Beeman To Nyt Hyping Iran Threat In

Beeman to NYT: Hyping Iran Threat in Times of Diplomacy

William O. Beeman of the University of Minnesota shared with IC this letter to the editor of the New York Times:

“From: William O. Beeman
Sent: Wed 8/8/2007 3:22 PM
To: letters@nytimes.com
Subject: U.S. Says Bomb Suppled by Iran Kills Troops in Iraq

To the Editor:

Re: “U.S. Says Bomb Suppled by Iran Kills Troops in Iraq” by Michael R. Gordon, August 8, 2007

It is increasingly suspicious that every time the United States has begun a diplomatic initiative with Iran–the latest on August 6, some United States military official in Iraq comes forward to accuse Iran of supplying weapons to attack U.S. troops. Perhaps it is coincidence, but the reporter rendering these accusations for the public seems always to be Michael R. Gordon. These military reports and the Times reportage seem timed to undermine these diplomatic talks. Following the historic May 28 talks between Iran and the United States in Baghdad, the Iranian government called for a second round of talks. As negotiations for this second round were underway General Kevin Bergner provided a briefing on precisely the issue of the IED’s covered in the August 8 article by Mr. Gordon. Mr. Gordon’s last reportage of General Kevin J. Bergner’s account of these Iranian attacks (“U.S. Ties Iran to Deadly Iraq Attack” July 2, 2007) was a textbook case in hype. Mr. Gordon significantly enhanced General Bergner’s already specious and exaggerated statements to make the Iranian government appear even more culpable than the evidence in the press conference would warrant. Although Mr. Gordon’s August 8 reporting on Lt. Gen. Raymond T. Odierno’s account of essentially the same phenomenon does acknowledge that critics of the Bush administration assert that there is no proof of Iranian state involvement in supplying the IED devices, the article is riddled with innuendo accusatory of Iran, such as identifying “Iranian-backed cells” as if they existed as verified definable entities, and they had been proved to have ties to Iran. Mr. Gordon’s piece appears on page 1 of the Times above the fold (as did his July 2 piece) thus increasing the hype factor. The Times should save its partisanship for the editorial pages, and not [countenance] it in its reporting.

Sincerely,

William O. Beeman Professor and Chair Department of Anthropology University of Minnesota Minneapolis, MN 55455

President, Middle East Section, American Anthropological Association”

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