Taylor's Propaganda Site: Stretching the Truth to Make a Point

By Theodore T. Hodge

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

April 17, 2003

I read with amazement and disbelief an article carried by the website AllaboutLiberia.com under the sensational title: "Where There's Smoke, There's Bound to be Fire - Perspective Turns Mohammed Kromah Mouthpiece", by one L. Dora Podge - real or pseudo. Apparently, this was in response to an article I had written recently and posted on the website, The Perspective, titled: "ULAA President under Fire...Remains Silent".

How anyone reading the article written by me could jump to these careless and erroneous conclusions as did Ms. Podge, is mind boggling, to say the least. It is unfortunate that a writer would intentionally distort and misrepresent what another has written only to score cheap political points.

I usually refer to the website AllaboutLiberia.com as Taylor's propaganda machine - at least it does live up to its undistinguished reputation. How such an article as Ms. Podge's could justifiably be used as a rejoinder to what I wrote is a puzzle. One wonders if any editorial standards are ever observed.

A few corrections are necessary to set the record straight - and the reading public is urged to read both articles and judge for themselves. First of all, for the record, Mr. Kromah did not "retain The Perspective as a public relations laundryman", whatever that means. The Perspective is a reputable magazine recognized internationally as outstanding among its peers.

Personally, I am not a "hired hand" or "public relations man". This is an old charge to which I have publicly addressed myself in the past. It has obviously become necessary to reiterate that. The cheap propagandists in Monrovia referred to me as a PR person for Mrs. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf; they were wrong. They referred to me as a PR man for Cllr. Charles W. Brumskine; again they were wrong. Now, I am being referred to as Kromah's PR man. Nothing could be further from the truth. And how these baseless charges take form defies logic.

Ms. Podge refers to Mr. Kromah as my boss. Again, how she derives at such a conclusion is inexplicable. For the record, I also take the opportunity to state in this public forum that Mr. Mohammed Kromah is not or has never been my boss. As a matter of fact, we have never worked together. It is unfortunate that such lies are fed to your reading public. At the time Mr. Kromah won the election to become President of ULAA, I was Chairman of a local Liberian association, and led a delegation to the convention in that capacity. I have since stepped down from that position and hold no official position in ULAA.

Ms. Podge points out correctly that certain serious charges were levied against Mr. Kromah, including meeting with and pledging support to LURD, to which he remained silent. However, she claims that we were hired to restore Mr. Kromah's image, "to remove his LURD stigma".

But this is what I wrote: "...However, it has been over two weeks since reading these divisive and disturbing comments. I find the silence from Mr. Kromah quite stunning and discouraging. By now, I had expected a full, official response from his office clarifying the issues raised. That he has not done so, I find to be a tactical error." It seems Ms. Podge and I are raising the same issues, yet she tactfully draws a conclusion not supported by the facts.

Ms. Podge further writes: "Hodge would have us believe that Kromah, LURD representatives and'three other humanitarian agencies in the sub-region' alone have the solution to Liberia's myriad political woes..." Again, Ms. Podge is being intentionally misleading. I quoted one Nvasekie Conneh who relayed a conversation he had had with Mr. Kromah. The statement was identified as a direct quotation from Mr. Kromah; it had nothing to do with my opinion.

Ms. Podge wants her readers to believe that the membership of ULAA is concerned and troubled about Mr. Kromah's misdeeds. She could be right, but she chose a deliberate lie to support that assertion. She quotes Mr. Emmanuel Wettee, the Doyen of the National Leadership Council of ULAA, who called for a "special meeting of the union". But Mr. Wettee's invitation to a meeting was in specific reference to "internal" issues. To be exact, Mr. Wettee called the meeting "to discuss the current internal issues facing the union. If a special meeting is not held in a relatively short period of time to discuss and address the current internal problems facing the Union, the Union will not be in a position to fully function as an institution...", Mr. Wettee wrote.

I called Mr. Wettee and asked whether this urgent meeting was called to discuss Mr. Kromah's alleged dealings with LURD, the rebel group. He said, no. He said the meeting was called to discuss issues of conflict in two local chapters, Washington, DC and Baltimore. That is why he specifically used the word "internal" twice. If he had been calling to deal with the issue of LURD that would be referred to as an "external" matter.

So, I think Ms. Podge seized an opportunity to stretch the truth. I hope this sets the record straight. Again, I agree that Mr. Kromah needs to publicly address this issue of alliance with LURD. My own position regarding LURD is also a matter of public record. Please see "Debunking the Mystery of' LURD", carried by The Perspective recently.