Thursday, October 1, 2009

US Press Corps Fails Again on Iran

By Robert Parry
September 30, 2009

"The U.S. press corps appears to have learned little or nothing from the Iraq debacle as a new crisis looms with Iran.

Yet, the most dangerous parallel between the misreporting on Iraq and the current hysteria about Iran may be that major U.S. news outlets, especially the New York Times and the Washington Post, continue to paint the disputes in black and white and leave shades of gray out of the frame.

In doing so, these news organizations again are casting aside their own rules about objectivity and balance. Just like in the run-up to the Iraq War, they obsess about a villain (with Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad replacing Iraq’s Saddam Hussein) – and have thrown down the memory hole inconvenient facts and important context......

Now, even with Bush gone, the Pavlovian effect continues. The U.S. press corps struts about in outrage over Ahmadinejad – just as they did with Saddam Hussein. The journalists know intuitively what points to highlight and what context to leave out.

In doing so, the journalists may feel they are protecting their flanks from criticism about their patriotism or their toughness. But the risk for the nation is that such unprofessional journalism is contributing to a new hysteria, creating a political dynamic that may block President Obama from taking actions for peace that might well be in the best interests of the country."

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