Two-timing in Haiti: more revelations about reporter fired after Flashpoints! story
December 30, 2005
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Two-timing in Haiti: more revelations about reporter fired after Flashpoints! story

Flashpoints! uncovers NED's campaign of disinformation.
How far will this go?

(Flashpoints! — Berkeley) This interview with NY Times Deputy Foreign Editor, Ethan Bonner, about Regine Alexandre was conducted soon after AP announced that they had severed ties with the free-lancer because she is on the payroll of the National Endowment for Democracy. The AP story stated in part that "AP employees must avoid any behavior or activities that create a conflict of interest or compromise our ability to report the news fairly and accurately," said Mike Silverman, the news agency's managing editor."

Alexandre has also been a stringer for the New York Times.

The AP story continued "Alexandre, who freelances for other news organizations, reported only one story for the AP - on the Dec. 24 killing of a U.N. peacekeeper in Haiti — after beginning her association with the NED. She first began reporting for the AP in 2004. After another freelance journalist raised questions this week about Alexandre and the NED, she denied she was an employee of the organization. She said she had made trips into the Haitian countryside to establish links between the NED and Haitian non-governmental organizations and was reimbursed for her expenses. When told later that the NED confirmed her employment, she continued to maintain she did not work for the organization."

The NED said it was unaware when it hired Alexandre that she worked for the AP or any other media organization.

Today's Flashpoints! interview with New York Times:

Dennis Bernstein: Hello, Mr. Bonnar, how are you doing today?

Ethan BonnerDeputy Foreign Editor, NY Times: I'm alright.

DB: You have any more information for me?

EB: No. I don't, I'm sorry. I see the AP story, though. Interesting.

DB: So, are you now investigating this further'

EB: I'm trying hard you know, I'm trying to reach Ginger Thompson. She's our key person on this, because she's the one who employed her. She's on vacation in Baltimore. We spoke today, she was going to Washington, she was trying to get the NED to speak to her, she was going to try to reach Ms. Alexandre, that's all I know. And when I saw this story, I tried to call her again and just got her voicemail and sent it to her by email. That's where I am.

DB: I see. And would you say that working with her again is on hold until you get to the bottom of this?

EB: Oh, sure. Yeah, that's for sure.

DB: So, you won't be using her until you know a lot more about this'you don't have any idea'so, you still might use her'?

EB: No, well, you know, we're investigating ' you know how that is. I mean, you want to say something on your program?

DB: I would certainly like to have an understanding of where you're going to go with this story now, because I understand that this is now four or five days, and it's, you know'

EB: Well, it's three and a half, but I'm with ya. I mean, it's only been 24 hours since I started on it, right?

DB: Well, but Mr'what was his name'

EB: who knows, but anyway'

DB: 'told me'Mr. Eusnick'

EB: yeah, well, he should have gotten it to us earlier, what can I tell you? I mean, I can't give you an answer. If in fact the NED says that she works for them, or is on contract with them, then we will not be able to continue to employ her. You know, we do it on a per diem basis anyway, you understand, she's not on a contract, or' DB: I understand'

EB: 'but in any case, we do not want our'those who do journalism for us to be in the employ of government-sponsored organizations. You know, so'

DB: could you just complete that thought? And why is that? Because you believe'

EB: Because we believe that that would be a conflict of interest for that reporter.

DB: okay. Well, I will hope to hear from you in terms of when you have a final decision'

EB: believe me, when I have it, 'll let you know it. 'm not avoiding you; I just don't have the answer yet.

Subsequent to the above interview we received a phone call from New York Times Deputy Foreign Editor, Ethan Bonnar.

He stated that a spokesperson for the NED confirmed that, in fact, Regine Alexandre is an employee of the NED. Bonnar asserted that it is his understanding that she was not an NED employee at the same time she was a stringer for the NYT.

When asked if she was paid indirectly - through another agency - Bonnar replied, "...that is a deeper question..." that he would have to look into it further:

DB: Given that she lied, is that not a serious problem?

EB: This does kinda smell bad to us. We've been trying to reach Ms. Alexandre but we've been having a difficult time. Maybe she's in hiding.

Bonnar further stated that Regine Alexandre has been freelancing for the NYT for some time going back into the 1990's. Additionally, he suggested that she may have "fed into" stories filed by Lydia Polgreen and David Gonzales. Bonnar said that the NYT is not yet where the AP is in announcing that it is severing all ties, but he said that if the Times confirmed that Alexandre was in fact lying regarding her work with the NED, then they would not be able to work with her.

Earlier Response from AP:

Jack Stokes The Associated Press Corporate Communications

"Regine Alexandre, a freelance journalist for The Associated Press in Haiti, says that at no time has she been an employee of the National Endowment of Democracy. Alexandre, who is also a development consultant in Haiti, says that at the request of NED she did meet briefly with some Haitian nongovernment organizations to provide them with contact information for NED, and was reimbursed by NED for travel expenses. She says she was unaware that NED had any U.S. government links. The AP is continuing to look into the matter."

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