I haven’t posted anything on Iran’s election, so here are a few links that might be useful…
Stephen R. Shalom, Thomas Harrison, Joanne Landy and Jesse Lemisch from the Campaign for Peace and Democracy answer questions raised by some on the left about “the legitimacy of and the need for solidarity with the anti-Ahmadinejad movement.”
Has the Western media been biased against the Iranian government?
Mainstream Western media have clearly been more interested in pointing out electoral fraud and repression in Iran than in states that are closely allied with Washington. But this doesn’t mean that there has been no fraud or repression in Iran.
For example, a video of the killing of Neda Agha Soltan spread widely on the internet and the media was quick to turn her death into a icon of the brutality of the Iranian government. We never saw a similar response to the many victims of government atrocities in Haiti or Egypt or Colombia. Nevertheless, the claim by some Iranian officials that she was killed by the CIA or by other demonstrators just to make the regime look bad is totally lacking in credibility
Western media have always selectively publicized and often exaggerated the crimes of official enemies. But we shouldn’t conclude from this that crimes have not been committed. And in the case of Iran, there is no good evidence so far that Western news reports on the government’s electoral fraud and violent repression of dissent have been fundamentally inaccurate.
Noam Chomsky runs through some reactions to recent significant events.
While our thoughts are turned to elections, we should not forget one recent authentically “free and fair” election in the Middle East region, in Palestine in January 2006, to which the US and its allies at once responded with harsh punishment for the population that voted “the wrong way.” The pretexts offered were laughable, and the response caused scarcely a ripple on the flood of commentary on Washington’s noble “efforts to spread democracy to the Muslim world,” a feat that reveals impressive subordination to authority.
The Medialens editors analyse the response in the mainstream British media to the election in Iran and compare it to coverage of Iraq’s election as well as the situation in Britain.
Consider [Britain's] political system:
- Meaningful political choice for people opposed to US-UK militarism and wars of aggression: None.
- Choice for people opposed to socialism for the rich and capitalism for the poor: None.
- Choice for people serious about subordinating maximised corporate profits for genuine action to halt catastrophic climate change: None.
- Choice for people seeking mainstream media supporting genuine change: None.
- Choice for people eager to elect politicians with ‘ring of confidence’ smiles and charisma: Substantial.
It is because of point 4 that points 1-5 are swamped in confusion and mendacity.
This is a great alert which sadly ZNet refused to publish because it contained criticism of George Monbiot—they didn’t like this part:
The corporate journalists ostensibly working to protect society from this corruption are part of the same system, the same elite club. In a booklet from 2001 entitled, ‘An Activist’s Guide to Exploiting the Media,’ George Monbiot wrote of ‘Our Advantages’ under the title ‘Integrity’:
“We’re genuine people, not hired hands defending a corporate or institutional position. This shows when we allow it to: an open and straightforward appeal to common sense can cut through the clamour of self interest and spin doctoring with a powerful resonance. When we keep our message uncluttered and get straight to the point we can be devastatingly effective.” (George Monbiot, An Activist’s Guide to Exploiting the Media, Bookmarks Publications, 2001)
By obvious implication, mainstream journalists—including Monbiot 2009, now at the Guardian—are “hired hands defending a corporate or institutional position”.