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Bad journalism at its best
A report on Iran's "threat" to Europe and Israel

October 6, 2004

Once in a while you hear a piece of news [Persian / English] that makes you scratch your head! You get caught up on the central point. And then you can't help but think that at the end of the day, and as far as fairness goes, the giant media machines in Western democracies are not too different than state-controlled Third World media outlets, even those in totalitarian Islamic Republic. You can see clearly that they just focus on a certain message to drive their particular political goals, with slogans and talking points, instead of relevant facts.

I give you an example that has just become the feather that breaks the back of my patience with Western media! Before I proceed, I have to establish that I am by no stretch of imagination a fan of the IRI or its supposed nuclear ambitions. So, don't waste your precious Internet bandwidth sending me your hate mails for defending the Mullahs, because I am not defending them!

Today I read a piece of news on the BBC Persian news website by a fellow named David Bamford. The piece is built around a claim by the powerful former president, Hashemi Rafsanjani, that Iran's armed forces have missiles that can now reach targets 2,000 kilometers away. The rest of the story is filled with standard stereotypical talking points without really considering the facts or the political and military circumstances.

First of all, Bamford points out that if Rafsanjani's claims are correct, Iran's missiles can now surpass Israel and "hit targets in southeastern Europe" (I'm quoting from his article's Persian translation). My question to Mr. Bamford and his BBC editors is, what is your point?

Is this supposed to put Greece or Albania on notice? What are the chances of Greece, Albania, Bulgaria or the Western reaches of Turkey being targeted by Iran's missiles? And why would the mullahs want to do that? How realistic is this supposed threat? Anyone who knows anything about Middle East politics and Iran's agenda, knows that this "threat" you write about is nothing but a place holder to build a vicious headline around.

Another sentence in Mr. Bamford's piece that is often repeated in Western, and especially U.S. media, is that Iran's mullahs have been threatening Israel and raising concerns by their rhetorical attacks against the Jewish state. A brief study of news reports and public statements shows that Israel's right to attack and destroy government facilities and property in other countries is reported as casually as the daily weather.

No problem! No big deal! It's their right, after all, isn't it? Israel can attack Iran's facilities, if it suspects that it doesn't like those facilities! But if the Iranian defense minister responds to Israel's threats, then Iran becomes the centerpiece of a big news story to justify concerns about its missiles reaching "southeastern Europe"!

I don't care if you do this kind of journalism against the sleazy mullahs, but I just think that you are being unfair and hypocritical. This is bad journalism at its best! Be fair and report both sides of an issue.

The Western media needs to remind the public that it was their governments that let the nuclear genie out of the bottle in the first place. The nukes were not a concern as long as you and the Israelis were the only people who had them. But now that others are learning the craft, it means the end of the world!

And to the European Union, I say that if you don't see the hypocrisy of your position on this issue then keep on pushing and sooner or later the unthinkable will happen whether under the watch of Iran's mullahs or others you haven't even thought about. You can't quell valid security concerns among Muslims by telling them they can not have the means to defend themselves, especially when you admit that their sworn enemies are armed with the world's most horrific weapons with a track record that shows their willingness to use them!

The only worthy article will be one that covers everyone, and I mean everyone at a round table talking about giving up all nuclear weapons. Only then you can chastise countries for wanting to arm themselves!

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Farhad Radmehrian



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