Googling Hacks

by Henry Farrell on December 14, 2004

“Jefferson Morley”: of the Washington Post tells us that:

bq. There was noticeable reticence to pursue certain leads in the story. Annan is the most recognizable figure to catch heat for the scandal that occurred on his watch. But according to the Duelfer report, former French Interior Minister turned businessman, Charles Pascua, received oil vouchers from the Hussein regime that enabled him to sell more than 10 million barrels of oil on the international market. If you enter Pascua’s name in the French language version of Google News, the search engine is unable to find a single mention of Pascua’s name in the French press in the last 30 days.

If he spelled “Charles Pasqua’s name correctly”: he’d find 101 of them (although in fairness, his main point stands – I could only find 2 that mentioned Pasqua in connection with the UN shenanigans).



Andrew Boucher 12.14.04 at 3:54 pm

That’s because it’s old news – the story has been known for quite some time.


P O'Neill 12.14.04 at 3:56 pm

Hilarious. A classic of half-assed hackery. But also in fairness, Pasqua seems to get embroiled in so many scandals that perhaps the French journalists just haven’t gotten around to this one yet. There’s still a bunch of Angola stuff to sort out.


Phersu 12.14.04 at 4:19 pm

Indeed, there are so many affairs and scandals surrounding Pasqua that the Oil for Food scandal is lost in the mass.

Pasqua’s involvement was mentioned last week on Radio-France Internationale but it is indeed rare.

Charles Pasqua has just been reelected as Senator of Hauts-de-Seine. He was indicted by the Cour de Justice de la République a few days later.


roger 12.14.04 at 4:24 pm

The scandal here isn’t about Pasqua — god knows there are enough of them — but about Morley. Isn’t he the man at the wp who monitors the foreign press? Usually he is pretty good — so this is just sad. Got one of his assistants to check this part of the story or something, perhaps.
Still, that’s pretty striking.


eszter 12.14.04 at 5:58 pm

Ouch. Good job, Henry.


chris waigl 12.14.04 at 10:15 pm

It has gone through the French press. But, as other commenters have said, absolutely no one here is surprised that it’s Mr Pasqua’s name (along with those of a few Front National people) that has come up. He’s accused of illegal party funding and arms smuggling (since 2001), and corruption and receiving bribes (since 10/2004). Many are keeping their fingers crossed that he’ll actually stand trial.

If it was nearly any other politician you could expect the outcry to be a bit louder.

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