Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been sounding alarms over Iran's nuclear program for two decades. On Sunday CBS Face the Nation gave him yet another chance to make dubious claims about the threats posed by their supposed weapons.
On Monday's edition of the NewsHour (1/28/13), host Gwen Ifill referred to concerns about the "threat posed by Iran's nuclear program," and told viewers that a story "looks at the debate in Israel over how to deal with the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran." How hard is it for NewsHour to understand that allegations are not facts?
There are plenty of problems with coverage of Iran right now. The most important issue to understand is that there is no evidence that Iran is pursuing a nuclear weapon. Since this is the basis for the current "crisis" narrative, it's important for journalism to try to clearly differentiate what is known and what is speculation. On that score, Time magazine's big piece this week on U.S./Israeli relations fails. Massimo Calabresi and Jay Newton-Small write: Despite their history of distrust, Obama and [Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin] Netanyahu must cooperate if they are to stop Iran from getting a nuclear weapon. […]
Evaluating reporting and commentary about Iran could be reduced to one simple rule: There is no evidence that Iran is working on a nuclear weapon. Statements that suggest otherwise are misleading. Reports that fail to point this out are doing readers/viewers/listeners a disservice. That sounds simple enough. But don't tell that to the outlets that are being criticized over their Iran reporting. Take NPR and PBS, both of which were singled out by the group Just Foreign Policy. A few days ago (1/10/12), the FAIR Blog featured a post criticizing the PBS NewsHour for a deceptive report on Iran. The […]
Last month the group Just Foreign Policy alerted readers to a Washington Post feature that was headlined "Iran's Quest to Possess Nuclear Weapons." The Post changed the headline, and ombud Patrick Pexton weighed in with a column (12/7/11) saying that the IAEA report does not say Iran has a bomb, nor does it say it is building one, only that its multiyear effort pursuing nuclear technology is sophisticated and broad enough that it could be consistent with building a bomb. Pexton added that Just Foreign Policy's Robert Naiman "and his Web army were right. The headline and subhead were misleading." […]
The Monday broadcast of CBS Evening News (12/19/11) began with big news, with anchor Scott Pelley announcing: The secretary of Defense says tonight that the United States will not allow Iran to develop a nuclear weapon. In an interview with CBS News, Leon Panetta says that despite efforts to disrupt their nuclear program, the Iranians have reached a point where they can assemble a bomb in a year or potentially less. To ratchet up the drama, Pelley told viewers that Panetta was aboard "the jet nicknamed the Doomsday Plane. This is the command post where he and the president would […]
When the International Atomic Energy Agency is about to release a report on an official enemy like Iran, you can be fairly confident that contents of the report–or what people believe should be in it–will be leaked to elite newspapers by anonymous sources in or near the IAEA, who will tend to make more alarming charges than the agency will eventually make in public. That started happening this weekend. At the Washington Post, Joby Warrick had a piece on Monday headlined, "Iran Close to Nuclear Capability, IAEA Says." The most telling indication of what was going on was right in […]
When "journalists Euna Lee and Laura Ling stepped back onto American soil after being detained in North Korea for over four months. Their safe return was covered widely in the American media, and rightfully so," writes Women In Media & News guest blogger Tristin Aaron (8/12/09), "yet their reason for traveling to North Korea has been all but forgotten in the media reports on Lee and Ling": Euna Lee and Laura Ling were reporting on the trafficking of women from North Korea into China. As Ji-Yeon Yuh notes in, "What Were Laura Ling and Euna Lee Looking For in North […]
Hiroshima in America author Greg Mitchell (Editor & Publisher, 8/6/09) has taken a hard look at "the suppression of film and photographic evidence of the atomic attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki" that "would play a key role as America embarked on a nuclear era with severe impact still with us today." He gives us a history of how, "in the weeks following the atomic attacks on Japan 64 years ago and then for decades afterward, the United States engaged in airtight suppression of all film shot in Hiroshima and Nagasaki after the bombings": This included footage shot by U.S. military […]
FAIR associate Sam Husseini has blogged his reaction (Husseini.org, 7/4/09) to a Barack "Obama Photo Op with Helen Thomas" in which the president "came with cupcakes to wish Helen Thomas a happy birthday": "Now, if only he'd take her questions." Obama claimed they have a "common birthday wish"–for a "real healthcare reform bill"–but Thomas is not in favor of Obama's plan, she's for single-payer. Last week I bumped into Helen Thomas at her stomping ground, Mama Ayesha's restaurant in Washington, D.C., and she stressed the single-payer failure on the part of Obama. I asked her if I was right, that […]
Noticing that "many of the headlines greeting North Korea's nuclear blast yesterday carried the phrase 'as big as the Hiroshima bomb' or words to that effect," media writer and Hiroshima in America co-author Greg Mitchell (Editor & Publisher, 5/26/09) says "that's not the only reference point that Hiroshima should evoke": Simply stated: The fact that the U.S. first developed, and then used–twice–the WMD to end all WMDs against heavily populated cities, killing a quarter of a million civilians (and very few soldiers), has severely compromised our arguments against others building the weapon ever since. Americans may not like to hear […]