Sunday, June 14, 2009

Iran: Selective Election Media Coverage

First it is important to note that Iran held an election that consisted of televised debates, rallies, protests, and had an 85% voter turn out. This is important not because it means Iran is a democracy, because on several key points, it isn't, but it's important for the realization that Western media has demonstrated a bias in regards to the Persian theocracy.

Prior to the day of the Iranian election, major Western news agencies did not report on the contested battle between President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and former Prime Minister Mir Hossein Mousavi.

Now there are real and engineered elections that happen all the time, why should the media have covered the build-up to the Iranian election? Considering Iran funds the terrorist group Hamas in Palestine, creating the largest destabilizing force in the region, not to mention the escalating nuclear threat, one would think Western news agencies should have been interested in Ahmadinejad's and Mousavi's election platforms and their general electioneering; yet they weren't.

The fact is Western media didn't write stories about the democratic process that had Ahmadinejad and Mousavi appealing to certain segments of the Iranian population through rallies and debates because such stories would conflict with their narrative that Iran is evil. And though Iran has demonstrated behaviour that is clearly evil, it is not a purely evil nation, something our media ignores in order to perpetuate an agenda that relies on simple story-lines and an uninformed public.

Only because there were people protesting in the Iranian streets over the election of President Ahmadinejad providing photograph and video fodder for CNN, ABC, NBC, CBC, etc. did the Iranian election elicit western news coverage. Only because this contested election result can fit into our news' agencies narrative is it bothered to be reported on.

In my opinion it is more then likely President Ahmadinejad used the state to manipulate the election, however I think it is unlikely that it was responsible for his victory. For weeks before the election Ahmadinejad spoke to the large regions of the poorer and more rural elctorate emphasizing his anti-west and nuclear positions; whereas his opponents focused almost exclusively on a few urban centres.

In the end however the re-election of President Ahmadinejad is almost unimportant. In Iran the President is actually quite subordinate to the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. The Supreme Leader has the last say in foreign affairs, he declares war or peace, and it is only he that is in charge of the military and intelligence offices. While the President is limited to two four-year terms, the Supreme Leader is appointed by a small body of religious experts for a possibly unlimited term. The Supreme Leader appoints heads of the judiciary, state radio and television networks, while most presidential appointments must be approved by the Supreme Leader.

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