Reporter or Matchmaker?

A letter from Parviz Sayyad on Mike Wallace's interview with President Rafsanjani. The letter was distributed on the Internet in late April 1997.

I believe that I know the difference between a reporter and a matchmaker. By watching your live Q&A, aired on CSPAN on March 26th, following the segment of your report on the Islamic Republic of Iran, I admire your courage and expertise as a reporter, but I don't respect your role as a matchmaker. I do not believe many Americans will find President Rafsanjani a very suitable
match for the White House, as you did. And I don't think you can be proud as an American citizen either by suggesting that France and Germany be models for wheeling and dealing with Ayatollah's fanatic regime. Germany and France's flags were not burned in Tehran. School children in Iran were not forced to chant "Death to France" or "Death to Germany" first thing in the morning as they lined up in their school yards. And the diplomats of these countries were not held hostage for 444 days just to become scapegoats for a candidate to attain the presidency, or gaining enough arms and ammunition to establish the most vicious and brutal regime on earth.

I have one more note to point out. Next time you deal with Iranians or other minorities in the U.S., I plea, treat them the same way you want to be treated by them. Do not answer their questions by questioning their beliefs, and if you do, do it equally and accordingly. When you are depicting Germany or France as role models for the U.S. policy makers, that's because they continuously profit from their trade with the Islamic Republic, although they are ignoring many humanitarian values in the process. That sounds like money talks, doesn't it? Now if someone asks you why you are backing such a capitalistic point of view, you won't question whether they are communist, would you? During your telecast Q&A, also, you did not ask the viewers who were supporting your ideas, whether they were pro-Khomeini or pro-Hezbollah. But, how is it that you kept asking your opposing viewers if they were pro-Shah? Is that not a dirty trick labeling people we want to ignore in a negative way?

Dear Mr. Wallace, hundreds of thousands of Iranians, including myself, gave up their homeland and their well established lives and careers, not because they were just "pro-Shah" or pro this and that. They scattered all over the world in search of the slightest sense of freedom, seeking a decent , but very hard way of life, so they would not be forced apart from each other (wives from husbands, parents from children), in single every day ventures like going to the beach or riding a street bus. And above all, for not being investigated for what they think or what they believe in, by a SAVAMA agent.

You seem to be very well informed of SAVAK, but not enough of SAVAMA, otherwise, you would not act like one of their free-lance agents.

I believe you know the difference between a reporter and a matchmaker, much better than I do, but when was the last time you thought about the definition of a simple human being?

Parviz Sayyad
An Iranian playwright-filmmaker in exile


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