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Iran’s ‘Nuclear Weapons Program,’ Again

By Peter Hart | FAIR | January 31, 2013

FireShot Screen Capture #328 - 'Israeli Warplanes Make Strike on Weapons Convoy in Syria I PBS NewsHour I Jan_ 30, 2013 I PBS' - www_pbs_org_newshour_bb_middle_east_jan-june13_israel_01-30_ht

On Monday’s edition of the NewsHour (1/28/13),  host Gwen Ifill referred to concerns about  the “threat posed by Iran’s nuclear program,” and told viewers at the end of a Margaret Warner report that “Margaret’s next story looks at the debate in Israel over how to deal with the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran.”

And on last night’s broadcast (1/30/13), Warner explained that countries like the U.S., Israel and Turkey “are concerned about Iran’s nuclear weapons program.”

To reiterate an obvious point: There is no proof of an Iranian nuclear weapons program. There are allegations that Iranian’s enrichment of uranium for its nuclear power program is hiding a military component, but weapons inspectors have not uncovered any such diversion.

The NewsHour has made this mistake before, as FAIR noted in a recent action alert:

In an October 22 discussion of the foreign policy presidential debate, the PBS NewsHour‘s Jeffrey Brown stated that “Iran’s nuclear weapons program has been a particular flash point.”

A few weeks earlier (10/5/12) on the NewsHour, Ray Suarez said that Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez had

continued to thwart American efforts on a range of international issues, such as Washington’s attempt to convince Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to halt his country’s pursuit of nuclear weapons.

How hard is it for NewsHour to understand that allegations are not facts? Write to them at onlineda2@newshour.org

February 1, 2013 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , | 4 Comments

PBS and Iran’s ‘Nuclear Weapons’

NewsHour botches basic fact about Iran

FAIR – 10/24/12

In an October 22 discussion of the foreign policy presidential debate, the PBS NewsHour‘s Jeffrey Brown stated that “Iran’s nuclear weapons program has been a particular flash point.”

A few weeks earlier (10/5/12) on the NewsHour, Ray Suarez said that Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez had

continued to thwart American efforts on a range of international issues, such as Washington’s attempt to convince Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to halt his country’s pursuit of nuclear weapons.

As most people following this story should know, there is no intelligence that shows Iran has a nuclear weapons program. The country has long denied the accusation, and regular inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency have failed to turn up evidence that Iran’s enriched uranium is being diverted for use in a weapon (Extra!, 1/12).

Some governments claim otherwise, but journalists are supposed to convey the evidence that is available–not to make claims that are unsupported by the facts. If there was one clear lesson from the Iraq War, it was that reporters need to carefully distinguish between what is known for certain and what some government leaders claim.

There have been questions about the NewsHour‘s Iran reporting before (FAIR Blog, 1/10/12). On January 9 the broadcast reported that Iran’s denial that it is pursuing a nuclear weapon was “disputed by the U.S. and its allies.” The show turned to a clip from Defense Secretary Leon Panetta to bolster that point — but edited out the part of his statement in which he said: “Are they trying to develop a nuclear weapon? No.” A NewsHour editor (FAIR Blog, 1/17/12) agreed that “it would have been better had we not lopped off the first part of the Panetta quote.”

CONTACT:
PBS NewsHour
onlineda2@newshour.org

October 24, 2012 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | 1 Comment