In case you visit the Tehran Bureau site --- part of the Public Broadcasting Service organization --- you may, like myself, be interested in getting some questions answered, like the following:
What is an American government organization doing funding a news source that exclusively focuses on Iran?
Is it like Voice of America?
Is the CIA involved in some capacity?
Is it allowed to present commentary or news items that don't support America's military adventures in Afghanistan and Iraq?
Is it supposed to support America's foreign policy as far as it concerns Iran?
Or is it a fully independent news organization fully protected under the constitution of the United States and therefore allowed to question and protest America's foreign policy?
Just what is Tehran Bureau up to?
If America was to start dropping bombs on Iran how will Tehran Bureau cover the news? Will it support or protest the killing of Iranian civilians which most certainly will happen due to "collateral damage"?
Recently I had the following exchange with one of the editors via Tehran Bureau's comments feature.
What do you think, is Tehran Bureau unbiased or is it part of the bomb Iran crowd? Judge for yourself.
The whole thing started when I commented on this posting in the Press Roundup section of Tehran Bureau:
"Is Iran About to Test a Nuclear Bomb In North Korea?
Reza Kahlili, Pseudonymous Ex-CIA Spy (Fox News) | Dec 30
On December 24, a research report from the South Korean Foreign Ministry Institute indicated that North Korea would carry out another nuclear bomb test after the beginning of the year. -- South Korean media reported earlier this month that the North was digging a tunnel in preparation for such a nuclear test.
At the same time, reports from inside Iran indicate that a team of Iranian nuclear scientists have been sent to North Korea and that the two governments have agreed on a joint nuclear test in North Korea with a substantial financial reward for the Kim Jong-Il government.
It is no secret that Iran and North Korea are collaborating in a ballistic missile program. The North Koreans provided Iran with the technology and know-how to build the Shahab-3 medium-range ballistic missile, which is a copy of the Nodong-1 missile. The Shahb- 3 missile has a range of 2,000 kilometers (1,240 miles) covering all of the U.S. military bases in the Middle East and the entire country of Israel.
Most alarming, recent WikiLeaks releases reveal that Iran obtained a cache of advanced missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads (based on a Russian design) from North Korea. Now, for the first time, Iran has the capability to target every capital in Western Europe.
This was my comment regarding this posting:
Why are you posting misinformation that has been thoroughly shot down by informed individuals? At least provide links to articles that have pointed out that this news item is totally false? No, I won't provide those links...that's your job.
"Most alarming, recent WikiLeaks releases reveal that Iran obtained a cache of advanced missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads (based on a Russian design) from North Korea. Now, for the first time, Iran has the capability to target every capital in Western Europe."
And the source is Fox News!
Just exactly what are you attempting achieve with this post and quote? To reinforce the misinformation?
Sloppy, unprofessional, and bad news reporting.
Mohammad Alireza / December 31, 2010 5:57 PM
Mr. Alireza, it seems that you have misread the press roundup. The excerpt to which you refer is not a news item. It is the last in a series of six opinion items, clearly so labeled. If the intent was to "reinforce the misinformation," it could have been positioned much more prominently or, indeed, (mis)presented as a news item. The intent is rather to track the narratives being promulgated by media outlets with various ideological leanings and affiliations. Given the nature of those outlets and their interests, the top of each roundup advises, "Tehran Bureau has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy. The inclusion of various opinions in no way implies their endorsement by Tehran Bureau." This item in particular is identified as being authored by a "Pseudonymous Ex-CIA Spy," which should be caveat enough to take it with a very large grain of salt.
The fact is that the roundup has excerpted multiple items in recent weeks that cast serious doubt on the North Korean "advanced missile" claim, which happens to be a matter of only subsidiary interest in the present excerpt. The excerpt's primary interest is that it evidences a new narrative concerning supposed plans for a collaborative nuclear test. If the narrative has any staying power, the roundup will of course present items that offer countervailing views, as they arise.
Dan Geist / December 31, 2010 8:19 PM
Thank you for your response Mr. Geist, which contains such, nuanced sophistication that I had to make sure we were referring to the same Press Roundup section. Unfortunately it seems the Press Roundup that you see is very different to the one I read.
Generally speaking the Press Roundup section is late on posting news items, provides very limited coverage, rarely provides a rounded presentation so that the reader can become familiar with influential warmongers like Michael Ledeen, William Kristol, and other neocons, plus members of Congress and the Senate that have a say on funding for PBS … and are MEK supporters.
As for countervailing views, how about posting items by Sasan Fayasmanesh, or Noam Chomsky, or Gareth Porter, or Juan Cole, or Robert Dreyfuss, or Ray McGovern, or Abbas Edalat? Even though Dr. Mahammad Sahimi's articles are excellent the missing voices of those just listed is clear evidence that a site that focuses entirely on Iran is leaving out vast chunks of view points that disagree with America's foreign policy as it concerns Iran. Is this intentional? Will it threaten your funding if you post "anti-American" commentary by individuals that clearly would qualify as "Iran experts"?
You write: "The excerpt's primary interest is that it evidences a new narrative concerning supposed plans for a collaborative nuclear test."
"Supposed plans" which are referred to by a very shady character and you are pointing at his article be cause he "evidences"?!?
Do you really think Iran is going to participate in a joint nuclear test with the North Koreans? Do you realize how stupid this would be and how much it reeks of disinformation?
Come on Dan, admit it, you believe Iran is building a nuclear bomb, don't you?
Mohammad Alireza / January 2, 2011 1:09 AM
Mr. Alireza, Thank you for revealing your true colors. You have made clear that you perceive no difference whatsoever between actual news and opinion. We can only conclude that you are an employee of either or both (a) Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting and (b) Fox News. As far as truth value goes, it hardly makes a difference.
By the way, you would serve your masters better if you bothered to actually take the time to read and comprehend what others write before commenting here. I am confident that our readers who actually care about the communicative process understand the point I made: "Kahlili"'s column evidences the promulgation of a certain new narrative. That is very different from providing evidence for the dubious claim embodied in that narrative. Do you have the intellectual capacity to understand the distinction, Mr. Alireza?
On the other hand, I am most gratified to learn that someone with such a low opinion of our press roundup nonetheless finds it so compelling that he actually reads down to and comments on its thirty-third item. Thanks to you, I am a very proud rounder-up tonight.
Dan Geist / January 2, 2011 8:45 AM
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