U.S. Media Hyper-Focused on Iranian Nuclear Program

Edward S. Herman and David Peterson posted an in-depth comparative study on the Monthly Review website about the U.S. media’s hyper-focus on Iran and its Iranian nuclear program, while ignoring other significant stories on nuclear possession and global events. The statistics will floor you — “astounding ratios,” the authors write.

Herman, a professor emeritus at UPenn’s Wharton School, and Peterson, an independent journalist, focus on the coverage of Iran’s disputed June 2009 election and the Honduran coup that followed a month later. Segueing into their piece, they summarize a previous MR article that surveyed press mentions for various nuclear programs. They wrote (with my emphasis):

A survey that we once published in MRZine of wire-service and newspaper reports’ focus on ten states’ nuclear programs for the seven-year period from 2003 through 2009 found that the amount of media attention paid to Iran’s dwarfed that of any of the other nine states (i.e., 36,778 print and wire-service items mentioning Iran’s nuclear program, compared to 6,237 for second-place India’s).  More strikingly, the ratio of media attention paid to Iran’s versus Israel’s nuclear program was 114-to-1 (92-to-1 on the pages of the New York Times) — astounding ratios, as Iran’s nuclear program has never been determined to be anything other than in accord with its Non-Proliferation Treaty obligations, while Israel steadfastly rejects joining the NPT, and remains the only state in the Middle East with nuclear weapons (perhaps 200-300) as well as the means of delivering them.2 Thus by the spring of 2009, with Iran’s June 12 presidential election fast approaching, Iran’s nuclear program had been kept on the agenda of major U.S.-dominated multilateral bodies and media for six consecutive years, and a harsh Western media and intellectual focus on its incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had accompanied this U.S. agenda since the time he took office in the summer of 2005.

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Ali Gharib

Ali Gharib is a New York-based journalist on U.S. foreign policy with a focus on the Middle East and Central Asia. His work has appeared at Inter Press Service, where he was the Deputy Washington Bureau Chief; the Buffalo Beast; Huffington Post; Mondoweiss; Right Web; and Alternet. He holds a Master's degree in Philosophy and Public Policy from the London School of Economics and Political Science. A proud Iranian-American and fluent Farsi speaker, Ali was born in California and raised in D.C.

One Comment

  1. I have to wonder if you here at Lobelog aren’t hyper focused on this issue. Honestly, I’m beginning to think you guys are obsessing a bit. And, you’d admit you are. You aren’t reporting on the “peace talks” or the “settlements” it seems.

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