Accuracy in Media

This is a special report from the AIM Center for Investigative Journalism


The Iranian regime’s English language propaganda channel, PressTV, has discovered a new American idol: presidential contender Rep. Ron Paul.

PressTV has stepped up its coverage of Paul’s campaign to win the Republican presidential nomination in recent weeks, featuring his anti-Israel rants, his claim that sanctions against Iran are “acts of war,” his approval of Iran’s nuclear ambitions, and much more.

The Iranian government channel portrays Ron Paul as an American hero, and brings on conspiracy theorists masquerading as political “analysts” to laud him for  “challenging the American establishment” and the “corporate neo-conservative Zionist consensus,” that cabal of Jews, banksters, and Reagan Democrats who in Tehran’s eyes (and in the eyes of these Ron Paul supporters) run the world.

It’s a script taken almost word-for-word from the infamous anti-Semitic forgery, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

Headlining one montage of Ron Paul sound bites denouncing U.S. support for Israel, PressTV reveals that President Obama has issued a “Ron Paul ‘kill order.’

This dramatic claim was “revealed” in a “secret letter sent to Prime Minister Putin by Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda” released to the press by the Russian Federal Security Service, better known during Cold War days for wanton fabrications and disinformation campaigns.

The purported letter “contains a warning that United States President Barack Obama has issued an executive-level ‘kill order’ against U.S. Congressman Ron Paul over fears this charismatic politician, who many believe could capture the Republican Presidential 2012 nomination, is about to expose to all Americans what can only be described as the largest mass theft in human history,” PressTV breathlessly explains.

Of course, “‘kill order’ is a metaphor for silencing down Congressman Ron Paul in the mass media as if he doesn’t exist,” the network hastens to add.

No contemporary U.S. political leader has been so in sync with Tehran as Ron Paul. Here are just a few of the recent Ron Paul sound bites on Iran and U.S. policy toward Iran prominently featured by PressTV:

“Just think of how many nuclear weapons surround Iran. The Chinese are there, the Indians are there, the Pakistanis are there, the Israelis are there, the United States is there. All these countries—China has nuclear weapons! Wouldn’t it be natural that they might want a weapon? Internationally, they’d be given more respect… They have no evidence that they are working on a weapon. “Paul blasts US policy on Iran, Aug. 12, 2011.

“I think we’re looking for trouble because we put these horrendous sanctions on Iran… Sanctions against Iran are definite steps toward a US attack.” “Iran sanctions ‘acts of war’: Ron Paul,” Dec. 31, 2011; “Ron Paul raps US hostility toward Iran,” Jan. 7, 2012.

“Iran’s leader, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, had never mentioned any intention of wiping Israel off the map.” Quick Facts: Ron Paul on US Foreign Policy, Dec. 24, 2011.

“Iran is not a physical threat to us. They do not have capabilities. The stories you might hear about them being on the verge of a nuclear weapon is not true by our CIA and by the United Nations. They are not on the verge of it.” Quick Facts: Ron Paul on US Foreign Policy, Dec. 24, 2011.

“Who are they [Iran] going to bomb? If they had one or two bombs, they are going to bomb Israel? Israel has 300 of them! And our submarines all around there passing and everything else.” Quick Facts: Ron Paul on US Foreign Policy, Dec. 24, 2011.

“I think they’re acting in self-defense… That is a gross distortion of this debate that they’re on the verge of a nuclear weapon.” Ron Paul defends his anti-war policies, Dec. 16, 2011

“At least our leaders and Reagan talked to the Soviets. What is so terribly bad about this? Countries you put sanctions on, you are more likely to fight them. I say a policy of peace is free trade, stay out of their internal business. Do not get involved in these wars and bring our troops home.” Ron Paul blasts US policy on Iran, Aug. 12, 2011

A Google search of—their U.S. website—returned 349 stories about Ron Paul, the overwhelming majority of them from this past year. The network’s Iranian website,, had more than 1,020 stories featuring Ron Paul.

A similar search of the U.S. website revealed significantly lower numbers for the other GOP candidates, with 242 hits for Mitt Romney, 211 for Newt Gingrich, 119 for Rick Santorum, 103 for Rick Perry, and 95 for Michele Bachmann.

By comparison, a Google search of “Hitler” got 509 hits on, while a search for “Barack Obama” got 3,600.

PressTV’s passion for Ron Paul also can be seen in their choice of headlines.

Paul’s anti-war call attracts GOP ears

Ron Paul ‘challenges US establishment’

Ron Paul’s surge

Iowa voters bring anti-war message into the mainstream

Ron Paul: “We don’t need Patriot Act”

Ron Paul holding Iowa lead in new PPP poll

This last entry publicizes a robo-call survey by Democratic Party polling outfit Public Policy Polling, which touts its “highly accurate polling across the country” on its website. Of course, that particular poll, conducted just days before the Iowa caucuses, was dramatically off, given that Ron Paul placed third after Romney and Santorum essentially tied for first.

By comparison, PressTV coverage of Newt Gingrich is almost  exclusively negative, with headlines such as these:

Newt Gingrich calls Mitt Romney “a liar”

Newt Gingrich: History of anti-Islam slurs

Watchdog files FEC complaint against Newt Gingrich

Occupy protesters heckle Newt Gingrich at Iowa event

Most of the other GOP candidates are given the Gingrich treatment by PressTV editors. Rick Santorum gets blasted for declaring “there is no Palestine,” Michele Bachmann for saying she would “bomb Iran,” and Perry for just about everything, most recently his debate pledge to “reinvade Iraq.”

This autumn, before the Republican field thinned out, PressTV aired an unsigned commentary titled “Romney, Cain or Perry nomination an absolute disaster for America” that featured a viciously satirical Mitt Romney flip-flopper video—two weeks before the Obama campaign released their own version!

In recent weeks, however, their coverage of Romney has become more factual and less charged, perhaps because Iran’s leaders expect him to win the GOP nomination and possibly become president of the United States.

While PressTV gives some coverage to economic issues—especially any factoid suggesting that poverty is on the rise in the United States—it frequently highlights Ron Paul’s refusal to see the Islamic regime in Iran as a potential threat, his pledge to bring American troops home from overseas, and especially his anti-Israel stance.

PressTV editors introduce a montage of Ron Paul debate clips with the ominous onscreen title, “Do you know why the Israel lobby and Neocons hate US Congressman Ron Paul?”

“We’ve been at war in Iran a lot longer than 1979. We started it in 1953, when we sent in a coup and installed the Shah in a coup, and the blowback’s been going on ever since 1979 because we just plain don’t mind our own business. That’s the problem,” Paul says in one of these clips.

“We don’t even have a treaty with Israel. Why do we have this automatic commitment that we’re going to send our kids and our money endlessly?” he says in another.

Anti-Israel theme:

The Tehran regime owns PressTV and controls its content, so its emphasis on finding politicians and “experts” who oppose any form of pressure on Iran is understandable. Some readers, however, may find its proclivity for airing anti-Semitic and anti-Israel rants more troublesome.

Many of Ron Paul’s talking points get repeated by the pro-Tehran conspiracy theorists who populate the PressTV airwaves. In the oxygen-free reaches they appear to inhabit, Ron Paul would become the next president of the United States if only the “Zionist lobby” would let him win.

“Paul is pulling around second in Iowa and is being considered a very serious contender by many,” a PressTV anchorwoman says. Then in all seriousness, she asks Mark Dankof, a self-declared political analyst, “Will the Zionist lobby let him win?”

Dankof, who is a frequent guest on PressTV shows, explains that Ron Paul will lose because of the Jews. “If Paul should be successful early on in a couple of primaries or a couple of caucuses then I think the shrill voices in the Israeli-controlled American media will begin to become more aggressive in attacking him,” he says. Zionist lobbies demonizing Ron Paul, Dec. 3, 2011

PressTV touts Dankof as a “former U.S. Senate candidate,” a “political commentator,” or “political analyst” as a way of plumping his resumé. The subterfuge is typical, and Dankof is reliably pro-Tehran, pro-Ron Paul and anti-American—lumping Barack Obama in the same basket as George W. Bush.

But what about his credential as a former U.S. Senate candidate? Dankof claims on his website that he was the “nominated candidate of the Constitution party” in Delaware in 2000. It turns out, however, that the Constitution Party never held a formal nominating process or a party primary, and that Dankof essentially nominated himself to run in that year’s U.S. Senate race.

“Anybody can be a candidate just by filing the forms,” said Howard Phillips, Conservative Party founder and long-time standard bearer. “Mark was never anointed by the Constitution Party; he decided to run by himself.”

Dankof is typical of the type of rabidly anti-Israel, borderline anti-Semitic commentators PressTV relies on. Other regulars include the likes of Philip Giraldi, an ex-CIA officer who regularly denounces Israeli policies as “manifestly evil;” Paul Sheldon Foote, who promotes Holocaust deniers; and a bevy of left-wing, “anti-war” bloggers and 9/11 “truthers.”

Nisa Islam Mohammad, a staff writer for the Nation of Islam’s Final Call newspaper and a member of the Washington Association of Black Journalists, devoted an entire 25-minute segment of her “American Dream” magazine show to the Zionist lobby effort to “destroy” Ron Paul.

“Texas Congressman Ron Paul is campaigning to become the president of America,” she starts off. “But you might not know that if you just watch mainstream media. Why is he omitted? Why wasn’t he invited to the Republican Jewish Coalition’s forum for presidential candidates?”

The answers, of course, can be found in the title of her show. Why Israel lobby and neocons hate Ron Paul, Dec. 26, 2011

To Tehran’s conspiracy-minded political leaders, Ron Paul is a natural ally.

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  • Jonathon Walker

    Nice try. Ron Paul actually cares for Isreal and Iran the same. He doesnt choose sides. Thats the whole point of his message. Why would we support both pakistan and israel, if israel is our friend, and pakistan hates the fact israel is there, what service are we doing our friends by giving they’re enemy neighbors weapons and money? This is the whole point of a humble, non-interventionist, foreign policy. If we need to go to war we most certainly can under the rules laid out in the constittution. Its there for a reason.

  • David Ortiz

    Almost everything Ron Paul says makes sense. Savage actually wants to have another war. Un freakin believable.

  • James

    Apparently Sassan doesn’t know what a straw man is…but he sure knows how to use one!

  • Colin

    This author also claimed in his book that Osama Bin Laden was hiding in Iran. Obviously there is some bias to the author’s view here.

  • PrincetonUniversity1967

    Ron Paul cares for both Israel and Iran? Sort of like caring for both the Jews and Zyklon B.

  • PrincetonUniveristy1967

    “JIM” says “remember weapons of mass destruction.” Islamic scholars say “remember taqiyya.”

  • “Jonathon Walker
    Nice try. ”

    heh, love it. I wish I had big smart words to concur along with your comment.

  • Sleuth51

    Everyone loves Ron Paul. Blessed are the peacemaker. Ron Paul loves everyone. Ron Paul gave me a new understanding of what it means to do unto others as you want them to do unto you. Ron Paul will unite us all, people of all races, creeds and political persuasions. He wants us to live in peace, trade with one another, and visit each others countries. No war, no sanctions, and no travel restrictions

    This is the choice that the voters in the USA face:

    Voters who want wars, torture, assassinations, “humanitarian” bombings in oil rich countries, indefinite detentions, drone attacks that kill the innocent, erosion of civil liberties, domestic war on the people (drug war), out-of-control debt and spending, graft and greed, crony capitalism, pandering to special interests, bailouts, more of the same, must NOT vote for Ron Paul.

    Voters who want peace, a humane foreign policy, restoration of civil liberties, an end to the war on drugs, sound money, balanced budgets, honesty, integrity and transparency in government, and a President wholly committed to Constitutional government can vote for Ron Paul.

    Ain’t that difficult a choice.

  • I do not know if Howard Phillips is being accurately quoted by AIM, but if he is, he may have forgotten his personal presence in Delaware at the Constitution Party Caucus that nominated me in 2000, and the fact that he personally asked me to run in January of 2000. The implications of this apparent amnesia and the false reporting of AIM about the events of 2000 are apparent, and may explain Howard’s promotion of Neo-Conservative Dr. Jerome Corsi for the Presidential nomination of the Constitution Party in 2008, which is identically revelatory.

  • As a former Marine Corps officer and McKnight Professor Emeritus at the University of Minnesota Duluth, who has appeared on several PressTV interviews, this attack is completely absurd. No only does PressTV not exercise control over what those they interview say on their shows, but everything quoted here from Ron Paul is TRUE. Some political figures do not like to hear the truth about our own country, which has massively lost our way. It has been our historic tradition to never attack any country that has not attacked us. Iran, may I observe, has not only never attacked us but poses no threat at all to our national interest–unless we covet its natural resources.

    We have leading candidates for the GOP nomination who advocate a “first strike” on Iran. But Iran has not attacked another country for more than 300 years. Iran has signed the NPT and allowed inspectors into its country. Israel has between 200-600 of these beauties, has NOT signed the NPT and does NOT allow inspectors into its country. The Hague Convention of 1899, the Kellogg-Briand Peace Treaty of 1928, and the UN Charter all prohibit “first strikes” and commit our nation to engage in diplomatic negotiations to peaceable resolve conflicts between them.

    That prominent candidates for the nation’s highest office are so massively ignorant of the history of Iran and the treaties that the US has signed is a disturbing signal that they are unqualified to hold the nation’s highest office. The US has overextended itself with these wars of aggression, which are sapping our military strength and depleting our national treasury, not to mention corrupting our moral standing in the world, so that instead of being the most respected and admired nation in the world, we–along with our ally, Israel–are instead the most despised and reviled. And rest assured: I will not compromise on the truth for any party, which is another reason I admire Ron Paul.

  • Joe Episcopo

    Ron Paul just speaks the truth. If Israel wants to attack Iran let them do it but we should stay out of the fight. The theft of the Palestinian lands by Israel, the Nazi like treatment of the Palestinians from the hands of Israel should not be a cause that we support or defend.

  • Adrian

    I’m sick of these wars. I’m sick of these warhawks. Im sick of Obama and Hillary Clinton, Im sick of Mccain and Romney I’m sick of Bush I’m sick of all of em. Bring on RON PAUL. We need REAL change here. We’re running around trying to fix everyone else’s house while our own is falling apart. Ridiculous. You can’t force freedom onto people at the point of a gun, ridiculous. American exceptionalism is ridiculous. I’m so sick of the big media spinning their lies and playing politics.

    Guess what its ending. Americans are sick of it. We’re sick of your big government, foreign aid, military bullshit. We’re sick of jerk off politicians who think the constitution is a radical idea. Really? Ron Paul is so far out there he’s the only one who knows what the constitution is all about. Hey flag waving freedom loving American warmongers get a clue and read the constitution then maybe you will get what Ron’s saying.

    Its time we minded our own damned problems and let the rest of the world deal with theirs. If Iran wants a nuke that’s Israel’s problem not ours. this article is spin more spin to drum up the ever shrinking warhawk neocon base. Guess what most of us now can see through your lies. We can spot your war propaganda trying to lead us into another disastrous war no thanks why don’t you get Joe Scarborough, and John Mccain, and Bill Orielly and Barrack Obama, and Rick Santorum, and Mit Romney, and Rick perry and all the rest of you clowns in Washington and the media and fight it yourselves if you want a war so bad. Leave the rest of us out of it.

    Oh I better I watch out. I could be an “associated force” They can wisk me off for disagreeing with them. Pathetic.

  • Phil Giraldi

    Thanks for the plug Ken. Coming from someone who has been wrong as many times as you it is certainly a backhanded compliment. And regarding your favorite country, which part do you disagree with the “manifestly” or “evil.” Or do you think that Avigdor Lieberman and Benjamin Netanyahu are good people?

  • Ken Timmerman helped lie his country into war with Iraq, in particular, by disgracefully linking Saddam to the Oklahoma City Bombing in order to cynically court rightwing support for the needless invasion his co-workers at JINSA desired.

    Timmerman, a guy who made his bones exposing the tech transfers to China from Loral, happily worked side by side with Richard Perle, whom Loral hired to make the problem go away.

    If the House Committee on Un-American Activities ever comes back, wonder what will be learned…

  • jcl

    > Mark Glenn

    You’re not keeping up with your reading, are you? We’re so beyond your 70s-era Jew-baiting. You see, we got those Russian documents in the late 90s, naval intercepts … well, dang, what were those Soviet ships doing? or the sub? And how’d they get to the Liberty so quickly?
    Son, you’d best start talking to your old Russkie drinking buds. Get them to cough up the rest of the documents, so as we can figure out just what it is that President Johnson had to hide, for the sake of national security. What say?
    You worried about treachery, are you? Well what about Beirut 1983 and 241 dead Marines? Killed by order of your Iranian friends. Executed in their sleep, while on a peace mission. It’s not an allegation. It’s a fact. It’s been proven in court, much to the dismay of some in D.C.
    If I remember right, your Iranian friends have still not paid the damages assessed by the court. Was that $90 million? Perhaps we need to send our beloved Corps … to undertake an involuntary collection. Throw in Havlish while we’re at it.
    And as long as we’re in the neighborhood, we might just as well undertake a punitive expedition, for the act of war with which your friends began their new careers as global outlaws. Lots of folks remember 1979, and unlike you, they didn’t think it funny or deserved.

  • CouncilForNationalPolicyFan
  • CouncilForNationalPolicyFan

    Howard Phillips the Council for National Policy pro-Zionist shill operative, has a son, Doug, with a most interesting current background in Christian Media. See