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MUST SEE VIDEO: CNN Claims Iran Shot at a US Drone, Revealing the News Network's Mindset

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  • Romi Elnagar
    CNN Claims Iran Shot at a US Drone, Revealing the News Network s Mindset Its Pentagon reporter parrots significant, inflammatory government claims without an
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 8, 2012
      CNN Claims Iran Shot at a US Drone, Revealing the News Network's Mindset
      Its Pentagon reporter parrots significant, inflammatory government claims without an iota of skepticism or balance
      by Glenn Greenwald
      Barbara Starr, CNN's Pentagon reporter (more accurately known as: the Pentagon's reporter at CNN), has an exciting exclusive today. Exclusively relying upon "three senior officials" in the Obama
      administration (all anonymous, needless to say), she claims that "two
      Iranian Su-25 fighter jets fired on an unarmed US Air Force Predator
      drone in the Persian Gulf last week," while "the drone was in
      international airspace east of Kuwait . . . engaged in routine maritime
      surveillance." The drone was not hit, but, says CNN, "the incident
      raises fresh concerns within the Obama administration about Iranian
      military aggression in crucial Gulf oil shipping lanes."
      Iranian guards with the US RQ-170 Sentinel drone they claim to have brought down electronically. Photo/AFPFirst things first: let us pause for a moment to extend our thoughts and
      prayers to this US drone. Although it was not physically injured, being
      shot at by the Iranians - while it was doing nothing other than
      peacefully minding its own business - must have been a very traumatic
      experience. I think I speak on behalf of everyone, regardless of
      political views, when I say that we all wish this brave hero a speedy
      recovery and hope it is back in full health soon, protecting our
      The CNN report on this incident is revealing indeed. Every paragraph - literally - contains nothing but mindless summaries of the claims of US government officials. There is not an iota of skepticism about any of
      the assertions, including how this incident happened, what the drone was doing at the time, or where it took place. It is pure US government
      press release - literally; I defy anyone to identify any differences if
      the US government had issued its own press release directly rather than
      issuing it masquerading as a leaked CNN report.
      Most notably, CNN does not even bother with the pretense of trying to include the claims of the Iranian government about what happened. There is no indication that the self-described news outlet even made an
      effort to contact Tehran to obtain their rendition of these events or
      even confirmation that it occurred. It simply regurgitates the
      accusations of anonymous US officials that Iran, with no provocation,
      out of the blue decided to shoot at a US drone in international
      airspace. (Although CNN does not mention it, last December Iran shot down a US drone which, it claims (and the US does not deny) was in Iranian air space).
      That CNN's prime mission is to serve the US government is hardly
      news. But given the magnitude of these kinds of accusations - their
      obvious ability, if not intent, to bolster animosity on the part of the
      US public toward Iran and heighten tensions between the two nations -
      shouldn't CNN at least pretend to be a bit more skeptical and
      even-handed about how it is reporting these claims? Anonymous Bush
      officials claim Saddam is reconstituting his nuclear program; anonymous
      Obama officials claim Iran illegally shot at a US drone for no reason.
      But nothing can top this sentence from CNN, intended to explain the
      significance of this alleged event: "Iran has, at times, been
      confrontational in the region." Yes, indeed they have - in stark
      contrast to the peaceful United States, which never is. Or, as Jeremy
      Scahill today, anticipating how Starr might present her report on-air on CNN later today: "Iran, which has launched airstrikes in Pakistan,
      Yemen, Somalia and [holding earpiece] -- wait, what's that, Wolf? Oh,
      right. The US, which has..." Scahill was being a bit generous to Wolf
      Blitzer there, who would be far more likely to add; "yes, that's right,
      Barbara: and we should also remind our viewers how Iran, just a few
      short years ago, attacked its neighbor Iraq, destroyed the country, and
      then occupied it for almost a decade, showing how aggressive the mullahs are willing to be in this region."
      In case any of you thought the US media would change its future
      behavior in light of the debacle during the run-up to the Iraq War -
      and, really, were any of you thinking they would? - this is your answer. The pre-Iraq-War behavior wasn't an abandonment of their purpose but
      the supreme affirmation of it: to drape the claims of the US government
      with independent credibility, dutifully serve its interests, and
      contrive an appearance of a free press. This is our adversarial,
      watchdog media in action.
      Iranian evil
      This all reminds me of a debate I did a couple years ago on MSNBC
      with Arianna Huffington and the Washington Post's Jonathan Capehart over Iran and whether it should be viewed as an aggressor and enemy of the
      US. For most of the debate, MSNBC kept showing scary video footage of a
      test of a mid-range missile which Iran had just conducted, and then
      Capehart picked up on that to tell me, in essence: how can you say Iran
      isn't aggressive when they're testing these missiles? Yes, because,
      clearly, countries of peace (such as the US and Israel) would never do something as belligerent as testing missiles, much like no real Country of Peace would ever want to acquire a nuclear weapon.
      © 2012 Guardian/UK
      Glenn Greenwald is a columnist on civil liberties and US national security issues for the Guardian. A former constitutional lawyer, he
      was until 2012 a contributing writer at Salon.  His most recent book is, With Liberty and Justice for Some: How the Law Is Used to Destroy Equality and Protect the Powerful. His other books include: Great American Hypocrites: Toppling the Big Myths of Republican Politics,  A Tragic Legacy: How a Good vs. Evil Mentality Destroyed the Bush Presidency, and How Would a Patriot Act? Defending American Values from a President Run Amok. He is the recipient of the first annual I.F. Stone Award for Independent Journalism.


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