Anti-Iranian Media Bias

In-depth Report:

US major media bias is longstanding. It’s over-the-top attacking America’s enemies.

Scurrilous misinformation substitutes for honest reporting and analysis. Doing so is standard editorial policy.

Lies, damn lies, and scurrilous ones repeat with disturbing regularity. Syria is wrongfully vilified. So is Iran.

Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) provides a vital service. It’s a credible media watchdog.

It exposes media misinformation, bias and censorship. It features truth and full disclosure. It does so because it matters.

In 2001, FAIR called Fox News “the most biased name in news,” saying:

“When it comes to Fox News Channel (FNC), conservatives don’t feel the need to ‘work the ref.’ The ref is already on their side.”

Far from being “fair and balanced, we report, you decide,” Fox is “precisely the opposite.” It gives conservatism a bad name. It’s way over-the-top doing so.

On September 30, FNC host Bret Baier’s Special Report featured right wing columnists Charles Krauthammer, Kirsten Powers and Jonah Goldberg. So much for “fair and balanced.”

According to Krauthammer, Rohani “says (Iran never) work(ed) on (developing nuclear weapons) and isn’t working on (them) today.”

“So, he starts with a double lie, and then we are to believe that his next statement (about) never construct(ing) one is true.

It “looks like we are the supplicant, and we’re going to give a lot away which I think will leave Iran in a position to go nuclear in a very short order.”

Powers claimed there’s “every reason to believe that the Iranians will mislead. And very well may be up to no good.”

“(W)e haven’t been talking to them, and they have been moving closer towards building a bomb or so we believe.”

According to Goldberg, “all this talk about concessions from Iran – these aren’t concessions that we are talking about.”

“It’s compliance by treaty and by UN resolution. They have to give up their nuclear program. And we talk about it as if they are doing us a favor by having these conversations.”

William Kristol co-founded the Project for the New American Century (PNAC). The Foreign Policy Initiative is its new incarnation. Its agenda supports imperial lawlessness. It reflects old wine in new bottles.

Kristol is a prominent board of directors member. He’s also Weekly Standard editor. Separately, he told Fox News “(t)he clock is ticking.”

“So it’s not a mutual situation where we will take a year and test it and decide what to do.”

“The Iranians are close. That’s one reason why they’re launching this charm offensive, and that’s why Israel is so, I think, under the gun.”

FNC claims Rohani has a history of deceit with the West. His longstanding record is polar opposite. Don’t expect Fox, Kristol or other FNC contributors to explain.

Don’t expect better from other US mainstream media. FAIR hangs them on their own petards. It does so responsibly.

On September 30, it headlined “NBC’s Iran Bomb.”

NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams lied to viewers like he always does. On-air truth is verboten.

Lying is the coin of the realm. Williams and likeminded media scoundrels wouldn’t report vital truths if they jumped up and bit them on the rump.

On September 27, Williams said “Iran was ‘suddenly claiming they don’t want nuclear weapons.”

False! Iranian officials have been saying it for years. Sometimes they did so “directly to Williams himself.”

“This is all part of a new leadership effort by Iran, suddenly claiming they don’t want nuclear weapons,” he claimed.

“What they want now is talks and transparency and goodwill.”

What they want is to be treated equitably and fairly. They want information about their nuclear and other programs reported accurately.

They want their sovereign rights respected. They’re entitled to expect it. Rohani is clear and unequivocal, saying:

“We have time and again said that under no circumstances would we seek any weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons, nor will we ever.”

He made similar statements many times before. So have other Iranian officials. NBC Nightly News reported it.

“Like on the September 19, 2006, newscast, when Williams interviewed Iran’s then-President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad,” said FAIR:

“WILLIAMS: And the American president says, ‘It’s OK, keep your nuclear program to keep your homes warm. Stop enriching uranium toward weapons.’ How do you react?

AHMADINEJAD: Who is the right judge for that? Any entity except for the IAEA? All IAEA reports indicate that Iran has had no deviation.

We have said on numerous occasions that our activities are for peaceful purposes.

The agency’s cameras videotape all activities that we have. Did Iran build the atomic bomb and use it?

You must know that because of our beliefs in our religion, we are against such acts. We are against the atomic bomb. We believe bombs are used only to kill people.”

On July 28, 2008, Ahmadinejad told Williams:

“We are not working to manufacture a bomb. We don’t believe in a nuclear bomb.”

“Nuclear bombs belong to the 20th century. We are living in a new century.”

“Nuclear energy must not be equaled to a nuclear bomb. This is a disservice to the – to the society of man.”

On September 17, 2009, Ahmadinejad told Williams the same thing.

On December 3, 2007, Williams “reported the US government’s own assessment that Iran is not working on a nuclear weapon,” said FAIR.

“Out of nowhere, the US said today it has intelligence that Iran stopped trying to develop atomic weapons four years ago,”  Williams reported.

On September 27, he said:

“It’s tempting for peace-loving people to get excited about (Rohani). And it comes down to the question, can we trust the guy?”

According to FAIR, “can US television viewers trust Williams to remember his own network’s reporting on Iran?”

“Apparently not.” He can’t even remember his own.

On August 28, FAIR headlined “Getting Iran Wrong by Way of Syria,” saying:

While establishing facts about the Ghouta chemical weapons attack, “some media outlets are using the situation as an opportunity to make inaccurate claims about Iran.”

On August 27, NPR’s Mara Liasson lied to listeners. She does it repeatedly. She wrongfully suggested Assad’s responsible for Ghouta’s August 21 incident.

She “didn’t stop there,” said FAIR. She referenced White House press secretary Jay Carney duplicitously commenting about “other potential users of chemical weapons.”

According to Liasson:

“Other potential users means Iran. This is not just about chemical weapons. It’s not just about Assad. This is a proxy war.”

“Iran, who is developing its own weapons of mass destruction, is currently backing the Syrian regime, and it is watching very carefully to see what the US does.”

No evidence suggests Iran has WMDs. None shows it’s developing them. Claiming or alleging otherwise is contrary to facts.

Don’t expect any NPR reporter to explain. They lie for power. They consistently air anti-Iranian/Syrian propaganda. They ignore hard truths.

NPR receives generous government and corporate funding to do so. So does PBS. Listeners and viewers are betrayed.

They’re fed daily misinformation. Deception substitutes for honest reporting.

On July 15, FAIR headlined “CBS Gives Iran Nuclear Fearmonging a Voice,” saying:

Claims about Iran building a bomb “go back several decades.”

On July 14, CBS Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer lied to viewers. He claimed “Iran (is) continuing (its) effort to build a nuclear weapon.”

Saying so is brazenly false. He didn’t stop there. He repeated one lie after another. He said Tehran is “building ICBMs to reach the American mainland within a few years.”

“They’re pursuing an alternate route of plutonium, that is enriched uranium to build a nuclear bomb.”

“One route, plutonium. Another route, ICBMs, intercontinental ballistic missiles to reach you.”

Evidence contradicts Schieffer’s assertions. He reported no corroborating facts substantiating them.

He has none. It doesn’t deter misreporting. It’s standard mainstream media practice.

On June 21, FAIR headlined “USA Today, Maddow and Iran Misinformation,” saying”

Iran’s June 14 elections “may change some things – but inaccurate media depictions of Iran might not change much at all.”

USA Today misreported, saying Rohani “is known for his negotiating skill over the country’s nuclear weapons program.”

He “represented” Iran in “discussions of its atomic energy program,” explained FAIR.

“MSNBC host Rachel Maddow went farther in spreading misinformation.”

She poses as a liberal left commentator. She’s nothing of the sort. On imperial lawlessness, corporate power, and other major issues, she’s polar opposite.

She’s as unprincipled as the rest.

She claimed Bush tried to do the right thing in Afghanistan. She repeats the same thing about Obama.

She substitutes propaganda for hard truths. She supports America’s  military adventurism right or wrong. She claims US attacks on other nations reflect humanitarian intervention.

She’s more articulate than most of her counterparts. She’s equally disingenuous. She calls herself a “national security liberal.” She supports US militarism writ large.

She endorses its neocolonial wars. She does so disgracefully. According to FAIR, on June 10 (four days before Iranians elected Rohani), she misinformed viewers claiming:

“The current president of Iran has had the job for the last eight years. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (is) known around the world for defending Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons.”

False! According to FAIR:

“Far from ‘defending Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons,’ Ahmadinejad regularly did the opposite, insisting that Iran had no such program.”

On November 8, 2012, Reuters quoted him saying “(t)he Iranian nation is not seeking an atomic bomb, nor (does it) need to build (one),” FAIR said.

“Media commentary about Iran’s election results suggests there is an opening to change the state of relations between Iran and the United States,” it added.

“But US media will make that more difficult if they cannot get these simple facts straight.”

On September 30, PBS contributor Margaret Warner reported as follows:

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu “came to the Oval Office today intent on delivering a message.”

He said “Iran is committed to Israel’s destruction.”

According to Warner, he “used his White House moment to warn the US, do not be swayed by what some Israelis have dubbed Iran’s smiley campaign, diplomatic overtures by its new president aimed at loosening economic sanctions.”

Obama “said Iran’s rhetoric alone is not sufficient and that to keep Iran from developing a nuclear weapons capability, all options remain on the table.”

“Later that afternoon, Rouhani and President Obama conversed by telephone.”

“Leaders of the two governments had not spoken since the Iranian Revolution in 1979.”

“The Islamic Republic is believed to have at least five main nuclear sites, as well as several uranium mines and research reactors.”

“The regime insists its uranium enrichment and plutonium programs are purely for civilian energy use.”

Obama and Netanyahu agree that “Iran not be allowed to develop nuclear weapons capability, but, two, that it not even get to the level in which it has breakout capability.”

“And by that, it means they are so close and they have got so much sophistication now, that they could quickly jump to creating bombs, before the world could react and before either Israel on the US could act.”

Warner lied to viewers. She ignored annual US intelligence reports. They consistently deny an Iranian nuclear weapons program. So do IAEA monitors.

Warner suggested otherwise. Her report implied one is ongoing. Her comments were entirely one-sided. It wasn’t the first time.

PBS News Hour airs all propaganda all the time. It abandoned its public mandate long ago. It sold out to wealth and power. It did so disgracefully.

NPR operates the same way. They replicate corporate run broadcast, cable and print news, information and analysis.

They ignore what viewers, listeners and readers most need to know. They shame themselves in the process.

They share responsibility for state crimes of war, against humanity and genocide. Don’t expect them to explain.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected]

His new book is titled “Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity.”

Visit his blog site at

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Articles by: Stephen Lendman

About the author:

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected] His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III." Visit his blog site at Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network. It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.

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