Accuracy in Media

A series of strange coincidences began on February 24th, when a group called the American-Iranian Council held a special event featuring CNN correspondent Christiane Amanpour and a screening of her documentary, “Revolutionary Journey,” in which Amanpour, who was born in Iran, returned to the country to tell us about all the wonderful changes going on there. Three days later her program aired on CNN. Then, about three weeks later, the American-Iranian Council held a conference featuring Madeleine Albright hailing the changes in Iran. Albright?s spokesman, James Rubin, is married to Amanpour.

Amanpour says that her documentary, which was filmed last October, was aired to coincide with the parliamentary elections occurring in Iran on February 18. But the fact that it was screened at a meeting of the American-Iranian Council suggests that there may have been another purpose behind it—to support the “overture” to Iran that was announced by Albright at the subsequent council meeting.

All of this matters because, by Amanpour?s own admission, the government of Iran hasn?t changed in the areas of foreign policy, the military and the judiciary. That means that the Iranian regime continues to sponsor terrorism that can target American citizens. Even on the matter of the internal changes in Iran, Amanpour admits that what may be developing there is a “Moslem democracy.” This means that Jews, Christians and members of other religious faiths will continue to be discriminated against. In fact, some Iranian Jews are going on trial on trumped-up charges of being spies.

Overall, Amanpour?s program was geared toward encouraging a change in U.S. policy toward Iran. Talking about her program on the day it aired, she said, “I believe it is now up to the United States to take a fresh approach to Iran and come up with some significant gestures.” That, of course, is exactly what happened with the Albright speech. Amanpour?s views were obviously communicated to Albright through her husband, or perhaps in person. The U.S. policy change was apparently coordinated with the airing of the CNN program.

This is not the first time that a possible conflict of interest has surfaced in relation to CNN on the one hand and the State Department on the other. Writing in his newsletter CounterPunch, left-wing journalist Alexander Cockburn has cited reports that Pentagon personnel may have assisted CNN in doing stories on the war in Kosovo. Eason Jordan, CNN?s president of news gathering and international networks, has disputed this, but Cockburn responded:

QUOTE “It?s impossible not to laugh when CNN execs like Eason Jordan start spouting high-toned stuff about CNN?s refusal to spout government or Pentagon propaganda.” He said “Christiane Amanpour, CNN?s leading foreign correspondent, and a woman whose reports about the fate of Kosovar refugees did much to fan appetite for NATO?s war, has been in bed with the spokesman for the US State Department, and a leading propagandist for NATO during that war, her husband James Rubin.”

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