With the surprise election (CNN, 6/15/13) of moderate pragmatist Hassan Rouhani as the next president of Iran, and the attendant departure of the West’s favorite bogeyman, outgoing President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, from the political stage, U.S. elite media have had to rapidly adapt the collective narrative in order to maintain their alarmist depiction of the Islamic Republic. For the past eight years, references to what is perceived as Ahmadinejad’s bombastic rhetoric abounded in political speeches and were readily parroted by the press (Extra!, 6/12). He was routinely presented as a megalomaniacal, apocalyptic madman, hell-bent on developing nuclear weapons in order to […]
Spinning Iranian election results to maintain an official enemy
Argo won the Best Picture Academy Award. The film claims to be 'based on' the true story of the Iranian hostage crisis. But just how far removed is it from that true story, and why does it matter? We'll hear from Nima Shirazi of the blog WideasleepinAmerica.
Also on the show: The Supreme Court has determined that the government doesn't have to reveal who it's targeting with its domestic spying programs, but civil liberties groups can't challenge the spying because... they can't prove they’ve been targeted. Mitra Ebadolahi of the ACLU's National Security Project will explain.
Magazines mangled facts to dismiss Reagan campaign collusion with Iran
Editor's Note: This is an excerpt from investigative reporter Robert Parry's new book, America's Stolen Narrative. One of the book's storylines examines corporate media's role in squelching investigation into whether Ronald Reagan's presidential campaign in 1980 went behind President Jimmy Carter's back to contact Iranian officials then holding 52 Americans hostage, a controversy dubbed the October Surprise. When the possibility of a serious October Surprise investigation emerged in the latter half of 1991, an intimidating phalanx of powerful players was arrayed against it, from Ronald Reagan’s many defenders, to the sitting President George H.W. Bush, to David Rockefeller’s business and […]
Extra! March 2013
If It Weren’t for Those Meddling Iranians “This demonstrates the ever pernicious Iranian meddling in other countries in the region.” —unnamed U.S. official complaining to Reuters (1/28/13) about Iran allegedly sending arms to Yemen, where the U.S. is conducting a secret drone war Extreme Weather, Unexplained NBC Nightly News (1/13/13) asked a serious question, then offered an unserious answer. Anchor Lester Holt remarked: “Strange winter: Why it is so cold where it should be warm, and so warm where it should be cold. What is going on with all this extreme weather?” Correspondent Kristen Dahlgren turned to the Weather […]
NewsHour botches basic fact about Iran dispute
In an October 22 discussion of the foreign policy presidential debate, the PBS NewsHour's Jeffrey Brown stated that "Iran's nuclear weapons program has been a particular flash point." A few weeks earlier (10/5/12) on the NewsHour, Ray Suarez said that Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez had continued to thwart American efforts on a range of international issues, such as Washington's attempt to convince Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to halt his country's pursuit of nuclear weapons. As most people following this story should know, there is no intelligence that shows Iran has a nuclear weapons program. The country has long denied the […]
‘Supreme international crime’ not worth discussing
SPECIAL SECTION: IRAN & WAR The drums of war beat ever louder as President Barack Obama talks of “all options” being “on the table” if Iran doesn’t halt its nuclear fuel processing program, and as Israel keeps threatening an air attack on Iran’s nuclear sites. But nowhere, perhaps, is this drumbeat louder than in the U.S. media, where it’s almost impossible to find any mention of the fact that such an attack, whether by U.S. or Israeli forces, would violate international law. An unprovoked attack against another nation is a war of aggression—“the supreme international crime,” as the Nuremberg Tribunal […]
The popular media theme that Iran “can’t be trusted” is often presented as being based on “intelligence” about the country. But sometimes pundits cut right to the chase, as Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen (9/29/09) did when he wrote in 2009, “These Persians lie like a rug.” The New York Times (4/14/12) fancied that idea up just a bit in an April 14 piece by James Risen about Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader. “Seeking Nuclear Insight in Fog of the Ayatollah’s Utterances” was the headline, though for many, Khamenei has been very clear: He says Iran is not pursuing […]
More Obama boosterism than foreign policy examination
Getting independent, skeptical coverage of official claims about Iran—from its supposed nuclear weapons program (Extra!, 9-10/05, 1/12) to its alleged plans to launch terrorist attacks across the world (Extra!, 3/12)—is essential. One place you might expect to see more critical coverage is on supposedly left-leaning MSNBC. But when it comes to Iran, in what little coverage it offers the channel largely mirrors the Democratic Party line. For the most part, it was hard to find Iran on MSNBC. From January to April, two of MSNBC’s stars, Rachel Maddow and Ed Schultz, brought it up only 16 and 14 times, respectively. […]