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Editor vs. Editor: New York Times’ Rosenthal Ignores Ombudsman’s Advice on Responsible Journalism Regarding Iranian Nuclear Program

By Nima Shirazi | Wide Asleep in America | August 25, 2012

(Alexander Torrenegra, Flickr)

In response to the recent announcement that Ban Ki-moon will attend the upcoming Non-Aligned Movement summit in Tehran, New York Times Editorial Page Editor Andrew Rosenthal wrote this week:

I was appalled that the U.N. Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, has decided to attend an international gathering in Iran, despite the vociferous objections of the United States. Mr. Ban can accomplish nothing with this trip beyond hindering efforts to pressure Iran into giving up its nuclear weapons program.

Never mind Mr. Rosenthal’s imperial, we-own-the-world mentality that expects senior officials of international bodies to dutifully adhere to American commands.

Leave aside the clear fact that the United States intelligence community and its allies have long assessed that Iran has no active nuclear weapons program and that the IAEA has stated it has “no concrete proof” Iran “has ever had” such a program.

And ignore that U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Brigadier General Martin Dempsey, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency Ronald Burgess, President Barack Obama and his National Security Council have all agreed Iran isn’t building nuclear weapons.  And that Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz, and Military Intelligence Director Aviv Kochavi have said the same thing.

What is most surprising is that Rosenthal, who has held his post since 2007 and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, apparently doesn’t read his own paper.

Back in January, New York Times Public Editor Arthur Brisbane responded to reader complaints that the paper’s reporting on Iran’s nuclear program was misleading and that “The Times should avoid closing the gap with a shorthand phrase that says the IAEA thinks Iran’s program ‘has a military objective.'”

Brisbane agreed:

I think the readers are correct on this. The Times hasn’t corrected the story but it should because this is a case of when a shorthand phrase doesn’t do justice to a nuanced set of facts. In this case, the distinction between the two [a nuclear energy program and a nuclear weapons program] is important because the Iranian program has emerged as a possible casus belli.

Just days later, National Public Radio‘s ombudsman Edward Schumacher-Matos concurred with this assessment.  “Shorthand references are often dangerous in journalism, and listeners are correct to be on the alert for them,” he wrote. “Repeated enough as fact – “Iran’s nuclear weapons program– they take on a life of their own.”  He added that, at the behest of NPR’s Senior Editor for National Security Bruce Auster, “NPR’s policy is to refer in shorthand to Iran’s ‘nuclear program’ and not ‘nuclear weapons program'” and concluded, “This is a correct formula.”

Perhaps Rosenthal could have read the statement by Brisbane and Schumacher-Matos’ counterpart at The Washington Post, ombudsman Patrick B. Pexton, who challenged his own paper’s irresponsible reporting in December 2011, writing that the IAEA “does not say Iran has a bomb, nor does it say it is building one,” and warned that such misleading characterizations of such an important issue “can also play into the hands of those who are seeking further confrontation with Iran.”

Clearly, by expressly ignoring the advice of his own public editor, Andrew Rosenthal – and presumably the editorial page of the most influential newspaper in the country which he runs – has no problem playing into the hands of warmongers.  Regrettably, it appears quite clear that he is, in fact, one of them.

August 25, 2012 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , , | 1 Comment

Ban Ki-moon to attend NAM summit in Tehran: UN spokesman

Press TV – August 22, 2012

The United Nation Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will attend the upcoming Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit in Iran despite pressures from the US and Israel, UN spokesman Martin Nesirky says.

Nesirky said that Ban would “discuss frankly” the Syrian crisis but believed that Iran must be part of the solution.

Reuters reported earlier on Wednesday that according to several UN diplomats, Ban would attend the upcoming summit in Iran’s capital, Tehran.

“It’s a very important bloc of nations. Of course the SG [secretary-general] is going. He can’t not go,” Reuters quoted a diplomatic source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, as saying.

This is while Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu earlier this month urged the UN secretary general not to attend the summit.

The US has also been trying to dissuade NAM member states, particularly the UN chief, from attending the summit.

The 16th summit of the NAM member states will be held in the Iranian capital August 26-31.

The Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei will address the Tehran NAM summit during which the Islamic Republic will assume the rotating presidency of the movement for three years.

NAM, an international organization with 120 member states and 21 observer countries, is considered as not formally aligned with or against any major power bloc.

NAM’s purpose, as stated in the Havana Declaration of 1979, is to ensure “the national independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and security of non-aligned countries.”

August 22, 2012 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , | 1 Comment

Ban Ki-moon Slams Syria “Terrorist Attacks”

UN Monitors Continue Mission

Al-Manar | May 1, 2012

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Monday condemned the terrorist bomb attacks in two Syrian cities but said UN observers had brought some improvement in areas where they have been deployed.

The UN chief called on “all parties” in the Syria conflict to halt violence and work with the growing UN Supervision Mission in Syria, UN deputy spokesperson Eduardo del Buey said in a statement.

Ban “condemns” what he called “terrorist bomb attacks” in Idlib and Damascus on Monday, the spokesperson said.

“While noting improvements in areas where UN monitors are deployed, the secretary general remains gravely concerned by reports of continued violence, killing and abuses in Syria in recent days.”

“He calls for armed violence in all its forms by all parties to cease immediately and full cooperation of all parties with the work of UNSMIS as it expands its presence on the ground,” the spokesperson said in a statement.

The UN monitors are scheduled to visit the western cities of Homs and Hama on Tuesday.

The latest UN schedule comes a day after at least 20 people were martyred and scores of others injured in two bomb attacks in Idlib.

May 1, 2012 Posted by | Militarism, War Crimes | , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Ban Ki-moon Slams Syria “Terrorist Attacks”