Saturday, March 18, 2017

After UN Evicted ICP, Spokesman Dujarric Dropped the F-Bomb, Truth Over Chinese Duck

By Matthew Russell Lee, SeriesVideo, Reply

UNITED NATIONS, March 16 – The day after learning that Ban Ki-moon had OK-ed theUN's Cristina Gallach's eviction of Inner City Press, the next morning I wrote up some of the story, about the diplomatic immunity game, and the staff disgust with Gallach. The stories both showed up in Google News just before the noon briefing and then I sent in to ask about them.  Long time spokesman Stephane Dujarric seemed angrier than usual, telling me I should just ask the US Mission about the legal status people have, and refusing to answer about Gallach's number two deputy fleeing to Brussels. On this last one, he walked away from the podium and said, “Matthew that's a f*cking stupid question.”

   For the record, I said loudly. I was glad I'd turn my Periscope on. When the UNTV video went up, the sound cut off just before Dujarric dropped the F bomb, his second one on me. I synced it with the Periscope and put it online. He was going to love this one.

  It was the end of April and I headed down First Avenue to the Chinese mission for their End of Security Council presidency reception. They had duck and shrimp; several people looked surprised to see me. Once in this same large room I'd had a one on one interview with then-Ambassador Li Baodong, just before going on a Security Council trip to Sudan. There'd be no more of that.

A woman in the know told me “they” had used Ban Ki-moon in his last year to do this to me.

  Who do you mean by 'they,' I asked him.

The United Nations Correspondents Association, she said. You know, the other journalists.  The UN Correspondents Association? Could it really be that petty and that low? Another journalist, Chinese, called me over to ask, Why are you not in UNCA?

I explained to him as best as I could, that I'd been asked to take a truthful article off line, that big media used UNCA as a way to beat down smaller competitors, then go after then if they complained.

 Oh, he said. Now I get it.

I was alone, apart from the pack. There was nothing to do but embrace it and see where it would lead.