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In a telling moment at a United Nations press conference Wednesday, Secretary-General Kofi Annan lost his temper â hurling insults at a widely respected senior member of the U.N. press corps. Beyond the who-what-when-where-how of this episode, the big question is: Why?
The broad answer is that the U.N. Secretariat, despite all the recent talk of reform, evidently remains a place of secrecy and privilege, run by high officials who donât mind talking about their global goals and grand legacies, but find it highly irritating to be held to normal standards of good governance or subjected to anything resembling the workings of a free press. And in this particular case, given the ferocity of Annanâs reaction, one has to wonder if there is even more to it.
The occasion was Annanâs year-end press conference, at which Annan had just described his own job, and by extension himself, as âperhaps chief diplomat of the world.â It is a role, he said, that requires âa thick skinâ and âa sense of humor.â But Annan displayed neither when James Bone of the London Times began asking questions referring to two of the scandals that continue to bedevil the secretary-general: the saga of Oil-for-Food, and the cameo of a Mercedes-Benz allegedly bought and shipped under false use of Kofi Annanâs name and U.N. status by his son, Kojo Annan.
Instead of answering Bone, Annan cut him off, first calling him âcheeky,â and then interrupting him again to say: âHold on. Listen, James Bone. You have been behaving like an overgrown schoolboy in this room for many, many months and years. You are an embarrassment to your colleagues and to your profession. Please stop misbehaving, and please letâs move on to a more serious subject.â
Imagine the massive hissey fits were GW Bush to treat his inquiring press in this manner. Press panties would all be atwist. Newspaper essays written and bloviation in the wind in all the media outlets.
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What ever happened to that dried up old Democrat Rat, she's another one that belongs on "The List" with Gore, Ann Richards, Kerry, Daschle, Hollywood, Dan Rather, Soros, "The Uncle Teddy Gang' ect.
Bush mopped the floor with them.