Wash. Post coverage of Ahmadinejad: Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is in New York, using a convenient UN platform to vent his threats to eliminate Israel. But you wouldn't know that by reading the Washington Post's coverage.
In its Sept. 25 edition, the Post runs an egregiously benign article about the Iranian leader, with a six column headline that captures the flavor of correspondent Anne Gearan's spin: "Iran's president accuses Israel of 'threatening' U.S." (top of page A10).
Gearan's Ahmadinejad apologia focuses almost entirely on his attempts to paint Israel as the villain, while ignoring Iran's ongoing genocidal threats against the Jewish state.
"Iran's clerical leaders have previously vowed to eradicate Israel, although Ahmadinejad did not repeat that threat Monday," she writes.
Really? No current Ahadinejad threat to eradicate Israel? Yet, the Reuters wire service and other media definitely heard Ahmadinejad repeat Iran's threats to wipe Israel off the map. Reuters, in fact, leads with Ahmadinejad asserting that Israel has no roots in the Middle East and would be "eliminated." Sounds like a threat to me.
Expounding on Ahmadinejad's threat, Reuters goes on to quote him as saying that Israelis are a "historical phase....they represent minimal disturbances that come into the picture and are then eliminated."
The Reuters citation of Ahmadinejad's threat to eliminate Israel clearly belies Gearan's assertion that "Ahmadinejad did not repeat that threat Monday."
Having kept Ahmadinejad's vile, incendiary threat a secret from her readers, Gearan also omits any mention that the White House described his remarks as "disgusting, offensive and outrageous." No pejoratives for Ahmadinejad in her dispatch.
In a similar vein, Gearan casts Ahmadinejad in a more positive light than Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu. She quotes Ahmadinejad as refusing to take sides in the U.S. presidential race - "The U.S. elections are domestic issue. We will not meddle with that at all." Spoken like a real statesman.
But when it comes to Netanyahu, despite his forceful denials of trying to intervene in the American elections, Gearan takes a more jaundiced view. "Netanyahu is presumed to favor Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney," she writes. No neutrality by Bibi. Gearan accepts at face value Ahamdinejad's word -- but not Netanyahu's.
All in all, an article that must have greatly pleased the Iranian delegation at the UN.
Leo Rennert is a former White House correspondent and Washington bureau chief of McClatchy Newspapers