NY Times 'Reporter' Sengupta Bats Down Every Nikki Haley Criticism of United Nations

April 1st, 2017 8:31 PM

On Thursday New York Times reporter Somini Sengupta “reported” on United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley’s criticizing the United Nations in a speech to that international body, in “American Envoy Calls U.N. Human Rights Council ‘Corrupt.’” The text box: “Praising the U.S. and assailing a panel without evidence.” It’s less a news report than a line-by-line hostile fact-check.

The American envoy to the United Nations, Nikki R. Haley, described the United States on Wednesday as the “moral conscience” of the world, and she dismissed the United Nations Human Rights Council as “so corrupt” without offering evidence.

This is objective news?

She insisted that American taxpayers should get value for the money they contribute to the United Nations. She said nothing about whether the United States would help head off a potential humanitarian disaster from famine that the United Nations has warned is looming over 20 million people abroad.


She briefly channeled her boss, President Trump, by describing the United Nations as “basically a club” that needed to be disrupted.


Exactly how Ms. Haley proposes to disrupt the world body is not clear, beyond slashing American financial support, as Mr. Trump signaled with his budget outline. She declined to say how deep those cuts would turn out to be, saying she was in discussions with members of Congress who ultimately control the purse strings.


In her remarks on Wednesday, Ms. Haley, a former governor of South Carolina, relied on familiar colloquial expressions and offered few specifics about the many foreign policy challenges facing the administration.

Like clockwork, every Haley criticism of the United Nations was addressed by a defense from the reporter herself.

She cited what she called a “ridiculously biased report attacking Israel,” and criticized the Security Council for holding monthly meetings about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. (The council also discusses Yemen every month and Syria three times a month.)

Ms. Haley demurred when asked about proposals to expand the Security Council and about how to achieve peace in Syria, except to say that the country’s president, Bashar al-Assad, was “a big hindrance.”


She used her address to deliver a pointed attack on the United Nations Human Rights Council, the main international body meant to promote and defend human rights.

“I mean, the Human Rights Council is so corrupt,” she said, adding that it includes “bad actors” who use it to protect themselves.

Several countries with poor human rights records, including China and Saudi Arabia, have indeed won seats on the council. But the United States has itself used its seat to forcefully defend its allies, including Saudi Arabia, which has been accused of abuses in the war in Yemen.

The pro-Israel media-watchers at CAMERA pondered Sengupta’s piece as a steep and dangerous slide into subjectivity:

But a story published in The Times yesterday nonetheless seems new and notable, in that the newspaper now appears to have given up even the pretense of objective news reporting. The article, written by the reporter Somini Sengupta, punctuates straightforward reporting of a recent speech by US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley with Sengupta's own snark and sarcasm. The ambassador’s comments were thus heavily filtered through the reporter’s negative opinion of them.

From the start of the article, it was apparent that Haley's comments were not merely to be reported, but also discredited. The very first sentence stated that the ambassador "dismissed the United Nations Human Rights Council as 'so corrupt' without offering evidence," the opening sentence noted.

It is not clear whether it's a desire to weigh in on domestic politics, disdain for Israel, or something else that prompted the newspaper to make a point of announcing that no evidence was given. What is clear is that this isn't standard practice at the newspaper.


Just last week, the U.S. State Department expressed its "unequivocal opposition" to the council’s standing agenda on Israel. Samantha Power, the Obama administration's UN ambassador, had likewise slammed the Human Rights Council's bias and argued that such misconduct "undermines the legitimacy of the United Nations itself." Even UN Secretaries General have criticized the Human Rights Council for its anti-Israel slant. 

So for a seasoned New York Times reporter to then suggest that Ms. Haley had "no evidence" to call the Council corrupt is disingenuous. And still, this reference to lack of evidence even appeared in the newspaper's headline, before it was eventually changed.

The New York Times interjections didn't stop there. When the reporter later in the piece detailed Haley's criticism of the UN, she again made a point of chiming in to cast doubt on the ambassador's credibility. After the article noted that Haley "criticized the Security Council for holding monthly meetings about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict," it immediately followed with a parenthetical counterpoint: "The council also discusses Yemen every month and Syria three times a month."

Sengupta followed up on Saturday with “U.N. Envoy Draws From Playbook of an Aide Steeped in Conservatism.” She dialed back the rebuttals but the labeling still made clear that the American diplomats at the U.N. represent a “conservative” invasion.

The American ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki R. Haley, has candidly described herself as a newcomer to the world of international diplomacy.

For guidance, she has relied, in part, on an important adviser plucked from the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank: Steven Groves.

Sengupta just could not let go of Haley’s “so corrupt” criticism of her beloved United Nations.

He has argued for the United States to “sever relations” with the United Nations Human Rights Council (Ms. Haley this week called the council “so corrupt”), and has outlined steps that the Trump administration could take to pull out of the Paris climate agreement (Ms. Haley has said she worried about international commitments that could hurt American business)....Other Heritage Foundation priorities have already found their way into the ambassador’s own. She dismissed the Human Rights Council as “so corrupt,” echoing criticism from Heritage. And she invited the think tank to join her delegation to the annual Commission on the Status of Women. Whether she will withdraw American funding for the United Nations' population agency, which Heritage has pressed for, remains to be seen.