Published on Consortiumnews.com, by Robert Parry, July 2, 2011.
… Crumbling Wall:
Despite the supposed “wall” between news and opinions, the Times news columns also have taken on a decidedly neocon bent under the eight-year reign of executive editor Bill Keller, who got the Times’s top news job in 2003 after getting the Iraq WMD issue totally wrong.
In the heady days after Colin Powell’s UN speech, Keller penned an article for the Times magazine entitled “The I-Can’t-Believe-I’m-a-Hawk Club” embracing nearly every major lie told by the Bush administration to justify war. But Keller not only escaped any accountability, he was awarded the executive editor’s slot, arguably the most prestigious job in U.S. journalism.
In news columns since then, Keller has continued pursuing a neocon agenda, especially promoting propaganda against Muslim “enemies.”
When Keller assigned himself to cover Iran’s 2009 election, he coauthored a “news analysis” that opened with an old joke about Ahmadinejad looking into a mirror and saying “male lice to the right, female lice to the left,” disparaging both his Islamic conservatism and his rise from the street.
After Ahmadinejad won reelection, the Times, like most other U.S. news organizations, took up the cause of anti-Ahmadinejad rioters who were deemed “pro-democracy” demonstrators, even though more objective analysts concluded that Ahmadinejad indeed did win the election and the protesters were actually seeking to overturn those valid results.
Though widely ignored by the major American news media, a study by the Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) at the University of Maryland found little evidence to support allegations of fraud or to conclude that most Iranians view Ahmadinejad as illegitimate.
PIPA analyzed multiple polls of the Iranian public from three different sources, including some before the June 12, 2009, election and some afterwards. The study found that in all the polls, a majority said they planned to vote for Ahmadinejad or had voted for him. The numbers ranged from 52 to 57 percent just before the election to 55 to 66 percent after the election.
“These findings do not prove that there were no irregularities in the election process,” said Steven Kull, director of PIPA. “But they do not support the belief that a majority rejected Ahmadinejad.”
An analysis by former U.S. national security officials Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett reached a similar conclusion. They found that the “personal political agendas” of American commentators caused them to side with the anti-Ahmadinejad protesters. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “How US Media Botched Iran’s Election.”]
The dubious narrative of the “fraudulent” Iranian election fit with the neocon insistence on “regime change” in Iran, which currently sits near the top of Israel’s enemies list.
Neocon opinion leaders, including key commentators for the Times and the Post, have pushed repeatedly for an escalation of U.S. covert operations to destabilize Iran’s government if not for a joint Israeli-U.S. military strike on Iran’s nuclear and military installations.
The Libyan War: … (full long text).