Turning Mideast Mountains Into U.S. Molehills

I give the Washington Post‘s Anthony Shadid credit for good intentions in his article today (6/3/09)–he realizes that there’s some aspects of Mideast history that his readers ought to know about but probably don’t. But it seems like any attempt to tell the truth about the Middle East has to be accompanied by a bodyguard of obfuscation. As with this passage:

The blacks and whites of U.S. policy always seem to give way to a far greater ambiguity in the region. Lies by a generation of authoritarian Arab leaders to their people have given many a healthy skepticism of any public statement, whatever the source.

You think maybe skepticism of U.S. statements has maybe more to do with what U.S. leaders have said, rather than those lying Arabs? Just a possibility.

And that’s followed by this:

Footnotes of U.S. history have become seminal events in the Muslim world. A half-century on, few people are unaware of the U.S. role in 1953 in helping overthrow Mohammad Mossadegh, the nationalist prime minister in Iran.

That first statement would be a great deal more accurate if it were reversed: Seminal events in the Muslim world have become footnotes in U.S. history. If a foreign power overthrows your elected government and installs a dictator, it’s pretty hard for that not to be a seminal event.

About Jim Naureckas

Extra! Magazine Editor Since 1990, Jim Naureckas has been the editor of Extra!, FAIR's monthly journal of media criticism. He is the co-author of The Way Things Aren't: Rush Limbaugh's Reign of Error, and co-editor of The FAIR Reader: An Extra! Review of Press and Politics in the '90s. He is also the co-manager of FAIR's website. He has worked as an investigative reporter for the newspaper In These Times, where he covered the Iran-Contra scandal, and was managing editor of the Washington Report on the Hemisphere, a newsletter on Latin America. Jim was born in Libertyville, Illinois, in 1964, and graduated from Stanford University in 1985 with a bachelor's degree in political science. Since 1997 he has been married to Janine Jackson, FAIR's program director. You can follow Jim on Twitter at @JNaureckas.