CNN's Amanpour Tweets Birthday Wish to Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe; Compares Dictator to Pope Benedict XVI in Video
Update (15:50 EST, Feb. 22): Twitchy reports Amanpour deleted the tweet and subsequently insisted her birthday wish was ironic.
"[W]hat do you get for the serial human rights abuser who has everything?" the folks at Twitchy snarked today reacting to this tweet by CNN anchor Christiane Amanpour: "Happy Birthday, President Mugabe: http://on.cnn.com/VQ4kTK #Zimbabwe"
But wait, it gets better. The link in the tweet takes viewers to a short video [embedded below the page break] narrated by the CNN anchor, which opens with a strange comparison to Pope Benedict XVI:
Next week, of course, Pope Benedict will step down after eights on the throne of St. Peter. But imagine a world leader four years older than the pope who's been power for 33 years and shows no sign of calling it quits.
While Amanpour went on to note Zimbabwe "is still a blighted landscape for the economy and of course for human rights," she added that "Mugabe won a fifth term back in 2009" and "showed no signs of backing off or backing down when I spoke to him then."
Of course, as the State Department has noted, recent elections in Mugabe's reign have not been free and fair, and the power-sharing arrangement brokered in 2008 has done little to prevent the harassment of opposition parties by Mugabe's thugs in the government:
Although the constitution allows for multiple parties, ZANU-PF, through the use of government and paramilitary forces, continued to intimidate and commit abuses against opposition party members and supporters and obstructed their activities. The Joint Operation Command, a group of senior security and civilian authorities, maintained control of the security forces and often used them to repress opposition to ZANU-PF.
Amanpour's brief video included a clip from 2009, where she ludicrously asked Mugabe, "Why is it so difficult to leave power?"
Uh, because it's kind of hard to give up the wealth and power that a kleptocratic dictatorship afford you, that's why, Christiane.