PBS Corrects Iran Falsehood

A FAIR Action Alert (10/24/12) criticized the PBS NewsHour for reporting that “Iran’s nuclear weapons program has been a particular flash point” in the presidential race. As we noted, there is no hard evidence that Iran has such a weapons program; in fact, international inspections have consistently found no evidence that Iran has diverted uranium for military purposes.

Soon after FAIR activists began writing to the show, the NewsHour responded by posting  an Editor’s Note:

EDITOR’S NOTE: This transcript has been updated to account for an error in the NewsHour‘s broadcast reference to Iran’s widely suspected military ambitions in pursuing nuclear energy, despite Tehran’s assertions that its atomic efforts are entirely peaceful. We should have said that “Iran’s nuclear program has been a particular flashpoint.”

This is important, and wouldn’t have happened without the letter-writing. PBS did not issue an on-air correction, which is unfortunate. But you can’t help but feel like the NewsHour doesn’t really feel like they need to correct much–hence the reference to “Iran’s widely suspected military ambitions in pursuing nuclear energy.”

Widely suspected by whom? They don’t say. What is clear is that the NewsHour knows they shouldn’t have reported this allegation as if it were a fact–but they want you to know that the allegation is considered a fact by a lot of serious people nonetheless.

About Peter Hart

Activism Director and and Co-producer of CounterSpinPeter Hart is the activism director at FAIR. He writes for FAIR's magazine Extra! and is also a co-host and producer of FAIR's syndicated radio show CounterSpin. He is the author of The Oh Really? Factor: Unspinning Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly (Seven Stories Press, 2003). Hart has been interviewed by a number of media outlets, including NBC Nightly News, Fox News Channel's O'Reilly Factor, the Los Angeles Times, Newsday and the Associated Press. He has also appeared on Showtime and in the movie Outfoxed. Follow Peter on Twitter at @peterfhart.