New York Times: PR agent for the Iranian government

(Update, Oct. 13: The Times’ editorial today could not be fairly called pro-Iran, which was the way I described the paper in the original title of this entry. It is highly critical of the Iranian regime, though also very critical of Obama’s “shoot-first-and-ask-questions-later” predecessor. The fact remains that the Times initially published a story that was little more than a press release for the Iranian regime.)

(Note: As of late Wednesday evening, Oct. 13, the first-linked NYT story below has been substantially changed. Now the focus of the article is on the U.S. government’s efforts to explain its charge against Iran, whereas before the focus was on Iran’s countercharges against the U.S. While I did not copy the text of the earlier article and so can’t demonstrate the changes in the text, I can demonstrate the change in the title. When I wrote the entry earlier this evening the title was, “Iran Claims Terror Plot Accusation Is Diversion by U.S.” But now the title is “U.S. Challenged to Explain Accusations of Iran Plot in the Face of Skepticism.” It is outrageous when newspapers do this, because instead of simply publishing a second article, they are destroying the earlier article, an article that a commentator like myself may already have written about or criticized, and now the very thing I criticized is no longer there and I have no way of proving it was there.)

(FURTHER UPDATE: I was able to find the earlier Times article, and have copied it below.)

I went to the Times web site to get basic information on the Iranian assassination plot, and the only story about it on the main page was entitled, “Iran Claims Terror Plot Accusation Is Diversion by U.S.” The story goes on for paragraph after paragraph with the Iranian government’s ludicrous accusations against the United States, accusations which the Times treats straight. A story on what the U.S. government says the Iranian plot consists of is not readily seen. I found it by doing a search at the Times for Iran Saudi Arabia assassination. Of course we should be skeptical of anything Eric Holder says, but one must always remember the liberal “script.” According to the usual workings of the script, the Obama administration represents the forces of liberal goodness striving against evil conservative forces of reaction, and so the Times is normally pro-Obama administration. But if the administration confronts Iran, then the parts in the script get reassigned, with the administration now representing the forces of evil reaction in a head to head with innocent Muslims.

UPDATE, 12:30 a.m.:

I was able to find the text of the earlier Times article in my laptop, by going offline, going into History, and looking for the title of the earlier article. Fortunately I was able to click open the article even with my browser in offline status, which often does not happen.

Here it is. I was only able to recover the first web page of the article, but that is the page that has Iran’s attacks on the U.S., mainly involving the accusation that the U.S. government made the assassination charge against Iran as a “diversion” from the Wall Street protests and that the U.S. government is employing “heavy-handed treatment” on the demonstrators of a kind that “is not seen even in undeveloped countries with dictatorial regimes.” The Iranians don’t seem to realize that the Obama administration and the Democratic Party have embraced the protests, and the Times writers did not bother pointing that out. That was one of the things that, to me, indicated that the Times was taking Iran’s side against the U.S. in this affair. Perhaps the Times editors realized what an embarrassment the article was with its uncritical quotations of one absurd Iranian charge after another, and that was why they essentially wiped it out and replaced it with an entirely different article.

Also, the two articles are not even written by the same reporters. The earlier version is by J. David Goodman and Rick Gladstone, and the later version is by Eric Schmitt and Scott Shane.

Iran Claims Terror Plot Accusation Is Diversion by U.S.
Published: October 12, 2011

The Foreign Ministry of Iran issued an angry complaint to the Swiss Embassy in Tehran, which is responsible for monitoring United States interests in Iran since the two broke diplomatic relations 32 years ago after the Islamic Revolution. The ministry said it had summoned the Swiss ambassador to personally convey its outrage over the American charges and warn “against the repetition of such politically motivated allegations.”

Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, went a step further. In a speech broadcast on Iran state television, he predicted what he called the demise of American capitalism and corporate favoritism. Press TV, an Iran government Web site that translated portions of the ayatollah’s speech, said he emphasized that “the corrupted capitalist system shows no mercy to any nation, including the American people.”

The ayatollah commended the Occupy Wall Street protests in New York, Washington and other American cities, calling them a consequence of “the prevalence of top-level corruption, poverty and social inequality in America.” He denounced what he called “the heavy-handed treatment of the demonstrators by U.S. officials” and said that such treatment “is not seen even in underdeveloped countries with dictatorial regimes.”

“They may crack down on this movement but cannot uproot it,” Ayatollah Khamenei said. “Ultimately, it will grow so that it will bring down the capitalist system and the West.”

The semi-official Fars news agency drew the connection more explicitly in an article with the headline: “U.S. Accusations Against Iran Aim to Divert World Attention from Wall Street Uprising.” The article quoted a senior member of Iran’s Parliament, Alaoddin Boroujerdi, as saying he had “no doubt this is a new American-Zionist plot to divert the public opinion from the crisis Obama is grappling with.”

The Iranian government had previously referred to the Occupy Wall Street protests as a nascent American version of the revolutionary wave that has swept through the Middle East this year, dubbing the protests an “American spring.”

In the Iranian plot outlined on Tuesday by Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. in Washington, officials in the elite Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps are accused of scheming to kill Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the United States by hiring assassins from a Mexican drug cartel for $1.5 million. The main suspects were identified as Mansour J. Arbabsiar, a naturalized American citizen of Iranian descent from Corpus Christi, Tex., who has been taken into custody, and Gholam Shakuri, described by the Justice Department as a member of the Quds Force, who is at large and believed to be in Iran.

Jay Carney, the White House spokesman, declined to elaborate on who among Iran’s hierarchy are suspected of complicity. “We know from the facts that it clearly involved senior levels of the Quds force,” he told reporters at the daily White House briefing in Washington on Wednesday. “But that is as specific as I am going to be.”

The accusations, which even many Iran experts in the United States greeted with some measure of disbelief, appear to have not only significantly elevated the antagonism between Iran and the United States but also deepened the mistrust between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

On Wednesday, Saudi Arabia made its first public comments on the case, condemning the plot outlined by the Americans but stopping short of taking any action to sever or downgrade relations with Iran. The Saudis are renowned for their conservatism in taking action, and pointedly, the country’s statement followed a similar response by the secretary general of the Saudi-led Gulf Cooperation Council.

The statement, carried by the Saudi Press Agency, called the plot described by the American attorney general “outrageous and heinous.” It urged other Arab and Muslim countries and “the international community” to “assume their responsibilities relating to these terrorist acts and the attempts to threaten the stability of countries as well as international peace and security.”

In London, Prince Turki al-Faisal, a former Saudi ambassador to the United States, said that Iran should take the accusations seriously and prosecute the Iranians who concocted the plot.

“Whoever is responsible for this in the Iranian government will hopefully be brought to justice by Iranian authorities, no matter how high the level of that person is,” said the prince, now the chairman of the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies, in remarks at an energy industry conference.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at October 12, 2011 08:23 PM | Send

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