Sunday, June 21, 2009

The role of the Western media in the Iranian 'downrising'

Observing the events taking place in Iran now has taught me a few things about Iran, but also a few things about the Irish media.

The way in which the Irish media have portrayed the election and subsequent riots and protests is that they were an ‘uprising’ (As they were referred to on RTE Radio One’s Drivetime consistently during the week). Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but Mr Mousavi draws most of his support from the Middle classes and university graduates. Is this not, therefore, a downrising?

Sunday Tribune Northern Editor Suzanne Breen, speaking on the Marian Finucane Show this morning, spoke very eloquently about the “uprising”. Ms Breen made the point that if these riots and protests were on Irish streets, they would (correctly) be portrayed as the elite moving to get “their” candidate in power. Ms Breen said that the Irish media (and Western media anyway) is blindly following the Whitehouse line of “the wrong guy got in”.

A Reuters report (see here), featured on The Irish Times website today, said; “Iranian state television says 10 people were killed and more than 100 wounded in clashes between police and "terrorist groups" in Tehran, in an apparent reference to street unrest in the capital yesterday.” The very fact that the report found the need to use quotation marks to show the perceived fallacy of the phrase “terrorist groups” (which, as part of a quote, could have been included with “police”) shows the bias of the Western media.

The report goes on to say that some members of the exiled Mujahideen Khalq Organisation (who are actually designated as a terrorist organisation, even by the US State Department- see here- and were allied with Saddam Hussein’s Ba’ath party) were among those arrested.

The media needs to stop this distortion of the lines between fact and opinion in order to fulfil its duty and inform people of the news (which should always be fact).


  1. What an odd post. I take it that you're a bit of a lefty. That's cool. I like lefties. But you are such a lefty that if a people demonstrating against an oppressive government appear to be middle class then this somehow invalidates the movement in your eyes. Of course its an uprising, and incidentally the demonstrators in this case come from all classes.

    Seriously Niall, "bias of the western media". Are you joking. We are dealing with a nation here whose media is not simply biased, its acting as an arm of the state as it crushes opposition. I think you need a brief history lesson. Iran has lots of lefties in it. In fact the best Marxist minds of the second half of the 20th century came out of Iran. They were vital in overthrowing the shah in 1979. But once the mad mullahs got into power they had many thousands of these "godless communists" executed. I'm making this point because I think you should be aware that in Iran it is the leftist who suffer the most from the sheer brutality of the regime. A person such as yourself would not be able to go watch football matches, you would be in a dark dungeon somewhere getting tortured. But hey, maybe how biased the western media are is the real story here.

  2. I am a 'lefty', yes.
    There is a bias in the western media- they would have us believe that Mousavi is somehow benevolent and Ahmadinejad is the problem, not the Ayatollahs. Let me just say I'm not defending the Iranian government, especially as the theocratic system they have is anathema to me (as an atheist). I'm criticising the portrayal in the media in the Western (geographically west of Iran) world of this conlict as one of class, and as an 'uprising' in class terms.