Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Bombing Iran - the media's war calendar

On Channel 4 News (March 2), Matt Frei, reporting from Washington, and Jon Snow, back in the studio, exchanged almost jocular words on the likelihood of Israel or/and the US bombing Iran.

The tone was one of  'convivial chat', akin to neighbours speculating across the garden wall on whether or not we'll get a good summer.

This 'will-they-won't-they', wager-type narrative is typical media fare, treating Iran, Iranians, as something distantly abstract, an un-people, the discussion stripped of all immediate consideration for the carnage that may soon be visited on them and their society.

Imagine a similar kind of correspondents' exchange asking whether Iran will opt for a spring or autumn strike on Tel Aviv. 

The same fascinated gaze into the diplomacy game is evident in Jonathan Freedland's latest calendaresque assessment, pondering the 'best political opportunity' for a strike.

Here we get more of the same close dissection on the 'timing issue', set against the evident personal tensions between Obama and Netanyahu. 

And that, in itself, becomes 'the story', the ready 'context' for understanding the 'problem of how to deal with Iran'.

It's a reporting which also indulges David Cameron's facile claim of an impending nuclear threat to the UK.  

All of which diversionary spin helps play-down the actual illegality of any such strike. 

As Chris Hedges asks:
"Where is Israel’s U.N. resolution authorizing it to strike Iran? Why isn’t anyone demanding that Israel seek one? Why does the only discussion in the media and among political elites center around the questions of “Will Israel attack Iran?” “Can it successfully carry out an attack?” “What will happen if there is an attack?” The essential question is left unasked. Does Israel have the right to attack Iran? And here the answer is very, very clear. It does not. "
It's not just the blatant omission of Israel's and America's joint aggressions over Iran, it's the way in which the reader/viewer is drawn into the agenda-setting 'issue' of when and how rather than why and by what right.

1 comment:

exiledstardust said...

I was wondering earlier today if the world would have been better off if monkeys had never developed abstract reasoning skills and learned to walk upright, and I had to reluctantly admit that it would have been.

What use are these big complex brains which supposedly make us better than all the other lifeforms, when all we do with them is think of new ways to oppress one another?