Thanks to our communications team, we have been looking at what the 20 largest papers in the United States have had to say about the arrest warrant for President Bashir. The New York Times, LA Times, Boston Globe, and Philadelphia Inquirer generally shared the sentiment that the warrant was ultimately the right thing to do. As the Inquirer argued,
There are understandable fears that the arrest warrant might backfire and worsen matters. It could intensify Sudanese support for their leader, who would no longer feel motivated to negotiate a peace agreement with the Darfuris. Or it could make Bashir vulnerable and lead to his ouster by someone worse. But it’s hard to argue with the ICC’s decision. It did what every criminal court must do: consider the facts and issue the appropriate judgment. The ICC has said there is strong evidence that Bashir’s actions led to the rape and murder of thousands.
The LA Times struck a similar tone, writing, “Bashir calls the warrant further evidence of ‘colonialism.’ We call it rule of law.”
The Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, Miami Herald, and the Indianapolis Star were all in what we called the ‘supportive, but skeptical’ camp. In contrast, USA Today and the Wall Street Journal were highly critical of the decision. The Cleveland Plain Dealer (not in the top 20, but notable for the degree to which they get it wrong), opined of the warrant: “It gives Darfur rebels who started the ill-fated war an excuse to walk away from peace talks, and it imperils Sudan’s historic 2005 North-South power-sharing deal that ended a 19-year civil war.” Huh? The Plain Dealer buys in to the fantasy that the warrant is upsetting some imminent peace deal when it has long been clear that the government has not been serious about talks.
We have not seen editorials in the Atlanta Journal & Constitution, New York Post, New York Daily News, Newsday, the Chicago Tribune, Houston Chronicle, Detroit Free Press, Dallas News, Denver Post, or Minneapolis Star Tribune. Let us know if you see an editorial from them on this topic.
What can you do: Write a letter to the editor (Hello, Cleveland!), write an op-ed piece, or email the ombudsman of your paper asking them to pay attention to Sudan.
Eileen White Read contributed to this post.