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
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
goodbye to spam!