"Democracy Now" Gets Nuclear Ban Vote Totally Wrong

"Democracy Now" sadly continues its descent, which I've alluded to occasionally on twitter. To fully tell this story would require a very long and detailed piece, but the latest chapter of this is worth noting in more than a tweet as it happens. On this morning's headlines, Amy Goodman claimed: 

The United Nations on Thursday voted overwhelmingly to start talks aimed at abolishing all nuclear weapons. The landmark resolution will see the U.N. convene a conference next year to negotiate a legally binding instrument for worldwide nuclear prohibition. The vote was 123-38, with 16 countries abstaining. Voting against were all nine known nuclear states: China, Russia, France, Britain, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea as well as the United States. [Note, this is wording as broadcast, the transcript is minorly different.] 

In fact, China, India and Pakistan abstained. North Korea actually voted for the resolution. As even the AP correctly reported: "The United States, Russia, Israel, France and the United Kingdom were among the countries voting against the measure." See country by country breakdown results from International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons. See excellent map from ILPI. If you're still skeptical, see actual pic of vote board

As Ira Helfand -- past president of Physicians for Social Responsibility and currently co-president of that group’s global federation, the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War -- noted in "Nukes and the U.N.: a Historic Treaty to Ban Nuclear Weapons": 

The ‘No’ votes came from the nuclear weapons states, and U.S. allies in NATO, plus Japan, South Korea and Australia, which have treaty ties to the U.S., and consider themselves to be under the protection of the ‘U.S. nuclear umbrella.’

But four nuclear weapons states broke ranks, with China, India and Pakistan abstaining, and North Korea voting in favor of the treaty negotiations. In addition, the Netherlands defied intense pressure from the rest of NATO and abstained, as did Finland, which is not a member of NATO but has close ties with the alliance.

So, what actually happened is that the U.S. and various client states -- especially, but not limited to, NATO members -- voted against the nuclear weapons ban. China, India and Pakistan abstained -- not voted against as "Democracy Now" claimed. And North Korea actually voted for the resolution -- U.S. client state South Korea voted with the U.S. against. 

It would be interesting to see how a mistake like this could possibly happen. Icing on the cake is the way it was phrased, even above and beyond the outright falsehoods about China, India, Pakistan and North Korea. Goodman claimed "as well as the United States" -- as if the U.S. were an afterthought when it's obvious that the U.S. government has been leading the effort against the vote. As the German Press Agency reported: "Due to U.S. pressure, 27 of the 28 NATO member states voted against the resolution with the Netherlands abstaining."

Such errors are likely a consequences of a world view that seems to not full grasp, or perhaps not want to grasp or communicate, the threat the U.S. government poses to much of humanity in terms of the actual nature of U.S. foreign policy. 

6 responses
AS 4;45 PM Eastern Time the web version says "Not supporting the measure" rather than "voting against the measure". That is correct, I believe, since an abstention is not supporting the measure.
Thanks. That's not a serious correction under these circumstances.
Beyond dodging the damage they've already done, that "correction" is still quite incorrect. As I note in my piece: North Korea actually voted for the resolution.
Thank you for such incisive reporting. The NY Times has not even reported the story.
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