Sep
24
2013

Iran Nuclear Weapons Claims Still Need Correcting

Hassan Rouhani

Hassan Rouhani

Yesterday in USA Today (9/22/13), Aamer Madhani wrote this about the challenges facing Barack Obama:

The president is also trying to take advantage of a diplomatic opening–created by the installation of a new, more moderate president in Iran–to persuade Tehran to abandon its nuclear weapons program.

As you might know by now, this is misleading; Iran is suspected by some governments of having a nuclear weapons program, but there is no solid intelligence that such a program exists.

USA Today made a similar claim a few months ago; when FAIR activists wrote to the paper, it eventually got around to issuing a correction. But good luck figuring that out; the paper had originally claimed that new Iranian President Hassan Rouhani was "known for his negotiating skill over the country's nuclear weapons program." The paper's correction read:

A June 17 story on Iranian President-elect Hassan Rouhani misstated his previous position. He was a negotiator over Iran's nuclear program.

There's basically no chance that any reader of the paper would have been able to know what was being corrected. But if the paper is actually interested in accuracy, they might want to run another correction.

Bob Schieffer (photo: CSIS)

Bob Schieffer (photo: CSIS)

They're not the only ones who should consider clarifying the record. Here's CBS Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer (9/22/13):

Rouhani says that Iran does not want and is not pursuing a nuclear weapon. Does anybody take that at face value?

Actually, the burden of proof should be the other way around: Politicians who claim that Iran has such a program should have to prove it. Schieffer obviously doesn't see the world that way. He's interviewed people like Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and failed to  challenge their claims about Iran's weapons. Indeed, Schieffer presented them as facts, telling viewers about Iran's "continuing effort to build a nuclear weapon" (FAIR Blog, 7/15/13).

So Schieffer is indeed skeptical of government claims. Iran's government, that is.

 

 

About Peter Hart

Activism Director and and Co-producer of CounterSpinPeter Hart is the activism director at FAIR. He writes for FAIR's magazine Extra! and is also a co-host and producer of FAIR's syndicated radio show CounterSpin. He is the author of The Oh Really? Factor: Unspinning Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly (Seven Stories Press, 2003). Hart has been interviewed by a number of media outlets, including NBC Nightly News, Fox News Channel's O'Reilly Factor, the Los Angeles Times, Newsday and the Associated Press. He has also appeared on Showtime and in the movie Outfoxed. Follow Peter on Twitter at @peterfhart.