Wednesday, January 02, 2008

More Lame Iran coverage

On yesterday's ATC, Michele Norris starts right off by framing the ongoing Iran story in a way White House propagandists would love:"2007 was a year of heightened tensions between Iran and the United States.(as if both countries were equally to blame for this tension-they weren't!)Washington imposed economic sanctions, even hinted(hinted!?)at possible military action in response to Iran's nuclear program(what nuclear program!?). Iran has defied the sanctions, and intensified its efforts to enrich uranium(as is its right under the NNPT!), the very activity that the US finds so threatening.(in spite of the fact that the IAEA has officially said that there is NO evidence Iran has a nuclear weapons program!)."

This whole framework is flawed in so many ways, it's hard not to suspect that it's intentionally calculated to be so redundant with bullshit as to overwhelm the listener's ability to reason, but one way that I think is important is the idea that Iran's getting nuclear weapons would be a direct threat to Europe and the US in terms of missiles being fired at "us".

For almost 50 years, we had something called "MAD", which was elevated almost to a religious status in the circles of people who run and influence foreign affairs. Also, crazy as it sounds,it appeared to work, yet the idea seems to have disappeared, especially when talking about Iran.

This doctrine, if applied to Iran, would do two things; First, it would explain the rationality of Iran seeking nuclear weapons(It's not clear that they are, but I know that if I was Iran, I'd think about it), as Israel, which has at least 100 nuclear weapons, and has threatened Iran, would be deterred by them. And second, it would allay any fears about Iran actually using these weapons, since if it did, it would be immediately and literally "wiped off the map" by the overwhelming numbers of these weapons in the US, Europe and Israel.

This opening didn't particularly catch my ear, since we never hear about events and situations like this on NPR without they are framed in ways that twist the truth in favor of government and corporate Power, but it got even better. Though the main points of the story seem to be That Iran's president, Ahmadinejad is facing mounting domestic criticism(that may well be true, but he's faced some criticism all along, as Iran is a republic, with many competing factions of power within it), and that the US and Europe have not been successful in imposing their wills on Iran(surprise,surprise!),let me jump ahead to the thing that really grabbed me about this story; Mike Shuster says:"The Bush Administration even reversed the longstanding American aversion to talking directly with Iran, but with a precondition. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice announced her willingness to meet with Iran's Foreign Minister if Iran suspends uranium enrichment. The Iranians said 'no', Rice repeated the offer right before Christmas". Shuster is intentionally packaging administration propaganda designed to make people believe that, one, the Administration has actually made a reasonable offer to Iran(accede to our demands and then we'll talk),and two, that Iran is unwilling to talk to the US(Iran has always said it would talk to the US, and even gave apparently sincere offers of help following 9-11).Good Grief!

Shuster grudgingly allows that the recent National Intelligence Estimate found that Iran's Nuclear weapon program was "shelved"(interesting word)
and really seems pained to report that that the findings "effectively removed the option of US military action", and goes on to report on the scarey prospect of Russia having anything to do with Iran. (followed by a hilarious clip of Bush trying to say "uranium" and "Iranian" in the same sentence).

The second half of the story actually has some interesting reporting, but unfortunately, it was spoiled by the biased tone and framing of the piece. I just want to throw up my hands!


Anonymous said...

The refusal of the mainstream media, and NPR, to address Israel's (not 100 but rather more like) 200 - 300 nuclear weapons, with second strike capability provided by submarine launched nukes, drives me nuts. And if they DID address it, then just maybe they might also discuss Isreal's Samson Option (well covered by Seymour Hersh), which would absolutely blow the minds of the American public.

[btw, mytwords, I noticed your comment over at Juan Cole's blog on his citation of Iraq Body Count figures... and I wanted to say that I agree with your objections, entirely.]

Porter Melmoth said...

I don't think we're ever going to hear any objective Iran coverage from NPR. It's as simple and as sad as that.

Anonymous said...

Hmm, and now that we see Meee(first)-chelle practically has a nameplate on one of the cushy chairs around Chris Matthews' coffee table for his weekend chatty-cathy show, our bland radio buddies now have their tv rep too! How lovely. zzzzzz.....