Thursday, March 09, 2006

UH 330 Media Review No. 3

More and more, I’ve come to realize that it’s all a matter of spin. Three articles on the United Nations Security Council meeting on Iran’s nuclear program have vastly different takes on the issue. This shouldn’t be surprising, of course. We all know that there is no such thing as one truth, every person or entity involved in an issue will have their own versions of truth. Some will, naturally, be outright lies. Someone will be subtle twists on the truth. But many are simply the truth, just viewed in a different light than what we are used to.

The first article, from CNN, is perhaps the most blatantly anti-Iranian. At first glance, it seems relatively balanced, but after comparing it to articles from international sources, the bias is quite evident. All three articles have more or less the same details when it comes to what has occurred thus far, the real stories are in the quotes. The CNN article has a seemingly damning quote from Javad Vaeedi, the deputy head of international affairs for Iran’s Supreme National Security Council. “The United States may have the power to cause harm and pain but it is also susceptible to harm and pain … So if the United States wishes to choose that path, let the ball roll.” While Vaeedi’s comment ostensibly requires action on the part of the United States before any retaliation from Iran, it is certainly an aggressive and hostile comment to include in the article, probably one included to make Iran seem a worthy enemy, as it seems nearly inevitable that they will be the next invaded by our military. While the article quite clearly states that Iran is enriching uranium in only 10 centrifuges, not the thousands required for weapons production, it goes on to quote Greg Schulte, United States ambassador to the IAEA, as saying “their behavior has only contributed to mounting international concerns about its pursuit of nuclear weapons.” Again, no lies, but that quote is definitely misleading in light of how little uranium is being enriched.

The BBC article takes a much more neutral stance. It notes a lack of cooperation on the part of Iran, quoting Sergey Lavrov, Russian Foreign Minister, as saying the Iranians are “doing nothing to enable the problem to be examined calmly and professionally.” Lavrov also notes that “[the IAEA has] a thorough knowledge of all the technical details of Iran’s nuclear programme and without those technical details it’s extremely difficult to take the right decisions,” arguing that the matter should not be referred to the Security Council. Alluding to potential action from the United States, Condoleeza Rice is quoted as saying that “we may face no greater challenge from a single country than from Iran,” apparently forgetting those pesky terrorists in Afghanistian and Iraq. Ambassador John Bolton is even more ominous, warning that “the president has said repeatedly that no options are off the table,” which seems yet another way to prepare for the American public for an invasion of Iran.

The Al Jazeera article is particularly damning of America. And they even manage to do it by using more complete quotes than the BBC, but not entirely different ones. That little quote from Rice about Iran being a threat? It continues, “ … whose policies are directed at developing a Middle East that would be 180 degrees different than the Middle East we would like to see developed.” Of course, Bush’s first campaign promised that we would not be in the business of nation building. But he never did mention region building. Sneaky, that Bush. The Al Jazeera article also makes the Russian Foreign Minister seem a bit more sinister, adding in this quotation: “We aren’t reminding who was right and who was not in Iraq, although the answer is obvious.” Even the Russians know we’re fishing for a reason to invade Iran, and it’s just as obvious to them as it should be to us that it’s a ridiculous reason.