How al-Reuters works within tyrannies Updated

Bryan Posted at 9:29 pm on December 12, 2006

Eason Jordan confessed in April 2003 that CNN looked the other way rather than report Saddam’s many crimes against humanity, in order to maintain the network’s access to Iraq. I’ve always suspected that that confession could probably have worked just as well for AP, Reuters and any other nominally Western news agency that also worked within Saddam’s Iraq, and indeed within most if not all other less than free societies. Those agencies just didn’t confess. Entities like Saddam’s Iraq simply don’t have the same view of press freedom that the West has. They see the press either as a nuisance to be crushed or a tool to be used. Lately, probably more the latter than the former.

And so it seems to be with al-Reuters, which is reporting on Iran’s Holocaust denial conference. I started digging after I stopped laughing at the way Reuters’ Parisa Hafezi characterized David Duke, in a story about the conference.

Among the participants was U.S. academic David Duke, a former Louisiana Republican Representative. He praised Iran for hosting the event. (h/t LGF for the catch)

David Duke, an “academic?” That’s a bit like calling me a wing for the Dallas Mavericks. You can say it all you want, but saying it doesn’t make it true.

I got to wondering, where might Parisa Hafezi have gotten the idea that David Duke is an “academic?” Well, other than from Duke himself, who is in Tehran meeting with fellow anti-Semitic ghouls and “academics.” He has to put something on his business card, and “racist wingnut” probably won’t slip past the editors at Kinkos.

The klanner does have a website. It does call him an “academic.” His “academic” credential (note the singular) consists of a PhD from “the MAUP University system in Kiev, Ukraine, the largest university system in Ukraine.” I guess the MAUP is nothing to sneeze at, but, what, Duke couldn’t get Yale to take him? Yale did take the boolah boolah mullah, after all? If anything, by comparison to him David Duke comes off as moderate.

Parisa Hafezi’s article does note Duke’s past (?) association with the KKK, but it’s secondary to his being a “US academic.” Ask yourself, what reporter in their right mind sees David Duke as a “US academic” first and a former Grand Whatever of the KKK second? One who is putting lipstick on the pig that is Iran’s disgusting mass murder denial festival.

Parisa Hafezi’s story runs two pages. The first is where you’ll find Duke and, in general, where you’ll find the Iranian government’s perspective. It couches the conference as an exercise in free speech, to earn points with the better angels of the West’s civil rights nature. On the second page, which most readers won’t bother with, you’ll find criticism of the conference. But the only critics quoted by name–Jooooos. There are Jews who get a bit more prominent play in the story–second graph, as a matter of fact. But those Jews are, like Duke and Iran’s president and the conference participants, holocaust deniers. They’re waaaaay out on the fringe of, well, everything imaginable.

So what’s my point in all this, other than to poke fun at David Duke’s academic credential? To point out that Reuters’ Parisa Hafezi has published, on Reuters’ byline, the closest thing to the Iranian government’s point of view that won’t show up on Mahmoud’s letterhead. A Google search on “Parisa Hafezi” turns up a mine of stories couched from that perspective, more or less. This is how Parisa Hafezi can continue to operate within the tyranny that is the Islamic Republic of Iran, and this is the product that Reuters puts out to its thousands of outlets around the world. Hafezi is useful to Iran, by publishing its perspective (though it’s often tin-eared and cluess, as in calling David Duke a “US academic”) as hard news.

Would Reuters publish a news story written from a more or less American government perspective, like it does routinely with the work of Parisa Hafezi?

Don’t make me laugh. Again.

But this is a little window into how Reuters and AP can operate within, say, Iran today and, say, Hezbollah’s stronghold in Lebanon tomorrow. Or in Gaza the day after that. None of these places grant true press freedom. Reuters’ reporters toe the tyrants’ line, either because they’re working for the tyrant or are under the tyrant’s heel. Reuters’ Western editors have to be aware of this, yet they do nothing about it. They publish the work of local stringers that amounts to official government (or insurgent, or Hezbollah) propaganda. We read such journalism coming from Iraq every day. When we challenge it, they sniff at us. But not at the crap their local stringers and scribes are doling out.

At least Eason Jordan confessed to the crime.

Update: David Duke, “US academic,” tells the holocaust-denying crowd in Tehran that the Nazis didn’t use gas chambers to kill Jews. Apparently the MAUP laureate doesn’t know how to run a Google image search.





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