Accuracy in Media

As tensions rise between Iran and the United States, the mainstream media was on the offensive against the Trump administration and its decision in 2018 to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal. The deal, negotiated by the Obama administration, was officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Iran agreed to not expand its nuclear weapons capabilities for military purposes, in exchange for financial incentives from other countries.

CNN was highly critical of the fallout between Iran and the United States in its latest analysis, headlined, “Iran drives another stake into the heart of the nuclear deal.” It framed the escalation between the two countries in terms of the JCPOA.

CNN referred to the Obama-negotiated deal several times as “painstakingly negotiated,” inferring that the Trump administration’s 2018 withdrawal unnecessarily threw away years of hard work from the Obama administration, China, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, and Germany. Also, the majority of the analysis was devoted to the situation that Trump’s withdrawal created for the other parties in the deal. For example, CNN mentioned that Trump’s action led to the European members of the deal to extend a $15 billion line of credit to Iran, which line of credit did not bring about the intended results of stabilizing the struggling Iranian economy.

CNN also ignored Iran’s past violations of the nuclear deal and presented Iran as an obedient participant in the deal. In a press conference in April 2019, Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, accused Iran of skirting several agreed-upon points in the deal, such as preserving and expanding Iran’s nuclear capabilities for military purposes. Netanyahu said that the JCPOA was “based on lies” and Iran continued to deceive their partners, despite the JCPOA’s terms. Israel declared that Iran hid the existence of a secret atomic warehouse from international inspectors, which also violated the terms of the JCPOA. Despite these allegations, CNN ignored them in their analysis and chose to focus on Iran’s alleged compliance.

In short, CNN took liberty in telling the truth and the whole story about the Iran nuclear deal. Instead of including all relevant information, such as Iran’s alleged violations of the deal, CNN focused on the negative consequences and attributed them to Trump’s decision to withdraw from the deal.

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