The Washington Post posted an editorial last evening on Haiti’s elections (which is in today's print edition). Not surprisingly, the Post's editorial writers -- who in the recent past have praised the deceased Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, and presented a “positive view of the Colombian government’s human rights record” despite major human rights scandals, including killings of thousands of civilians by the Colombian military – support the conclusions of the OAS Expert Mission’s report, which we found to be methodologically and statistically flawed and not conclusive.
The Post’s support for the OAS’ conclusions comes despite the fact that the writers have apparently not read the report. The editorial states:
The OAS report is expected to be publicly released this week. Diplomats and international aid officials who have seen it describe it as a careful work, based on a review of nearly a fifth of the more than 1 million ballots cast.
Nevertheless, the Post was ready to wholeheartedly endorse the integrity of the mission and its findings:
The OAS was invited by the government to sort out the electoral mess, and its report is based on an extensive sampling of ballots and statistical analysis by a team of specialists from the United States, France, Canada, Jamaica, Spain and Chile. Mr. Preval, who so far has said he knows nothing of the report, should embrace it clearly, audibly and publicly for the sake of stability and Haiti's long-term chances of recovery. To do otherwise would be to invite mayhem.
Shouldn’t President Preval take the time to determine whether the report is credible before quickly “embracing” it?
Of course readers of this blog knew the report was publicly available – on our site – yesterday, hours before the Post went to print with its editorial. Nor did the Post amend the article to note that the report is publicly available.
The Post’s statement that “Preval …so far has said he knows nothing of the report” also appears to have passed its expiration date by the time the editorial was posted. Amy Wilentz wrote for CNN yesterday in an article marked as last updated at 18:20 GMT (1:20PM EST):
When I met this morning with Preval, he seemed to suggest that he would abide by a runoff among any two candidates. "There must be a loser," he said, "And we must offer him proof that he lost. I have no preferred candidate."
He already knew the results of the OAS report. Without a new president and government, Haiti essentially has no future, because without future guarantees, the international community has no one with whom it can work.
If this is any indication, the Washington Post editorial team seems to keep on top of Haiti news about as well as The Onion entertainment columnist Jackie Harvey stays current.