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Associated Press Attempts to Tie #Occupy Movement with Evil Iranian Dictators

The Associated Press is faithfully doing the rhetorical work of the ruling class, configurally linking the Occupy movement to public enemy #1, Iran. This morning, AP stooge Verna Dobnik transcribed the following:

The Occupy Wall Street movement, which has spawned grass-roots activities around the U.S. and prompted comments from President Barack Obama, is now drawing political remarks from overseas.
Iran’s top leader said Wednesday that the wave of protests reflects a serious crisis that will ultimately topple capitalism in America. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei claimed the United States is now in a full-blown crisis because its “corrupt foundation has been exposed to the American people.”
The remarks came a day after U.S. officials said the Obama administration plans to leverage charges that Iran plotted to assassinate Saudi Arabia’s ambassador into a new global campaign to isolate the Islamic republic.

This trajectory is as transparent as it is idiotic. The headline reads “Wall Street protests draw overseas attention” and the lead line says “political remarks from overseas,” but only Iran is present in the actual story–and Khamenei’s remark, which could have been made by anyone, anywhere, is immediately juxtaposed with the Obama administration’s charges against Iran.

The corporatist bias of the Associated Press is well-documented. AP was in the tank for John McCain in 2008, and, as listed by Common Dreams, routinely downplays Israeli military’s killing of Palestinians and overemphasizes equivalent deaths among Israelis, covered up the kidnapping of President Aristide by U.S. agents in Haiti in 2004 (actually changing the story, probably at the behest of U.S. officials, to make the U.S. look like Aristide’s benevolent protector), relentlessly attacked Cynthia McKinney, and the list goes on. In a comprehensive study of AP’s right wing bias, Peter Phillips, with Project Censored interns Sarah Randle, Brian Fuch, Zoe Huffman, and Fabrice Romero concluded:

AP is a massive institutionalized bureaucracy that feeds new stories to nearly every newspaper and radio/TV station in the United States and the world. They are so large that top-down control of single news stories is literally impossible. However, our evidence clearly indicates a built-in bias favoring the powerful. ACLU evidence on torture is ignored by the corporate press and AP never mentions it again. The State Department’s position on Haiti becomes established history. Cynthia McKinney is bashed and marginalized. Coverage of the Israel-Palestine situation has a clear pro-Israel bias, and the national impeachment movement is totally ignored. The American people absorb these biases and make political decisions on skewed understandings. Without media systems that provide balanced, fair and accurate reporting democracy is faced with a dismal future.

What we’re seeing now, with AP’s attempt to tie the #Occupy movement (and, by extension, the struggle for economic justice in general) to the leadership of a nation considered an enemy by the United States government, is predictable and nefarious. This is one way in which the powerful will strike back: By conflating an organic uprising with a foreign threat.

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One Response “Associated Press Attempts to Tie #Occupy Movement with Evil Iranian Dictators”

  1. malcont3nt
    October 12, 2011 at 10:44 am

    FYI: The term is “lede,” not “lead.” Otherwise, nice work.

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About Matt J. Stannard

Policy Director for Commonomics USA, longtime writer, speaker, and legal & policy consultant on economic justice and public deliberation.