Journalists Complain That Reporting on Israel Is Not Misleading Enough

June 15 2021

As anyone knowledgeable about the Israel-Palestinian conflict knows, the Western press often presents a distorted picture of events, and has been known to misrepresent the truth wildly. But, according to a recent open letter bearing the signatures of numerous journalists—including such influential figures as the Pulitzer Prize-winner Nikole Hannah-Jones—the news media should be doing more to shape its reporting into a “narrative” that demonizes Israel. Noah Rothman writes:

The almost total lack of curiosity in the press over the sequence of events that resulted in May’s eleven-day conflict is an abrogation of the press’s responsibility to its audience. But that abrogation is exactly what these reporters want. The activist journalists who signed this letter seem to believe that the credulous repetition of a simpler narrative—just another uprising against oppressive Israelis—is best practice.

This leads us to yet another ponderous assertion made by these self-described journalists: Western journalism tends “disproportionately [to] amplify Israeli narratives while suppressing Palestinian ones.” As evidence for this staggeringly blinkered claim, they cite the media’s efforts to fact-check Israeli politicians (which proves the opposite of the point they’re trying to make). . . . The very notion that the news media somehow [cannot] “accurately reflect the plight of the Palestinians” is so solipsistic that one has to wonder what reality these reporters inhabit.

But perhaps rationality has been subordinated to emotion. After all, as Vox reported, progressives in government and the press have come to view the Palestinian cause as an extension of the Black Lives Matter movement. They use BLM’s campaign against police violence as a heuristic to navigate a conflict they don’t understand and which they don’t seem to want to understand. Rather, they want it to comport with a childishly simplistic, Marxist-flavored narrative about how power dynamics explain the world.

Call that what you will, but you can’t call it reporting. What these alleged journalists want isn’t journalism. They are on a “sacred” mission to promote “contextualized truth.” Another way to say “contextualized truth” is “lie.”

Read more at Commentary

More about: Black Lives Matter, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Media


Leaked Emails Point to an Iranian Influence Operation That Reaches into the U.S. Government

Sept. 27 2023

As the negotiations leading up to the 2015 nuclear deal began in earnest, Tehran launched a major effort to cultivate support abroad for its positions, according to a report by Jay Solomon:

In the spring of 2014, senior Iranian Foreign Ministry officials initiated a quiet effort to bolster Tehran’s image and positions on global security issues—particularly its nuclear program—by building ties with a network of influential overseas academics and researchers. They called it the Iran Experts Initiative. The scope and scale of the IEI project has emerged in a large cache of Iranian government correspondence and emails.

The officials, working under the moderate President Hassan Rouhani, congratulated themselves on the impact of the initiative: at least three of the people on the Foreign Ministry’s list were, or became, top aides to Robert Malley, the Biden administration’s special envoy on Iran, who was placed on leave this June following the suspension of his security clearance.

In March of that year, writes Solomon, one of these officials reported that “he had gained support for the IEI from two young academics—Ariane Tabatabai and Dina Esfandiary—following a meeting with them in Prague.” And here the story becomes particularly worrisome:

Tabatabai currently serves in the Pentagon as the chief of staff for the assistant secretary of defense for special operations, a position that requires a U.S. government security clearance. She previously served as a diplomat on Malley’s Iran nuclear negotiating team after the Biden administration took office in 2021. Esfandiary is a senior advisor on the Middle East and North Africa at the International Crisis Group, a think tank that Malley headed from 2018 to 2021.

Tabatabai . . . on at least two occasions checked in with Iran’s Foreign Ministry before attending policy events, according to the emails. She wrote to Mostafa Zahrani, [an Iranian scholar in close contact with the Foreign Ministry and involved in the IEI], in Farsi on June 27, 2014, to say she’d met Saudi Prince Turki al-Faisal—a former ambassador to the U.S.—who expressed interest in working together and invited her to Saudi Arabia. She also said she’d been invited to attend a workshop on Iran’s nuclear program at Ben-Gurion University in Israel. . . .

Elissa Jobson, Crisis Group’s chief of advocacy, said the IEI was an “informal platform” that gave researchers from different organizations an opportunity to meet with IPIS and Iranian officials, and that it was supported financially by European institutions and one European government. She declined to name them.

Read more at Semafor

More about: Iran nuclear deal, U.S. Foreign policy