Daily Archives: 2009-06-23 07:54:09 GMT+0000

Robert Fisk (thankfully a few such reporters do exist) sifting fact from fantasy in Iran

Robert Fisk’s latest from Iran in The Independent:

In Tehran, Fantasy and Reality Make Uneasy Bedfellows

Some excerpts . . . .

On the myth of Iranian crackdown on western reporters (and CNN bias):

But then we had the famous instruction to journalists in Tehran from the Ministry of Islamic Guidance that they could no longer report opposition street demonstrations. I heard nothing of this. Indeed, the first clue came when I refused to be interviewed by CNN (because their coverage of the Middle East is so biased) and the woman calling me asked: “Why? Are you worried about your safety?” Fisk continued to spend 12 hours a day on the streets. I discovered there was a ban only when I read about it in The Independent. . . . . .

On a woman who told him of something sounding like a state-sponsored murder:

I never saw her again. Nor the photograph. Nor had anyone seen the body. It was a fantasy. Earnest reporters check this out – in fact, I have been spending at least a third of my working days in Tehran this past week not reporting what might prove to be true but disproving what is clearly untrue.

After getting a phone call in the middle of the night about a reported massacre of students on a university campus, and being informed of photographic evidence of the shooting of a young male student the day before, Fisk found both stories to be total fantasy. Yet that did not stop his newspaper editor calling him to ask about the news he had heard:

There are few provable assurances in the Middle East, often few facts and a lot of lies. Dangers are as thick as snakes in the desert. As I write, I have just received another call from Lebanon. “Mr Fisk, a girl has been shot in Iran. I have a video from the internet. You can see her body…” And you know what? I think he might be right.

 

Dust jacket of The Great War for Civilisation,...
Image via Wikipedia

Latest on western media misinformation on Iran

The details of stories of vote-rigging in Iran simply lack credibility as evidence that the election result was fraudulent. No doubt there was some fraud on both sides, as there usually is in many western elections (my Australia certainly included), too. But what we are reading now in the media is nothing short of sheer misinformation. Media spin out rumour and unsubstantiated stories or rely on the most blatant propaganda in the form of various government and political party press releases. (Compare my previous post for more details and genuine inside reporting.)

Examples:

  • By Esam Al-Amin, on the overall relative health of Iranian democracy and for a review of the actual facts vs media reports:

A Hard Look at the Numbers: What Actually Happened in the Iranian Elections?

  • Maarten Doude van Troostwijk is a Dutch historian and translator who has observed many elections in the former communist block for the British Helsinki Human Rights Group, writes:

Stolen Election in Iran? An Inside View of Vote Fraud

  • Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration, Paul Craig Roberts, gives detailed background on what should surely be obvious to any reader who has been looking for sourced evidence for most of the astonishing claims made in the western media:

Iran Falls to US PSYOPS

  • On the stories that more than 100% of the people voted read Iranian reports on their own investigations (and compare with the U.S. response of blatant fraud in the Bush election):

Guardian Council: Over 100% Voted in 50 Cities

  • And for those who like a bit of history, Chris Hedges, who has a weekly column for www.Truthdig.com, is currently a senior fellow at The Nation Institute and a Lecturer in the Council of the Humanities and the Anschutz Distinguished Fellow at Princeton University. He spent nearly two decades as a foreign correspondent in Central America, the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans. Hedges, who has reported from more than 50 countries, worked for The Christian Science Monitor, National Public Radio, The Dallas Morning News and The New York Times, where he spent fifteen years.

Iran Had a Democracy Before We Took It Away

Not forgetting (how could we?) the neo-con establishment in 2002 of the Coalition for Democracy in Iran.

In other words, if it’s imprudent to bomb them for a little while, work like hell to whiteant them until they restore another one like the shah.