Wednesday, 12 August 2009

The Ayatollah's Propaganda

PressTV is a propaganda wing of the Iranian government[1], why anyone takes it seriously continues to baffle me. This post isn’t an attempt to persuade people that PressTV isn’t trustworthy – if you’re in any doubts, then I doubt you’ll know bias when it hits you in the face. What this post does aim to do is compile a small collection of articles which I find amusing – because the bias in them is so apparent.[2]

Headlines are very important, the reader gets the gist of what the article is about and it may even sway some people on the topic. Whether or not PressTV knows this, its blatant bias can be seen in some of its headlines;

1. “Killing of Gazans was 'obligation', says Tel Aviv[3]

Really?! Lets assume Israel did think it was it’s obligation to kill Gazans, do you think they are stupid enough to tell the world? The report actually says “Israel had both a right and an obligation to take military action against Hamas in Gaza to stop Hamas‘ almost incessant rocket and mortar attacks upon thousands of Israeli civilians and its other acts of terrorism.”[4]

2. “Israel rules out evacuation of settlers”[5]

This is entirely misleading. If you read the whole article, it sounds like that Netanyahu is saying that Israel will never evacuate any settlements. Reuters, however, managed to portray exactly what Netanyahu meant: “Netanyahu, who has said he wouldn't build additional settlements but wants to continue construction in existing enclaves to accomodate what he calls natural growth, said Sunday he would not remove any settlements before a peace deal.[6] Whats even worse, settlers were evacuated within a week of the article.[7]

3. “US rejects Afghan demand to stop killings[8]

As with the first, PressTV jumps the causal chain. The US is not rejecting the demand to stop killing, it’s rejecting the call to stop airstrikes and portraying it in this way shows the clear bias. But, it gets worse, on the same day that this article went out, the BBC reported that a review of airstrikes was initiated by the US.[9]

But it isn’t just headlines. PressTV gives a platform to Holocaust “revisionists,” the article in question states that the “alleged massacre of Jewish people by gassing during World War II was scientifically impossible.[10] It also gives a platform to other conspiracies. One article asserts the “US may have been behind the killing of Neda Agha-Soltan,”[11] the Iranian protestor who was shot and seen as a symbol for the recent Iranian protests. It also gives a platform to 9/11 revisionism, and while I have no objection to this, PressTV refuses in its articles to give the other side. “Mossad linked to 9/11 attacks,” reads the headline.[12] Nowhere do they try to find the other side or even quote the other side. That is not objectivity.

This is also apparent in another article: “CIA report: Israel will fall in 20 years[13] – This is complete crap. No other news sources have written about this revolutionary report (maybe because of the evil Zionist media). What makes this even more worrying is that PressTV seem be base entirely on an interview given by Franklin Lamb. Who is Mr. Lamb? Not much is known. However, he writes for anti-Israel publication ‘Counterpunch’[14] and he may be associated with ‘If Americans Knew’[15] – which is another anti-Israel organisation (taking the realist position as defined by Dennis Ross).

Pictures and their captions also tell people a lot about PressTV. Neda’s death, aside from being used as a tool against the CIA, was completely ignored for over 12 days[16] and even then when PressTV decided to write about, the following picture was accompanied; [17]

Many news agencies and channels choose to censor images that they deem to be too graphic – there’s nothing wrong with this idea in complete moderation, objectivity and independent monitoring but what I’m struggling with is does PressTV not like blood? Does it not like brutal images? What about upsetting images? No;[18]

Could it be that PressTV is censoring pictures based on their political weight? It seems, this Iranian news agency suffers from factual inaccuracies as well. Some examples are above, others include the fact that it “claims that the Lebanese government is trying to convert the Nahr al-Bared Palestinian refugee camp into an American military base, but provides no evidence to back up this allegation.[19] Another inaccuracy in an article (which has so many that I may have to make a separate post about it) is typical of PressTV’s outlook;

Although they had agreed to put the rest of Palestine under an undefined international administration, Britain decided to conquer the area and in late 1917 their soldiers laid foot on the lands of our beloved al-Quds -- which they now call Jerusalem.[20]

Yes, the “now” call it Jerusalem. It’s not like it dates back before 1917. Its not like Jerusalem outdates “al-Quds”. Well, according to PressTV. I’ve tried to make this post thematic: headlines, conspiracies, pictures and inaccuracies. The final part is the people. The people who make and work for PressTV.

George Galloway – I don’t really need to say much, rather just quote Ofcom;

The overwhelming majority of the content of the programmes were from a pro-Palestinian point of view and were highly critical of Israeli policy. The presenter spoke from an entirely pro-Palestinian point of view. There was not one telephone call from a pro-Israeli position in any of the programmes and only the most limited and short text or email messages from viewers from a pro-Israeli position.

In the programme, George Galloway variously labelled Israel as committing:

“murder”; “apartheid-style occupation”; “murder [of] UN employees; and a “warcrime”... “Collective punish[ment against] people is a Nazi tactic.” The Palestinians were under the “iron heel of a brutal apartheid-style occupation.”[21]

Is it any wonder that Nick Ferrari left because of the bias (admittedly, just the post-election coverage according to him)?[22] Is it any wonder that Larry Gillick claims that PressTV “burned him” and misconstrued what he said?[23] Ali Ansari, an authority on Iranian history and politics, appeared on a “debate” about the Iranian elections and in it, the camera frequently cuts off.[24] Indeed, Ali Ansari himself said “They will have very likely edited it”[25]

The articles which refer to Israelis and “The New Nazis,”[26] and that affix “oil-rich” to Iraq in its discussions about the US/UK invasion/occupation will probably never stop.[27] The asking of its readers “When will Israel collapse?” probably wont either. (The results were “Over 50 percent of the 2255 respondents to a Press TV online poll are of the belief that after 60 years of the establishment of Israel, the regime's power is nearing collapse”)[28] It will continue to take weeks worth of articles down when it suits its purpose.[29]

But what we can be sure of is this;

[1] It’s used to spread information for making the Iran look good and US and her allies look bad. That is propaganda. But what can you expect from a country without free media funding a news agency? (Source for funding:

[2] It is by no means comprehensive, I visit the website once every 2 days and spend no longer than 10minutes on it. Because my main interest is in the Arab-Israeli Conflict, a lot of the articles which I quote will be from there.


[4] - p.1


[6], my emphasis and [sic]





[11] – it asserts independently of the Ambassador in its opening line. There are also other examples where PressTV’s bias can be seen in relation to Neda:,,




[15] - cannot be independently verified. Make your own mind up as to whether you believe it. (“May”)

[16] - Paxman at 2:20


[18] In order:,,,



[21] p.9-10


[23] Press TV burns a source - Me! dated Wednesday, July 08, 2009


[25] Personal correspondence dated 28/06/2009




[29] - Paxman at 2:15

I am a Zionist


Matt said...

Found your blog via the student room. Very well written. Press TV's bias is unashamed and blatant and yet there are plenty of people who consider it a legitimate news source. Very strange indeed.

Arash said...

Great post Folderol, people assume that just because PressTV is on Sky and it has well known presenters, it can't possibly follow the Mullah agenda. That is a lie, it is the Mullah's propaganda machine.

Here's a Newsnight report on 1st July (well after the protests had started, Neda, etc). Watch the smug Mullah lackey and PressTV spokesman Matthew Richardson defend the Islamic Republic. Sickening.

Mr. Gerson said...

The references don't work here either. I would love to read your blog, but will hold out until the references are working.

Folderol said...

Again, Mr. Gerson, click "Notes and Sources"..

Mr. Gerson said...

I was sent to this article today, and surprise! I had read it ages ago! Well written, and thanks for the update on the notes and sources, I see it now! :-)