The risky U.S. moves to provoke a war with Iran continue, and the American mainstream media is still transmitting the Trump administration’s views almost without challenge:
* The New York Times has run lengthy accounts about the alleged Iranian attack on oil tankers, but the paper buried the skepticism about the U.S. version lower in its articles.
* A respected Israeli expert, writing in Haaretz, calmly explained why “Iran is the immediate, but unlikely suspect” in the attacks. Nothing like his point of view has gotten prominent play in America.
* The most influential foreign affairs columnist in the world, Thomas Friedman of the New York Times, is still missing in action, a good 6 weeks after the Trump administration launched its latest effort to provoke Iran.
* None of the mainstream coverage explains that Israel is a big factor instigating the rising American hostility to Iran.
The lead front-page New York Times report on Saturday is one sign of the bias. Paragraph after paragraph reported the U.S. version of the June 13 attack on 2 oil tankers, citing “officials,” “President Trump,” “a senior official,” and “a grainy black-and-white American military video.”
Only when readers got to paragraphs 8 and 9 did we learn:
–“. . . others said the (video) footage fell short of proving Iran’s culpability”
— and that the Japanese owner of one of the tankers questioned that his ship had even been attacked by mines, “saying it had been struck by a flying object.”
The Israeli reporter, Zvi Bar’el, used a different approach to raise doubts about the U.S. version of the attacks. Bar’el, a longstanding expert on the Mideast, argued that such a strike “goes against Iran’s policy, which seeks to neutralize any pretext for a military clash in the Gulf.”
Bar’el adds, perfectly logically:
. . . Iran is sure that the United States is only looking for an excuse to attack it. Any violent initiative on Tehran’s part could only make things worse and bring it close to a military conflict, which it must avoid.
Trita Parsi has expressed similar skepticism, unnoticed by news reporters despite his undeniable expertise:
Attacking tankers in the Strait of Hormuz . . . provides Iran with few additional economic or diplomatic benefits while drastically increasing the downsides. Iran has little to gain from a violent escalation in which it will be seen as the aggressor, let alone one that allows the Trump administration to portray its bellicose policy as defensive and justified.
Meanwhile, Thomas Friedman, who has portrayed himself as a Middle East expect for 3 decades, has still said nothing; he apparently has felt it more important to publish columns about trade with China. At least the NY Times editorial board spoke up, but their opinion was weak, reflected in the headline: “Iran and the U.S. Are on a Collision Course.” More accurate would have been: “U.S. Continues to Try and Provoke Iran into a Conflict.” The paper went on to agree with the Trump administration that Iran’s Revolutionary Guards “is a likely culprit” for the attacks on the tankers — an unproven assertion that prompted a blistering hostile reaction in the readers’ comment section.
By contrast, the Washington Post, which is usually more hawkish, did better: “Trump has backed himself into a dangerous corner on Iran.” The Post said:
Mr. Trump has ordered a series of provocative actions toward the Islamic republic that, on Thursday, produced the entirely predictable images of oil tankers burning near the Strait of Hormuz — and the very real danger of escalation toward armed conflict.
None of the mainstream media has connected Israel to Trump’s escalation against Iran. Benjamin Netanyahu has long tried to provoke America to attack the Islamic state, and in the past Israeli intelligence has been the source for some of the extreme claims about the alleged Iranian threat to Middle East peace. Trump himself is interested in money, and he already admitted that his top donor, the pro-Israel gambling magnate Sheldon Adelson, advised him to hire as his national security adviser John Bolton, the notorious hawk who is pushing the anti-Iran policy. This Trump-Adelson-Bolton connection has gone almost completely unreported in the mainstream.
P.S. One sign of hope: the reader comments in the New York Times following its latest editorial are almost unanimously opposed to a U.S. war with Iran and suspicious of the Trump administration’s version of events.