Local Stories, Events
Ref. : Civic Events
Ref. : Arts & Education Events
Ref. : Public Service Notices
Books, Films, Arts & Education
Ref. : Letters to the editor
Health Care & Environment
11.15 The long read: The plastic backlash: what's behind our sudden rage – and will it make a difference? [the world wants to throw-up...]
11.15 Claws out: crab fishermen sue 30 oil firms over climate change [workers are waking-up...]
11.15 Trump administration to cut air pollution from heavy-duty trucks [behaving ignorantly again...]
11.12 This Land is Your Land: The Zinke effect: how the US interior department became a tool of industry [behaving ignorantly again...]
11.11 Trump responds to worst fires in California’s history by threatening to withhold federal aid [behaving ignorantly again...]
11.11 Interior department sued for ‘secretive process’ in at-risk species assessment [behaving ignorantly again...]
11.11 Keystone XL pipeline: judge rules government 'jumped the gun' and orders halt [behaving ignorantly again...]
News Media Matters
US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'
11.15 Democrats Won Big. Can They Go Bold, Too? [it's about suppressing the influence and leadership by Republican-like Democrats who counsel 'íncremental' (no) change, such as Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, Hillary Clinton, Chuck Shumer and Joe Biden]
11.15 Pentagon Officials Forced to Make Fewer Public Appearances to Avoid Provoking Trump [...by revealing Trump's huuuge ignorance]
11.15 REPUBLICANS USED A BILL ABOUT WOLVES TO AVOID A VOTE ON YEMEN WAR [if there are 'defense industry' profits to be made—including congress-critter insider-trading—and political 'donations' to be had, we mustn't stop killing innocent civilians!]
11.09 Trump administration blocks asylum claims by those crossing border illegally [Making America Less Great Again...]
11.14 The Guardian view on Yemen’s misery: the west is complicit [WAR CRIMES]
11.10 US stops refuelling of Saudi-led coalition aircraft in Yemen war [But there are a few children still alive. It's too soon!]
Economics, Crony Capitalism
11.15 The Earth is in a death spiral. It will take radical action to save us [fossil fuel burning, un-recyclable plastic production/use and methane gas release must cease ASAP.]
International & Futurism
11.15 Cuba to pull doctors out of Brazil after President-elect Bolsonaro comments [terms must be negotiated for fairness to Cuba's health professionals without disruption of healthcare for Brazil's poor]
11.14 'Appalling' Khashoggi audio shocked Saudi intelligence – Erdogan [Exposing a psychopath?]
What Did Ahmadinejad Really Say?
Originally published in ConsortiumNews.com yesterday, 19 September 2009
It is an important principle of journalism that when someone makes a statement, especially a controversial one with grave implications, the comment should be put in the fullest possible context so the reader can make an informed judgment. But that rule doesn’t seem to apply when the New York Times writes about Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
In a front-page story on Saturday, the Times three times (once in a sub-head and twice in the article) reported that Ahmadinejad called the World War II Holocaust of European Jews a “lie” during an annual “Quds Day” speech showing solidarity with the Palestinian people. But the Times offered no fuller context for the quote.
The White House and other U.S. officials reacted to the “lie” remark, which also was featured in other Western news accounts, with understandable outrage. However, Iran’s Press TV reported that “Ahmadinejad did not deny the Holocaust, but raised some questions about the matter, asking Western powers for a logical answer.”
Press TV quoted Ahmadinejad as saying: "If the Holocaust, as you claim, is true, why don't you allow a probe into the issue?" Press TV added that Ahmadinejad was “calling the Zionist regime a symbol of lies and deception founded on ‘colonialist’ attitudes. The Iranian president also asked why Palestinians had to pay for the genocide of Jews at the hands of Europeans.”
So what did Ahmadinejad really say?
In the English-language account of the speech published on the official Web site of the Iranian president, Ahmadinejad calls the “pretext” for founding the state of Israel “a lie,” but he doesn’t spell out precisely what he means by “pretext.” In the context, the word seems to refer to the Holocaust, but arguably his reference to "a lie which relies on ... a mythical claim" could be about Biblical claims to the land of Palestine that Zionist organizations cite.
As Press TV says, Ahmadinejad frames his skeptical comments about the Holocaust within Western hostility toward the scholarship of some European and American Holocaust skeptics (often called "deniers") who dispute details such as the estimated number of six million Jews killed by the Nazis.
But some of that supposed scholarship has been widely viewed as an excuse by neo-fascists and anti-Semites to diminish the horror of the Nazi extermination campaign against Jews and other groups considered undesirable by Adolf Hitler and his German Third Reich.
If you wish to make up your own mind about Ahmadinejad’s “lie” comment, here is his office’s English-language summary of the speech, which was delivered in Farsi, the Persian language:
Though interpretations of Ahmadinejad’s words can be debated, two things appear undeniable. First, Ahmadinejad continues to make provocative statements that are offensive to many people around the world.
And second, the New York Times and other Western news organizations are failing to live up to their own principles of objectivity, apparently out of an intense animosity toward Iran’s president.
Shortly after Iran's disputed presidential election in June, a “news analysis” coauthored by New York Times executive editor Bill Keller opened up with an old joke about Ahmadinejad looking into a mirror and saying “male lice to the right, female lice to the left,” a reference to his rise from the street and his conservative Islamic religious views.
Later, the Times editors joined defeated candidate Mir-Hossein Mousavi in rejecting the notion of a vote recount by Iran’s Guardian Council, which oversees elections. The Mousavi camp instead demanded an entirely new election, which they failed to get.
“Even a full recount would be suspect,” the Times wrote in an editorial. “How could anyone be sure that the ballots were valid?”
But the resistance of Mousavi and his backers to a partial or complete recount prevented the uncovering of solid evidence that might have proven that Ahmadinejad did rig the election, a point that has become conventional wisdom in the Western media but which lacks solid proof (unlike, for instance, the widespread evidence of fraud in the recent Afghan election.)
Mousavi's rigging case rests primarily on the argument that Ahmadinejad ran up large majorities in poor districts because he had distributed food and raised pay, tactics that may be criticized as the workings of "a political machine," but normally don't fall under the definition of electoral fraud. [For more on the Iranian election, see Consortiumnews.com's "Taking Sides on Iran."]
As tensions with Iran mount, it is easy for U.S. news organizations to cast aside journalistic principles in favor of looking tough and patriotic. In a similar context, when America's top enemy was Iraq's dictator Saddam Hussein, the Times and other major U.S. news outlets helped whip up a war fever and contributed to a political climate that equated questioning U.S. government claims with a lack of patriotism and even sympathy for Hussein.
The chief consequence of that violation of journalistic standards was an aggressive war that has left more than 4,300 U.S. soldiers dead along with estimates of hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqis.
Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. His latest book, Neck Deep: The Disastrous Presidency of George W. Bush, was written with two of his sons, Sam and Nat, and can be ordered at neckdeepbook.com. His two previous books, Secrecy & Privilege: The Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq and Lost History: Contras, Cocaine, the Press & 'Project Truth' are also available there. Or go to Amazon.com.
This article is republished in the Baltimore Chronicle with permission of the author.
Copyright © 2009 The Baltimore News Network. All rights reserved.
Republication or redistribution of Baltimore Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without their prior written consent.
Baltimore News Network, Inc., sponsor of this web site, is a nonprofit organization and does not make political endorsements. The opinions expressed in stories posted on this web site are the authors' own.
This story was published on September 19, 2009.