State Department Puts Obama Spin on Country Website Profiles

Tuesday, 21 Aug 2012 01:25 PM

By Patrick Hobin

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The State Department is raising eyebrows with its infusion of references to President Barack Obama into some run-of-the-mill country profiles on its website, Fox News reported.

The rewritten profiles are not rife with Obama references, but changes have been made to at least several country profiles, which now highlight Obama initiatives, Fox News reported, such as pursuing "strategic" talks with China and South Africa.

Jim Roberts of the Heritage Foundation, who first pointed out the changes, said the move was akin to the White House tacking on Obama’s accomplishments at the end of biographies of former presidents, which was criticized earlier this year.

"We're seeing the same sort of modus operandi," Roberts told Fox News. "It seems pretty shameless to me."

A new U.S. embassy-written overview of Brazil, for example, twice mentions Obama and cites his initiatives, according to Fox News.

"Education cooperation continues to thrive as President Obama's '100,000 Strong in the Americans' goal and Brazilian President Rousseff's 'Science without Borders' initiative create opportunities for new academic and research partnerships," the new profile reads in part.

State Department pages do mention policies of other presidents but at least one new version plays down contributions of a former president.

New profiles for sub-Sahara African countries ignore the important program started by President George W. Bush in 2004 to fight the AIDS epidemic in that region. A previous version gave him credit in helping to provide $1.8 billion for HIV and AIDS care and prevention, Fox News reported.

Roberts said wiping out Bush's efforts was "egregious."

"And does this set thing up for future revisions? The profiles should show an interest over many decades, as opposed to political immediacy," he told Fox News.

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