Monday, August 26, 2013

Remember when journalists were skeptics?

This New York Times editorial shows that wishful thinking continues to trump hard facts at the Old Grey Lady.

Social media are an unorthodox, but useful, way to start to get a sense of Iran’s new president, Hassan Rouhani. In a flurry of English-language posts on Twitter since his election in June, Mr. Rouhani has given reason to hope that he is serious about resolving disputes with the United States and other major powers, most urgently about Iran’s nuclear program.

We don’t want further tension. Both nations need 2 think more abt future & try 2 sit down & find solutions to past issues & rectify things,” he, or somebody writing in his name, said on June 17. On the nuclear program, he commented: “Our program is transparent, but we can take more steps to make it clear to world that our nuclear program is within intl regulations.”

This seemingly reasonable outlook — refreshing after the ugly, confrontational approach of his predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad — has been reinforced by other recent moves. The most significant is Mr. Rouhani’s appointment of Mohammad Javad Zarif as foreign minister. In addition to being educated in the United States and serving many years as Iran’s ambassador at the United Nations, Mr. Zarif has been at the center of several rounds of secret negotiations over the years to try to overcome decades of enmity between the two countries.
The Times seems to have a very hard time distinguishing between propaganda and reality, which should be the first thing any serious news organization does. Today, Iran continues its secret weaponization program aimed at placing nuclear warheads on missiles; it continues its secret laser-based uranium enrichment program, and it is covering up evidence of the high explosives testing. These all continue today and they are not under IAEA inspection.

This means that the second Rouhani tweet quoted so approvingly by the NYT is a baldfaced lie. And once we know that Rouhani is a liar, the entire complexion of his public relations blitz turns from evidence of real change in Iran to evidence of a deliberate plan of concealing its nuclear activities from the West.

In other words, the Times should be using Rouhani's tweets as evidence that Iran is now playing a new card based on deception rather than falling for that very deception.

The Times' shows how enraptured they are with Rouhani in the end of the op-ed, (also noted by The New York Sun:)

President Rouhani is sending strong signals that he will dispatch a pragmatic, experienced team to the table when negotiations resume, possibly next month. That’s when we should begin to see answers to key questions: How much time and creative thinking are he and President Obama willing to invest in a negotiated solution, the only rational outcome? How much political risk are they willing to take, which for Mr. Obama must include managing the enmity that Israel and many members of Congress feel toward Iran?
Israel's enmity towards Iran is the problem? Has the NYT ever spent five seconds reading the official Iranian news agencies? In just the past couple of days, official Iranian media claimed that Israel was behind the chemical weapons attacks in Syria, Israel is also behind the bombings in Tripoli, the US is behind all Arab states' turmoil, and an Iranian general threatened to attack both the US and Israel.

This is the new, moderate Iran that the Times is praising.




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