Let’s say a major US-based international news magazine lands an exclusive interview with one of the biggest stars and Americans pop icons of the current day. Just hypothetically speaking of course. And since he’s also a person who’s known for getting political, they interview him about American politics (“I like Obama”), and even ask him if he plans to become a politician as some rumors have suggested (for the record, he says he won’t).
If you were the editor of said news magazine, would you publish the interview in the United States, or would you publish that interview in every other non-US international edition of the magazine? Apparently Newsweek’s editors have decided that the latter is a better choice.
So why is Newsweek hiding its exclusive interview with George Clooney from its American readers?
Go take a look at the table of contents for the current February 12 US-edition of Newseek and you won’t find it. But buried in Newsweek International (of which there are European, Asian, and Latin American editions) is the interview itself. Newsweek International has published excerpts on its website. What is it about the interview that Newsweek doesn’t think is suitable for its US audience?
Newsweek is clearly promoting the interview- they even sent out press release today advertising the Clooney interview in the international edition of Newsweek.
(Click here to read a copy of Newsweek’s press release sent to other press organizations as obtained by The Daily Background.)
So why is Newsweek trying to publicize the interview everywhere else except for the US, where presumably there would be the most interest in this type of thing? A bit of context: Newsweek has been caught numerous times with totally different cover stories on the US and international editions in cases where the international cover story is about Iraq or is otherwise unfavorable in some way towards the United States.
(Click here to see an example of Newsweek giving US audiences a cover about a celebrity photographer, while giving non-US audiences a cover story titled “Losing Afghanistan,” about increased violence in the middle-eastern country.)
In the brief excerpt of the interview from Newsweek International’s website, Clooney criticizes US policy under the Bush Administration, saying that we have acted like “big bullies,” and that he feels he has to “defend being an American.”
One of Clooney’s major issues is the ongoing genocide in Darfur. When Newsweek asked Clooney about the international and US failure to prevent the genocide, Clooney told the magazine “[in] our [personal] meetings with all of the heads of government they said to us, “Your policies in Iraq have made it impossible for you now to threaten anything.” We have no moral high ground. We have to look to anyone but ourselves to be able to broker some sort of a peace treaty. That is a very frustrating place to be.”
Clooney also complained that the Bush Administration has refused to join the International Criminal Court, a treaty-based governmental organization aimed at prosecuting war crimes and crimes against humanity. Said Clooney to Newsweek: “It is rather astonishing that the United States does not play ball with the ICC, considering our country was the beacon of the idea of an international criminal court. I really like what the ICC is doing.”
“[But] I do not know how effective it is. I suppose if everybody subscribed to it, it would be tremendously effective. But I do not think that is going to happen in the near future,” Clooney continued.
Although it is not well known outside of human rights circles, the Bush Administration has been caught several times bribing the governments of poorer countries around the world in order to prevent them from joining the ICC in recent years. In other cases, the Administration has been caught creating secret treaties with other countries that would prevent them from bringing a case against the United States in the court- in exchange for humanitarian aid.
The Clinton Administration had signed on to the International Criminal Court, and that signing was awaiting ratification by Congress, however the Bush Administration un-signed from the Court after September 11th and its invasion of Afghanistan.
“I just worry that we have lost our balls for reporting,” Clooney said in his Newsweek interview being kept from US audiences, perhaps ironically. “We constantly underestimate the intelligence and interest in the audience.” Apparently Newsweek didn’t think US audiences would be interested in hearing Clooney say that.