force is what we make it. Right now, we have to go door to door in the international community and get countries to commit troops and police. President Obama has made $100 million available in order to lift and equip those troops--

STEPHANOPOULOS: Is that hard to do if we don't commit troops ourselves?

POWER: No, I think the world recognizes that the United States does more than its fair share in terms of keeping international peace and security and that we bring our unique capabilities to bare in flying troops in from other countries who are willing to go.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And, you know, many argued that we have a moral duty on humanitarian grounds to intervene. But what do you say to those who want more? They say this may be terribly sad, but we should act only when U.S. national security is at stake.

POWER: Well take the Central Africa Republic. You both have the devastating, heartbreaking, systematic targeting now of the Muslim population. You also have retaliatory attacks against Christians. That is just so painful to see these people suffer. To see parents who’ve had their children literally killed before their very eyes. I met a man who had been—I met a widow of a man who had been doused in gasoline and set on fire in front of her. That matters. And I think you can appeal to the heart strings of the American people who are extremely generous very empathetic and have proven that time and again. But on the other side, this is a population that can be radicalized. Most of the Muslim population now in the Central African Republic has been displaced. They’re all gathered together and we know how dangerous that can be as unsavory elements get in and try and exploit that. So they’re both interests, humanitarian and national security.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You know, in many ways, in your previous life, you were the ultimate outsider. And your book is a classic example of speaking truth to power. What has been being on the inside taught you about power and its limits?

POWER: Well, in order to do the book, I did interview hundreds of people who are on the inside. So I tried to situate policymakers and how they were. And I think it's a fairly accurate portrayal of what it's like on the inside. I will say you never can give up inside. Sometimes, for instance now with Ukraine and Syria and so many of the crises that are on our doorstep. Issues like the Central African Republic, the temptation may be by some, we can wait on that. But in fact if you push, and with the president's leadership and his commitment to dealing with these issues we're able to elevate even when we have all these other things going on.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Have we learned the lessons from Rwanda?

POWER: I think we have come a long way. We can’t affect again people’s desire it seems to want to kill one another on ethnic, religious or other grounds. But we're much quicker and we have learned the lesson that you can't make the choice one between doing nothing on the one hand and sending U.S. Marines on the other. There’s lot’s in between and we’re doing all of that in Central African Republic.

STEPHANOPOULOUS: Ambassador Power, thanks very much for your time this morning.

POWER: Thank you, George.

Jeffrey Meyer
Jeffrey Meyer
Jeffrey Meyer is a News Analyst at the Media Research Center.