'The Trump administration and its allies are slow-walking the United States into war with Iran, and, with a few notable exceptions, mainstream U.S. media is helping them.
Much of this assistance has been overt. Just like during the run-up to the Iraq war, outlets like CNN, NBC, and the New York Times have in recent weeks simply parroted without scrutiny claims from Bolton and other administration officials of a dire Iranian threat based on intelligence no one has seen (these claims would in turn compel officials within the U.S. intelligence community to tell reporters that the intelligence in question shows nothing new or that it was being blown out of proportion).
But the media is also failing us in other, less overt ways, namely by quoting and promoting those pushing for regime change and/or war and presenting them as, at best, neutral “experts,” or at worst, proponents of a “strong” or “tough” U.S. policy vis-a-vis Iran.
In a story earlier this week about how President Trump is showing signs of souring on Bolton, particularly because of Bolton’s quest for war with Iran, the Times gave Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) CEO Mark Dubowitz prominent billing to praise Bolton as the one giving Trump the “diplomatic space for him to go back and forth between a very hard-line position and holding talks.”
Except the reality is that Dubowitz has no interest in the U.S. holding talks with Iran. In fact, over the past decade or so, he’s essentially been the titular head of the pro-regime change/Iran war movement that worked to prevent President Obama from reaching a nuclear agreement with Iran, and subsequently pushed to destroy it.
Dubowitz himself has called for regime change in Iran and the organization he runs, FDD, has been underwritten by right-wing billionaire funders Bernie “I think Iran is the devil” Marcus, and Sheldon Adelson, who’s on record calling for the U.S. to nuke Iran. FDD has also been the leader in promoting the false narrative that Iran is in league with al-Qaeda, and its staffers regularly publish op-eds and papers pushing a militaristic approach or outright calling for war with Iran. Indeed, Bolton recruited one of his most hawkish staffers, Richard Goldberg, from FDD. Months before joining the administration, Goldberg wrote a piece urging Trump to attack Iran’s Revolutionary Guard.
The Times story mentioned none of this. It actually portrayed FDD somewhat positively, identifying it only as a “group that advocates a tough approach to Iran.”
USA Today made a similar mistake this week in a piece about Bolton’s relationship with Trump on Iran. The story identified Dubowitz as an “expert” and quoted him praising Bolton’s aggressive push toward conflict with Iran as “a well-orchestrated campaign,” and downplaying any worries that Bolton has outsize influence over Trump and his Iran policy.'
Read more: How Mainstream U.S. Media Is Failing Us On Trump And Bolton’s March To War With Iran
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