Feb
26
2010

Cyrus Safdari on Iran, Robert Alvarez on nuclear power

By

Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen says it’s time to "fight crazy with crazy" on Iran's nuclear policy. If that passes for discussion of diplomacy in the corporate press, maybe we should look beyond them for interpretation of the latest International Atomic Energy Agency report. We'll be talking with analyst and IranAffairs.com blogger Cyrus Safdari. Also this week: Nuclear power in America is back. Again. The White House announcement of multi-billion dollar loan guarantees for a new plant in Georgia got plenty of media praise, with editorialists and journalists eagerly citing familiar industry-friendly talking points. […]

Oct
07
2009

Iraq All Over Again?

The press & Iranian nuke allegations

There have been recent discussions (e.g., New York Times, 9/29/09) about whether the press is doing a better job covering allegations about Iran's nuclear program than they did during the run-up to the Iraq War. But in some crucial and very basic ways, many in the media are performing just as poorly as they did in 2002 and 2003. The core concern is whether Iran's nuclear enrichment is intended for weapons. Pundits and reporters seem to think they have the answer. "As if Afghanistan were not enough, now there's Iran's move to get nuclear weapons," declared NBC's Chris Matthews (10/4/09). […]

Oct
02
2009

Gareth Porter on Iran, Christopher Martin on ACORN

By

Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: This week on CounterSpin, did the White House really disclose the existence of Iran’s new Uranium enrichment plant, and does the plant, as many news stories seem to indicate, really violate the law? And what evidence is there that the new plant may have anything to do with a nuclear weapons program, as certain prominent U.S. media figures have claimed, but which U.S. intelligence agencies say does not exist? We’ll talk to historian and free lance journalists Gareth Porter about the latest wave of allegations against Iran. Also this week: The community activist group […]

Mar
01
2008

What National Intelligence Estimate?

Good news fails to slow anti-Iran campaign

For a moment it looked like the 2007 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) finding that Iran had halted its alleged nuclear weapons program might put a crimp in the White House’s campaign to portray Iran as a menace to the U.S. and its Mideast neighbors. The Washington Post (12/4/07) summarized the NIE’s impact: The new intelligence report released yesterday not only undercut the administration’s alarming rhetoric over Iran’s nuclear ambitions, but could also throttle Bush’s effort to ratchet up international sanctions and take off the table the possibility of preemptive military action before the end of his presidency. CBS News’ Bob […]

Jan
16
2008

Perilous Journalism in the Persian Gulf

Uncritical coverage of Strait of Hormuz incident

George W. Bush's goal of elevating the Iran threat (New York Times, 1/8/08) got a major boost last week from the news media, who failed to question the Pentagon's alarmist account of an encounter between U.S. and Iranian boats. On January 6 in the Strait of Hormuz, the entrance to the Persian Gulf, U.S. Navy ships were approached by five small speedboats, allegedly affiliated with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps. After some radio communication, the Iranian boats turned away. Overwhelmingly, U.S. media took the White House's alarmist version of these events at face value. The L.A. Times (1/8/08) reported: Officials […]

Jul
01
1988

KAL 007 and Iran Air 655

Comparing the Coverage

USS Vincennes (Wikimedia)

The day after a Soviet interceptor plane blew up a Korean passenger jet, the first sentence of a New York Times editorial (9/2/83) was unequivocal: "There is no conceivable excuse for any nation shooting down a harmless airliner." Headlined "Murder in the Air", the editorial asserted that "no circumstance whatever justifies attacking an innocent plane." Confronted with the sudden reality of a similar action by the U.S. government, the New York Times inverted every standard invoked with righteous indignation five years earlier. Editorials condemning the KAL shoot down were filled with phrases like "wanton killing," "reckless aerial murder" and "no […]