America's Media War on Iran
Date: Saturday, November 12 @ 17:13:54 UTC
Topic: Iran

By Stephen Lendman
November 12, 2011

When Washington goes to war or threatens it, America’s media march in lockstep, cheerleading. Fiction substitutes for fact.

News is carefully filtered, dissent marginalized, and supporting imperial belligerence substitutes for full and accurate disclosure.

As a result, patriotism means going along with rogue policies. Never mind rule of law principles and democratic values. Free and open societies are risked. So is humanity if belligerents overstep.

The IAEA Iranian nuclear program report stirred a hornet’s nest of inflammatory commentary, no matter the agency’s fabricated contents. Previous US intelligence assessments refuted them, including most recently in March 2011.

Nonetheless, IAEA allegations proved red meat for America’s media. Commentaries from three major broadsheets are typical.

The Wall Street Journal

On November 8, deputy Journal editorial page editor Bret Stephens headlined, “Now For a Real Iran Debate,” saying:

“There’s no scarcity of reliable information about Iran’s nuclear programs, licit and illicit.” At issue only is how Washington and Western allies act “to check them.”

In September, IAEA said “Iran had enriched 4.5 tons of low-enriched uranium – sufficient, with further enrichment, for three or four bombs – and that a third of the uranium had been enriched in the last year alone.”

It also said “Iran had begun more advanced centrifuges, capable of enriching uranium at a significantly faster rate than” earlier ones. “So much for the success of sanctions in shutting down Iran’s underground network of nuclear-parts suppliers.”

Fact check

Iran’s nuclear program is peaceful and nonmilitary. No credible evidence suggests otherwise. Its operations follow standard procedures. Other nations follow them. None are vilified. Nothing done is illegal. Beating up on Iran bogusly discredits anyone doing it.

“So much for the enabling fiction that was the 2007 National Intelligence Estimate, which judged ‘with high confidence’ that Iran ‘halted its nuclear weapons program’ in the fall of 2003.”

So much for a Journal editor accepting fabricated IAEA information, refuted by US intelligence as recently as March 2011 in its America’s Annual Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community.

He continued saying pursuing diplomacy or more “sanctions guarantees failure, signals weakness, and emboldens the hardest of Iranian hardliners.”

Time’s “no longer on the West’s side….(F)urther delay only increases the complexity and uncertainties of any strike.”

Short of supporting war, Stephen railed against Iran, saying Western leaders should “hasten the regime’s demise.” How he didn’t say or explain that every nation’s sovereignty is inviolable, whether or not he approves.

The New York Times

A Times editorial headlined, “The Truth About Iran,” saying:

Despite using fabricated, discredited, old information with no credibility, The Times called IAEA’s document “chillingly comprehensive….What gives the report particular credibility is its meticulous sourcing.”

Russia, China and other nations “have been shielding Iran.” Security Council members must “quickly impose a new round of even tougher sanctions….”

Fact check

For years, Times writers and commentators beat up mercilessly on Iran. In June 2009, Iran’s presidential election was more democratic than America’s rigged process.

Nonetheless, a Times editorial headlined, “Iran’s Nonrepublic,” claiming “government authorities bulldozed the results” so incumbent Ahmadinejad’s victory was “bogus.”

Instead of journalistic integrity, The Times claimed Ahmadinejad stole the election with no evidence whatever proving it. Rhetoric substituted for reasoned commentary in typical Times style.

In contrast, when the Supreme Court reversed America’s 2000 popular vote (and electoral one learned months later) to install its own favorite, a Times editorial supported Bush’s illegitimacy and his “unusual” post-election “gracious(ness).”

No matter that Al Gore won and they knew it. No matter what’s now known about a rogue administration terrorizing humanity.

Stopping short of supporting war, The Times said striking Iran’s nuclear facilities “would not set (it) back for very long. It would rally Iranians around their illegitimate government….The last round of sanctions was approved 17 months ago.”

Russia and China oppose more. “So long as that enabling continues, Iran will keep pushing its nuclear program forward.”

Fact check

In April 2010, Ron Paul addressed HR 2194, the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability and Divestment Act, saying:

“I rise in strong opposition,” including against its Senate version. Debate replicated lies, misinformation and distortions preceding Iraq 2003. “Propaganda (is) speed(ing) us to war against Iran for the benefit of special interests.”

“A vote for sanctions on Iran is a vote for war against Iran.” In other words, he called sanctions an act of war.

In 1997, the New England Journal of Medicine called economic sanctions “a war against public health.” Sanctions constitute war by other means. Manipulated money power in private hands used irresponsibly is financial war.

Delegitimizing Iran’s legal nuclear program shows which side Times editors support. They’re the same anti-populist power and wealth ones they always back on all vital issues.

The Washington Post

A WP editorial headlined, “Running out of time to stop Iran’s nuclear program,” saying:

The IAEA “spelled out in detail what governments around the world have known for a long time: Iran’s nuclear program has an explicit military dimension, aimed at producing a warhead that can be fitted onto one of the country’s medium-range missiles.”

Fact check

Substituting bombast for truth, Post editorializing got another black eye. Throughout the piece, accuracy was nowhere in sight.

Like The Times, Journal, and others like them, however, what else can be expected from establishment broadsheets. They stop short of doing what readers expect – their job.

“The IAEA’s evidence….ought to end serious debate about whether Tehran’s program is for peaceful purposes. That’s why Russia and China tried to block the report.”

Never mind that IAEA’s “evidence” lacks credibility. It was fabricated, discredited and out of date. Independent analysts refuted it. All countries should denounce its nefarious purpose, potentially leading to war.

Short of supporting it, the Post said Obama’s got time to act. He repeatedly said “Iran’s acquisition of a nuclear weapon is unacceptable – and the IAEA report makes clear that the danger is growing, not diminishing.”

Most dangerous are:

IAEA heads publishing baseless allegations;

America, Israel, and Western nations supporting them; and disreputable major media opinion writers marching in lockstep instead of doing their jobs responsibly.

Sadly, that’s what passes for corporate-controlled news, commentary and opinion in America.

It’s why more readers go elsewhere for real information and analysis. Hopefully one day they all will!

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at Also visit his blog site at

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