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Jewish World Review August 8, 2002 / 30 Menachem-Av, 5762

Michael Ledeen

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Can You Keep a Secret?: The media silence on Iran | When I first came to Washington I met what I took for a hopelessly cynical man who asked me to define a secret. I stumbled, and he said that a secret was when you called a press conference and nobody reported what you said.

Apparently the media of the entire Western world have applied this standard to the dramatic events in Iran, because on Monday massive demonstrations were held in the country's major cities, from Tehran to Isfahan, Tabriz, Mashad, and others. The regime responded with unprecedented violence. There was widespread street fighting. More than 1,000 people were arrested. Several were apparently killed. Even late on Tuesday conflicts were ongoing in Khorassan, and not a single word appeared in a major Western publication, or on the news wires, or on any television broadcast of which I am aware.

So we have a new historical phenomenon: an invisible, unknown, and therefore secret revolution is under way in Iran.

And the question for the media is the following: Why do you refuse to report these events? For it is really hard to imagine that this information - which was not hard to obtain and to verify - is unknown to the Washington Post and Times, the New York Post and Times, the Los Angeles Times, and the major networks and the cable-news channels.

It rather reminds one of the days of the Cultural Revolution in China, or the immediate postwar period in Cambodia, when millions of people were killed and the West ignored the story. It was not that there were no journalists or others who knew what was going on; they simply refused to tell the story, for a variety of reasons. Some refused because they knew they'd be expelled - or worse - if they wrote the truth. Others refused because they sympathized with the regime and didn't want to give intellectual weapons to the regime's critics. Still others yielded to peer pressure, like the television "reporters" who apologized to Arafat when one lone Italian network broadcast the film of the Palestinian slaughter of two Israelis whose only crime was to have taken a wrong turn.

Iran is the mother of all terrorism, and the fall of the mullahs would be a major turning point in the modern history of the Middle East. If the details of the regime's desperate and savage struggle for survival were reported accurately and quickly, the West might yet rediscover its conscience and join with President Bush in declaring the regime an international pariah, thereby accelerating its demise.

If ever there were a story that warranted intense coverage, it is this one. If ever "the people's right to know" were at stake, it is here and now. Instead we have silence.


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JWR contributor Michael Ledeen is a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and author of, most recently, The War Against the Terror Masters. Comment by clicking here.


08/06/02: Fantasy Reporting: The latest disinformation from the Washington Post
08/02/02: Propping Up the Terror Masters: Europe's Solana on tour
07/16/02: Bush vs. the Mullahs: Getting on the side of the Iranian freedom fighters
07/12/02: The State Department Goes Mute: It's official: State has no message
07/09/02: History being made, but the West appears clueless
06/05/02: Is George Tenet endangering peace in Israel?
06/03/02: Ridiculous, even for a journalist
05/20/02: So how come nobody's been fired yet?
05/14/02: Open doors for thugs
04/20/02: Iran on the Brink … and the U.S. does nothing
04/16/02: It’s the war, stupid … someone remind Colin Powell
04/08/02: Gulled: In the Middle East, Arafat doesn't matter
04/02/02: Faster, Please: The war falters
03/26/02: The Revolution Continues: What's brewing in Iran
03/18/02: Iran simmers still: Where's the press?
03/05/02: We can't lose any more ground in Iran
02/14/02: The Great Iranian Hoax
02/12/02: Unnoticed Bombshell: Key information in a new book
01/31/02: The truth behind the Powell play
01/29/02: My past with "Johnny Jihad's" lawyer
01/21/02: It's Munich, all over again
01/08/02: What's the Holdup?: It's time for the next battles in the war against terrorism
12/11/01: We must be imperious, ruthless, and relentless
12/06/01: Remembering my family friend, Walt Disney
11/28/01: The Barbara Olson Bomb: Understanding the war
11/13/01: How We're Doing: The Angleton Files, IV
11/06/01: A great revolutionary war is coming
10/25/01: How to talk to a terrorist
10/23/01: Creative Reporting: Learning to appreciate press briefings
10/19/01: Not the Emmys: A Beltway award presentation
10/15/01: Rediscovering American character
10/11/01: Somehow, I've missed Arafat's praise of the first stage of our war on terrorism
10/04/01: What do we not know?
09/28/01: Machiavelli On Our War: Some advice for our leaders
09/25/01: No Room for the U.N.: Keeping Annan & co. out of the picture
09/21/01: Creative destruction
09/14/01: Who Killed Barbara Olson?
08/22/01: How Israel will win this war
08/15/01: Bracing for war
08/09/01: More Dithering Democrats
08/02/01: Delirious Dems
07/31/01: Consulting a legendary counterspy about Chandra and Condit, cont'd
07/19/01: Be careful what you wish for
07/17/01: Consulting a legendary counterspy about Chandra and Condit
07/05/01: Let Slobo Go
05/30/01: Anybody out there afraid of the Republicans?
05/09/01: The bad guys to the rescue
05/07/01: Bye-bye, Blumenthal
04/20/01: Handling China
04/11/01: EXAM TIME!
04/05/01: Chinese over-water torture
03/27/01: Fighting AIDS in Africa is a losing proposition
03/14/01: Big Bird, Oscar, and other threats
03/09/01: Time for a good, old-fashioned purge
03/06/01: Powell’s great (mis)adventure
02/26/01: The Clinton Sopranos
02/20/01: Unity Schmoonity: Sharon is defying the will of the people
01/30/01: The Rest of the Rich Story
01/22/01: Ashcroft the Jew
01/11/01: A fitting close to the Clinton years
12/26/00: Continuing Clinton's shameful legacy
12/21/00: Clinton’s gift for Bush

© 2001, Michael Ledeen