Monday, November 17, 2008

AP pushes the ‘Iran bomb’ lie again

Detain This

The Associated Press has published yet another state monologue wrought with dangerous lies and deception.

Through the voice of Israeli PM Ehud Olmert, AP baselessly suggests that the Iranian government is making a nuclear weapon. Beginning with the title, “Olmert calls for world to stop Iran nuclear bomb,” [1] the November 16 report leaves scant doubt to that effect.

Big Lies

The lede perpetuates the fraud that there ever was an operational weapons program in Iran:

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Sunday that Iran is still trying to build nuclear bombs and the world must make a concerted effort to stop the project.

The second paragraph takes Olmert’s baseless claims as fact:

“Iran has not terminated its pursuit of nuclear weapons,” Olmert told a gathering of North American Jewish leaders in Jerusalem. “Iran cannot become nuclear. Israel cannot afford it…the free world must not accept it. We must all do whatever we can to prevent it.”

The third bolsters the fear mongering with clever wording and another popular but false accusation:

Israel considers Iran a strategic threat because of its nuclear program, its development of long-range missiles and repeated threats to destroy the Jewish state.

The penultimate wrongly assumes that Iran actually did something offensive toward Israel requiring a response:

Olmert did not give specific warnings about possible Israeli actions against Iran.

And in closing, we get an obligatory few words on behalf of the ones relegated to the pillory.

Iran denies its nuclear program is aimed at producing weapons.

Of course Iran is not the only entity denying the existence of an Iranian weapons program; but as you will see, that fact is just one of numerous discrepancies left unmentioned in AP’s editorial-disguised-as-a-news report.

AP puts near-zero value on any Iranian response to the baseless claims.But before moving on, take a look at the journalistic model followed by AP and most other outlets: the inverted pyramid.

In this popular model, the very last few items in a news report are always the least pertinent or urgent. In most cases, it is negligible information. Sometimes, it’s simply gossip or conjecture.

What does that tell you about the AP editor’s judgment in the current report?

Bigger Truths

Big lies are important; but such a journalistic rape would not be possible without the massive omission of even bigger truths. That’s why the AP editor, as usual, including zero fact-checking on Olmert’s accusations.

The “Iran nuclear bomb” and the “threat to destroy the Jewish state” are foregone conclusions brought about by AP’s typical refusal to even hint at any of the following. [2]

— Neither the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) nor any U.S. National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) has shown actionable evidence of an Iranian weapons program.
— Israel is the only Middle East state to possess nuclear weapons.
Israeli and U.S. threats to attack Iran and destroy its nuclear facilities.
— Iran has cooperated with the IAEA, allowing inspections of its nuclear facilities; Israel has not.
— Iran long ago ratified the Nuclear non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT); Israel never has.
— Even if Iran did have nukes, any attempt to “destroy the Jewish state” on its part would clearly be suicidal. (Even Israeli officials have concurred here.)
— For Israel to attempt to destroy Iran would be a walk in the park (and not just because genocidal U.S. leaders would help them do it).
— The fatwa against nuclear weapons, made by the most powerful official in Iran. (Such rulings are supreme law in the Islamic Republic.)
— Unlike Israel, Iran has no track record of aggressive war, invasion, and military occupation.
— Direct responses to the accusation from Iranian officials, the IAEA, or other third-party. By including zero quotes or paraphrases in Iran’s defense, AP makes no ”significant efforts to reach anyone who may be portrayed in a negative way in [AP's] stories . . .” AP fails to ”give them a reasonable amount of time to get back to [AP] before [they] move the story.” [3]

In fact, AP must regularly forgo its own journalistic standards to fulfill its unspoken duties to the states whose policies and top officials dictate whether any reporter, photojournalist, or outlet will get the scoop at all. AP staffers should know this all too well.

Which is partly why you can expect nothing less than a free editorial pass for the imperial states and their lying officials, courtesy of “the world’s largest and most respected source of news and information.”

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2. For further reading on the bulleted items (omissions), and more, go here.
3., under “RESPONSES.”




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