Iran And CNN

CNN: The New Mouthpiece Of The Iranian Regime?

Today, The Inquisitr welcomes back Noah Beck for another intriguing report on Iran, as we examine the recent coverage of that nation on CNN. We all know the dangers of allowing the Ayatollahs of Iran to get their hands on nuclear weapons, as Noah explained in great detail in his recent article, “Iran Knows What the West Forgot: Charm is Cheap.”

But there is more to Iran than the bomb. Iran is a rogue nation with dreams of global dominance that is ruthlessly controlled by a cadre of fanatical religious leaders. Their goal is simple and they will gladly repeat it openly and without hesitation. They want to make Islam the only religion for all of mankind to usher in the return of the Mahdi, who will create an Islamic paradise on earth. Of course, what they plan to do with the six billion non-Muslims and the six million Israelis who inhabit this planet is a question CNN is unwilling to even ask.

Some Americans may say, “What? Obama told us Islam is the religion of peace and all the unrest in the Middle East is because Israel has settlements and won’t give half of Jerusalem back to the Palestinians. If Israel would just make concessions and sign a peace treaty, Iran wouldn’t need a bomb.”

However, former Iranian President Ahmadinejad says otherwise:

“The final move has begun. We are in the middle of a world revolution managed by this dear (12th Imam). A great awakening is unfolding. One can witness the hand of Imam in managing it.”

To make sure everyone understood exactly what he meant, Ahmadinejad added:

“We will soon see a new Middle East materializing without America and the Zionist regime and there will be no room for world arrogance (the West) in it.”

But fast forward two years and everything has changed. Ahmadinejad is gone and he has been replaced with a media darling named Hassan Rouhani. Iran’s involvement in Syria is ignored, Iran’s interference in Iraq is overlooked, Iran’s financing of global terrorism is barely mentioned, the threats to wipe Israel off the face of the earth are an inaudible whisper, and Christiane Amanpour of CNN assures us that the new Iranian President, Hassan Rouhani, told her the Holocaust actually happened.

Which brings us to the heart of the matter. Why is CNN providing cover for the genocidal ambitions of Iran? That is the question of the day and I will leave it to my colleague Noah Beck to detail the extent of the problem.

CNN — the New Mouthpiece of the Iranian Regime?

by Noah Beck

Al-Jazeera bought access to US public opinion when it purchased Current TV from Al Gore, but it faces stiff competition from CNN when it comes to misleading viewers about the Middle East. Since the recent UN General Assembly, CNN has promoted an inaccurate, re-branded image of the Iranian regime on at least three major programs.

CNN’s positive spin on Iran by so many of its “journalists” is collectively staggering. Was CNN so inept and/or biased that it inadvertently promoted the Iranian regime at every opportunity? Or is there another explanation for the blatant, pro-Iranian slant? Consider each program.

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR

When Christiane Amanpour interviewed Iranian president Hassan Rouhani, she asked him about his views on the Holocaust. His predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, frequently doubted the Nazi genocide against the Jews, so Rouhani’s views on the issue might indicate whether the Iranian regime, under a more palatable facade, has substantively improved. The title of a post on Amanpour’s blog reports “Iran’s new president: Yes, the Holocaust happened.”

But, as CAMERA noted, multiple independent translations by Farsi speakers conflict with CNN’s translation and agree with Fars News Agency’s conclusion that CNN mistranslated Rouhani’s vague reference to “historical events” as “the Holocaust.” Indeed, the fact that Fars — which CNN itself considers a “semi-official” news agency with ties to the Iranian government — rejects any conclusion that “the Holocaust” was explicitly acknowledged should have caused CNN to question its conclusions and issue a correction.

But despite being challenged also by a Wall Street Journal editorial, Newsweek’s The Daily Beast, and Al Monitor, Amanpour has stood by the accuracy of CNN’s translation (which reportedly came from a translator hired by the Iranian government), and has refused to issue any corrections. CNN apparently wants to convince viewers that the new Iranian president does not share the anti-Jewish, ahistorical, and extremist sensibilities that have defined the Iranian regime for the last few decades.

To make matters worse, CNN’s written summary of the interview excludes a highly objectionable part of Rouhani’s answer. In the same breath that Rouhani supposedly acknowledges the Holocaust, he suggests that the Jewish claim to the land of Israel is based only on the Holocaust, and — in equally twisted moral and historical logic — suggests an equivalence between the Holocaust and the Israeli “occupation” of Palestinians. Indeed, a far more accurate headline for Amanpour’s CNN blog would read: “Iran’s New President: Any Holocaust Is No Justification For Israel’s Existence And Was Like Israel’s Occupation Of Palestine.”

Worse still, CNN has continuously replayed the clip of Rouhani’s purported Holocaust “condemnation” to promote Christiane Amanpour’s program. This brainwashing-style repetition reinforces the inference that CNN has some not-so-hidden agenda to promote the repackaged Iranian regime.

Unfortunately, CNN’s biased Iran reporting and distortions continued on two other programs. Both programs featured Ciamak Morsadegh, Iran’s only Jewish Member of Parliament, as their “star witness” testifying to how Iran is Disneyland for Jews. Neither program questioned whether Morsadegh might be a shill for the Iranian regime or how free any Iranian parliamentarian (much less the token Jewish one) is to criticize Iranian policy. No dissenting views, fact-checking, or context were included to correct or balance Morsadegh’s far-fetched claims.

FAREED ZAKARIA

In the Zakaria interview, Morsadegh claims that “there were some problems in Iranian Jewish society” in the early days of Ahmadinejad’s presidency “but after that, there was no problem.” But Morsadegh contradicts that dubious claim — and the rosier statements he makes about Jewish life in Iran — when he states that Iran’s Jewish minority does “have some problems.” Of course, Zakaria doesn’t note the contradiction or explore what those “problems” might be.

Morsadegh also misrepresents reality when he states that “For religious freedom, Iran is one of the most free countries.” Try telling that to Iran’s Bahai or Christian minorities. Or just consult the International Federation of Human Rights report, which details the severe discrimination against Iran’s religious minorities. Shouldn’t Zakaria know such basic facts? Why didn’t he follow up with Morsadegh or at least provide some balancing information from another source after the interview?

Morsadegh also says that he is not a Zionist and rejects the behavior of the Israeli government and army. But in a televised interview, was he really free to say “I am a Zionist” or “I condemn my country’s threats to destroy Israel and its support for Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and Hezbollah?” Could any Iranian public official say such things and survive? Zakaria never points this out.

REZA SAYAH

In CNN’s “Connect the World,” Reza Sayah also failed basic journalistic duties, allowing Morsadegh’s misrepresentations to go unchallenged, while adding a few of his own. Morsadegh claims that “In the history of Iran…[there was never any] organized anti-Semitic phenomenon.” What about the thirteen Iranian Jews who were executed for alleged connections to Israel (including Habib Elghanian, the former head of the Iranian Jewish community)? More generally, if life is so great for the Jews of Iran, why did their population drop from over 100,000 (in 1948) to under 20,000 today?

Sayah’s report touts the fact that Iran has Jewish schools, kosher restaurants, and a charity hospital founded and run by Jews, and preposterously suggests that Jewish life in Iran could somehow compare to Jewish life in Israel (“Sure, it may seem like we’re in Israel, but in fact we’re in the Islamic Republic of Iran.”). Seriously?

Sayah’s report continues with glowing reviews for Jewish life in Iran: “‘Here they show a lot of respect for Judaism,’ says Shahnose Rahanian. It’s better than many other places.'” Which places? Egypt, where there are just a few dozen Jews left? Compared to Jewish life in any non-Muslim country with a significant Jewish population, Jewish life in Iran is pathetic and doomed to the same extinction that has occurred in nearly all of the Muslim world. Sayah never questions the truthfulness of his interviewees, who are from a tiny and extremely vulnerable minority in an overwhelmingly Muslim country where criticism of Islam — or the regime — can leave the critic dead. Nor does he mention reports that Iranian Jews live in fear that their telephones are tapped.

Sayah reports that “some Jews here say they’ve traveled to Israel, but home remains Iran,” but he fails to mention that the majority of Iranian Jews are elderly and speak only Persian, making emigration much harder (as observed by Iranian-American activist Sam Kermanian).

Sayah mentions that Jews have lived in Persia/Iran since the sixth century BC, when Persia’s King Cyrus liberated Jews from Babylonian captivity, but Sayah never discusses the persecution of Jews of in Persia/Iran since then, or the likely explanations for their massive “migration.”

Both Zakaria and Sayah could have easily interviewed some Iranian-American Jews, many of whom have family still living in Iran, to get alternative perspectives.

Unfortunately, CNN has a long history of anti-Israel bias, as documented by Honest Reporting and CAMERA. Are the above issues part of that problem or something else? Whatever the explanation, CNN should acknowledge and correct its skewed “reporting” on Iran or lose even more of its already damaged credibility.

Noah Beck is the author of The Last Israelis, an apocalyptic novel about Iranian nukes and other geopolitical issues in the Middle East.

Introduction by Wolff Bachner

[Image from Shutterstock]

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