Who needs defusing?
Iran -- or
February 7, 2005
TIME magazine has a quick article about Iran entitled "Can
the U.S. Defuse Iran?". After
reading the article, I thought it would be a fun exercise
in the analysis of misinformation in the US media. In total, I
counted seven major lies out of the nine paragraphs. Besides the
author's name and the date of the article, almost everything else
the article was misleading, false, a half-truth, or spin. If you
want to know why most Americans still think that WMDs have been
found in Iraq, it's because of this sort of reporting.
So, here we go:
LIE 1: Headline "Can the U.S. Defuse Iran?"
the headline's use of the word "Defuse" in the headline.
Bombs are "defused". By using the "defuse" word,
the headline is suggesting that Iran is a danger. The headline
is trying to shape the reader's attitudes towards Iran before they
even read the article, by implying that Iran is a bomb which needs
to be "defused."
LIE 2: "As it drags out the third round of negotiations
with Britain, France and Germany with no hint of a resolution,
Iran is doing little to build confidence in its good intentions."
FACT: This is an over lie. Rather than "dragging out" the
negotiations, Iran has requested that the EU speed up the negotiations,
and the EU has refused. See: here.
Secondly, the fact that Iran has allowed unfettered inspections
and has signed the Additional Protocol and has agreed to temporarily
suspend enrichment are all quite MAJOR evidence of good will --
Iran was under no obligation to do any of that. And what has Iran
received in return, except more demands and threats?
LIE 3: "The IAEA has discovered that despite its agreement
to temporarily suspend all activities related to uranium enrichment,
Iran was continuing to do maintenance work on a uranium-enrichment
plant in southern Iran."
FACT: Routine maintenance which did not violate the pledge to
temporarily suspend enrichment. Note also how TIME uses the word "discovered" --
as if it was a secret!
So what else has the IAEA "discovered"?
Well, the Director General of the IAEA has said that the IAEA has
received "good cooperation" from Iran and has found no
evidence of a nuclear weapons program, something TIME seems eager
to ignore. (See here)
LIE 4:"The Iranians have allegedly finished designing a
prototype of a detonator for a nuclear bomb, according to an opposition
group based in Paris."
FACT: Gee, I wonder why TIME didn't see fit to name this "opposition
group" -- the MEK, classified as a Marxist-Islamist terrorist
organization by even the US itself. But I guess telling all of
that information to the readers would have undercut TIME's attempt
to demonize Iran.
LIE 5:"[Iranians] insist that they have a sovereign right
to enrich uranium for peaceful, civilian purposes."
FACT: The right to enrich uranium is not something that only
the Iranians "insist" upon -- it is an established principle
of international law and a fundamental part of the Non-Proliferation
Treaty. If Iran doesn't have that right, then no other nation does
LIE 6: "Taking their cue from North Korea, the Iranians
have seen 'that you can extend a negotiating process and still
build nukes,' says Bruno Tertrais, senior research fellow
at the Foundation for Strategic Research in Paris."
FACT: Note how TIME uses the status of some researcher to bolster
the claim that Iran is secretly building nukes, even though the
IAEA has repeatedly said it has no such evidence (something which
TIME refuses to mention.) This is a fallacy known as "Appeal
to Authority" -- you're supposed to believe it just because
someone who is supposedly an expert says so.
But have you ever
heard of this Bruno guy before? Do you know if he is trustworthy?
Or if TIME is really quoting him accurately? Is Bruno stating
a fact, or merely his own opinion?
LIE 7: "Many experts question whether military strikes could
be assured of taking out all the country's dispersed, well-hidden
Intelligence on Iran's programs is inadequate..."
FACT: Note how on one hand TIME assumes that "well-hidden" nuclear
sites exist in Iran, and on the other hand admits that the intelligence on
Iran is inadequate. So, TIME, if the sites are so well-hidden, how do you know
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