Power of Story Send a Tweet        

Share on Google Plus Share on Twitter Share on Facebook 3 Share on LinkedIn Share on PInterest Share on Fark! Share on Reddit Share on StumbleUpon Tell A Friend 3 (6 Shares)  

Printer Friendly Page Save As Favorite View Favorites (# of views)   4 comments
OpEdNews Op Eds

The Media and Iran: Familiar Mindlessness

By       Message Glenn Greenwald       (Page 1 of 1 pages)     Permalink

Related Topic(s): ; ; ; ; ; , Add Tags  Add to My Group(s)

View Ratings | Rate It

opednews.com Headlined to H2 11/23/11

Author 4807
Become a Fan
  (150 fans)
- Advertisement -

(Credit: Reuters)

The lesson supposedly learned by the U.S. establishment media from the Iraq debacle was the danger of relying on anonymous government sources to disseminate unverified fear-mongering accusations. Rather obviously, no such lesson has been learned, as this continues to be the primary reporting method for accusing the Supreme Hitlers of the Moment -- Iran -- of anything and everything the U.S. Government can dream up. The latest entry, and one of the most egregious yet, is this Washington Post screed appearing under this headline and hovering scary picture:

Here's the crux of the story, by R. Jeffrey Smith, Joby Warrick and Colum Lynch:

- Advertisement -

The Obama administration is investigating whether Iran supplied the Libyan government of Moammar Gaddafi with hundreds of special artillery shells for chemical weapons that Libya kept secret for decades, U.S. officials said. . . .The discovery of the shells has prompted a probe, led by U.S. intelligence, into how the Libyans obtained them; several sources said early suspicion had fallen on Iran. "We are pretty sure we know" the shells were custom-designed and produced in Iran for Libya, said a senior U.S. official, one of several who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the accusation.

So it isn't merely that the prior Hitler of the Moment -- Moammar Gadaffi -- had Weapons of Mass Destruction, but far more alarming: Iran likely manufactured and gave Gadaffi those WMDs! Is there no Evil behind which these Persian Monsters are not lurking? Here are all of the sources the Post reporters cite for this claim:

U.S. officials said . . .  several sources . . . A U.S. official with access to classified information . . . a third U.S. official said. . . .One U.S. official said . . . .another U.S. official said.

- Advertisement -

The Post's own Ombudsman has repeatedly bashed the paper for its excessive, ill-explained, reckless use of anonymous sources (which violates even the Post"s own non-public anonymity rules), and has insisted that the paper's "credibility" -- to the extent such a thing can be said to exist -- is being steadily eroded by this practice. Here, the Post screeches a sensationalized, highly consequential story (it even proudly notes these disclosures "may exacerbate international tensions over the country's alleged pursuit of weapons of mass destruction") based exclusively on anonymous U.S. official sources, and barely pretends to explain why anonymity is justified (that the accusations are "sensitive" is an added reason to ensure accountability, not protect the government accusers with anonymity).

The most journalistically baseless reason to provide anonymity is to allow U.S. officials to disseminate official government claims with no accountability -- that's called serving as a propaganda vehicle -- and that is exactly what the Post does here. Of course, Iraq-like reporting has long been used to hype every Iranian Threat, but traditionally, it's been David Sanger or Michael Gordon at The New York Times  through whom these anonymous government decrees about the Growing Persian Menace have been laundered as intrepid reporting. So congratulations to the Post for scooping the NYT in being gratefully used this way by the U.S. Government. In Washington media circles, being chosen by U.S. officials as the mindless stenographic vessel for the dissemination of anonymous official statements is an honor higher than the Pulitzer. As Seymour Hersh detailed yesterday in an interview on Democracy Now, exactly the same precincts that took the lead in disseminating false claims about Saddam are being used to do so with Iran, and that certainly includes the pro-Iraq-War, supremely neoconservative Washington Post.

Read the rest of this article at Salon


- Advertisement -

View Ratings | Rate It


Glenn Greenwald is one of three co-founding editors of The Intercept. He is a journalist, constitutional lawyer, and author of four New York Times best-selling books on politics and law. His most recent book, No Place (more...)

Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon Share Author on Social Media   Go To Commenting

The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Writers Guidelines

Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
- Advertisement -

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

HSBC, too big to jail, is the new poster child for US two-tiered justice system

US investigates possible WikiLeaks leaker for "communicating with the enemy"

Prosecution of Anonymous activists highlights war for Internet control

The myth of Obama's "blunders" and "weakness"

The Remarkable, Unfathomable Ignorance of Debbie Wasserman Schultz

4 quick points about the MSNBC discussion