Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Continuing Saga of "Where in the World is Hillary?"

Apparently because there is so little coverage of our new Secretary of State, the State Dept. website has now put up an interactive map to let us know where in the world is Hillary. This week she is in the Middle East--Eqypt, Israel, Palestinian "territories", and then onto parts of Europe: Belgium, Switzerland and Turkey. The State Dept. site reports:

In Egypt, the Secretary will participate in the Gaza donor’s
conference being held in Sharm el-Sheikh. Leaders from around the world will assemble at the conference to address the immediate humanitarian concerns in the Gaza Strip. Addressing the pressing needs in Gaza is important to the United States. We also want to move forward the comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace that President Obama spoke about when he and Secretary Clinton named Senator Mitchell as Special Envoy for Middle East Peace. After visiting Egypt, Secretary Clinton will visit Israel and the Palestinian territories

But where is the news coverage of this trip? In the NY Times today, Thomas Friedman wrote about the super envoys and Hillary, first raising and then disputing the issue of whether she was not up to the job because she needed help from what Friedman called the "Super Subsecretaries of State".

The LA Times does not appear to be covering this trip. Hillary was last mentioned Wednesday, 2/25/09, again in an article about the appointment of another super envoy, Dennis Ross, for Iran.

At least the LA Examiner has the somewhat expansive AP story online. Not sure who reads the LA Examiner.

The Washington Post has a more substantive article discussing the Palestinian humanitarian crisis and difficulties with crafting anything with the new right wing Netanyahu government in Israel.

The Guardian, as you might expect, buries the mention of Hillary in a story about Tony Blair demanding the end to Israeli blockade of Gaza. Likewise, the BBC, which gave a fair amount of coverage to the Hillary Near East/China trip, only mentions her in a story about an Israeli warning over those pesky Gaza rockets.

All in all, still fairly minimal coverage for our chief diplomat as she ventures into the thicket. I have to wonder if the coverage is limited because it is Hillary or because newspapers are in such a decline these days. I seem to remember endless coverage of Condoleeza Rice's trips. Give Hillary equal billing!

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