Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The US media and Ahmadinejad.

There appears to be a rule in the US media that if the government have decided that a certain person is to be treated as as America's latest enemy then no-one is allowed to have any contact with this person without first proving their credentials by setting out to make the point that they accept without doubt the way the person has been portrayed by the Bush administration.

It is apparent in every word of Scott Pelley's interview with Ahmadinejad, where Pelley started from the premise that every allegation made by the Bush administration was simply an indisputable fact:

PELLEY: Mr. President, you say that the two nations are very close to one another, but it is an established fact now that Iranian bombs and Iranian know-how are killing Americans in Iraq. You have American blood on your hands. Why?

AHMADINEJAD: Well, this is what the American officials are saying. Again, American officials wherever around the world that they encounter a problem which they fail to resolve, instead of accepting that, they prefer to accuse others.
This same theme was picked up by Lee C. Bollinger, president of New York's Columbia University who, having invited Ahmadinejad as a guest, felt he had to prove his credentials by resorting to outright insult of the man he had invited to address his students.

He referred to Ahmadinejad as someone who exhibited "all the signs of a petty and cruel dictator" and called him either “brazenly provocative or astonishingly uneducated.”

For Ahmadinejad to be a dictator he would have to have absolute power in Iran and, as Ahmadinejad isn't actually the man in charge in Iran, Bollinger's accusation came across as petty and mean spirited.

But Bollinger was out to prove to the US press pack that he loathed his guest as much as they did.
"I do expect you to exhibit the fanatical mind-set that characterizes what you say and do.”

“Today I feel all the weight of the modern civilized world yearning to express the revulsion at what you stand for,” Mr. Bollinger told Mr. Ahmadinejad. “I only wish I could do better.”

The auditorium erupted in thunderous applause.

I watched the event live on C-Span and thought, with the exception of a ridiculous claim that there are no homosexuals in Iran, that Ahmadinejad won the battle on points.

He certainly made all the points that he might have wished to make before arriving at the university, if the points he wanted to make were to undermine the Bush regime's claims that he is out to develop a nuclear weapon.

Ahmadinejad countered Bollinger's speech and certainly won over some parts of the room:

Mr. Ahmadinejad began: “At the outset, I want to complain a bit about the person who read this political statement against me. In Iran, tradition requires that when we invite a person to be a speaker, we actually respect our students and the professors by allowing them to make their own judgment and we don’t think it’s necessary before the speech is even given to come in with a series of claims…”

The room erupted in applause.

He then, during a question and answer session, addressed whether or not his country was attempting to obtain a nuclear bomb.

He said, some “two or three” world powers want to “monopolize all science or knowledge” and “they expect the Iranian nation to turn to others for fuel, science and knowledge that are indigenous to itself” and “to humble itself.”

He asked of the United States: “If you have created the fifth generation of atomic bombs and tested them already, what position are you in to question the peaceful purposes of others who want nuclear power? We don’t believe in nuclear weapons, period. It goes against the whole grain of humanity.”

He added that politicians interested in nuclear weapons “are backward, retarded.”

And the central theme of the hypocrisy of the United States - who have ignored the NNPT by developing a new range of bunker busting nuclear weapons - whilst demanding that he desist from enriching uranium, which is his right under the NNPT, is certainly a powerful one.

He also made a claim which I have not heard before and will have to do some research on. He claimed that Iran would not enrich uranium above 5%, which I presume means they will enrich below the level needed for a bomb.

He certainly did not come across as someone displaying a "fanatical mindset" and even ended his session by inviting all of the students to visit Iran and to go and see a university of their choice.

What was fascinating about both Bollinger and Pelley's style of approaching Ahmadinejad is that, had the US media been a fraction as aggressive as this in pursuing the truth from US politicians before the invasion of Iraq, then the US would possibly not be in the quagmire it currently finds itself in in the Middle East.

However, once again, the aggression is used to shore up the administration's claims, to accept the rhetoric of an administration of proven liars as if it were fact, and to approach anyone who questions what the neo-cons are claiming as people exhibiting a "fanatical mindset".

Ahmadinejad, despite the fact he's not actually in charge of Iran, must be treated by all as the new Hitler. That's the only way within the American system that you can be seen to be "fair and balanced".

Click title for full article.


theBhc said...

95% enrichment is needed for nuclear bombs.

Kel said...

Thanks Bhc. I looked it up today. It really does make the Bush camps claims appear simply f@cking ludicrous.

We can, of course, ascertain whether he is enriching to a 5% or a 95% level.