Iran: This Is What Propaganda Looks Like
But Clapper said very little in his remarks that would justify the propagandistic coverage we're seeing. His main point was that Iran could launch attacks if it felt threatened. It is hard to see how this is particularly surprising. Clapper pointed to the alleged Iranian plot to kill the Saudi ambassador in Washington D.C. as evidence that Iran seems more eager to assert itself, perhaps even inside the United States. But there were many people who raised serious questions about that rather implausible scenario (which involved hiring a Mexican drug gang to carry out the assassination).
As the Wall Street Journal reported (one of the few corporate outlets I saw pushing back against the official alarmism):
That kind of caution was in short supply on the network newscasts. NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams (1/31/12) announced:
It wasn't until the end of Mitchell's report that any notes of caution were sounded:
So Iran is a substantial threat, though then again it might not even be developing the weapons the U.S. and Israel claim are in the works. And really, the "threat" seems mostly that Iran might be ready to respond to an attack on its country--something virtually any country in the world would do.
But for sheer propaganda value, ABC World News' January 31 broadcast would be tough to top.
First, start with alarming graphic:
Then Pentagon correspondent Martha Raddatz announced, "The saber rattling from Iran has been constant."
Match that with threatening B-roll footage from the enemy country. Weapons on display at a military parade, for instance:
Iran "may be more ready than ever to launch terror attacks in the United States," Raddatz explained. Cue footage of apparently menacing soldiers:
Don't forget to show the enemy county's leader (or, rather, a close approximation) meeting with other Official Enemies. Like this:
And why not one more, while reminding viewers that such figures "have little love for the U.S.":
It's important to remember, amidst all this hoopla, that it is U.S. military officials and the president who have regularly threatened that "no options" are "off the table" in dealing with Iran. That is code for using nuclear weapons--and Barack Obama's latest repetition of that apocalyptic threat got a standing ovation from Congress.
It is hard to argue honestly that the real escalation is coming from the Iranian side. But that's what propaganda is for.