This week, the Associated Press (AP) ran an “exclusive” story claiming to uncover bombshell evidence in support of war with Iran. The evidence? A crude, hand drawn graph.
The AP should have higher journalistic standards than The Onion.
Yet the AP ran a story entitled, “Graph Suggests Iran Working on Bomb” based on a diagram “leaked by officials from a country critical of Iran’s atomic program to bolster their arguments that Iran’s nuclear program must be halted before it produces a weapon.”
Experts were quick to call foul.
The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists explained that similar graphs “can be found in nuclear science textbooks and on the Internet” and “would not qualify as proof of a nuclear weapons program.” They found major errors with the graph, stating, “This diagram does nothing more than indicate either slipshod analysis or an amateurish hoax.”
Arms Control Association’s Greg Thielmann criticized the “misleading” headline and the AP’s burying of scientific skepticism.
The Atlantic’s Robert Wright tweeted, “How considerate of the Iranians to label their secret nefarious nuke graph in English!”
And the Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald wrote, “This is worse than stenography journalism. It is AP allowing itself, eagerly and gratefully, to be used to put its stamp of credibility on a ridiculous though destructive hoax.”
The AP is read by millions around the world. This single news report will have a serious impact on the debate on Iran and questions about war and peace. Yet the AP is replicating the same irresponsible journalism that we saw in the push to sell war with Iraq.
We all remember how the media was asleep at the wheel and allowed us to be conned into war with Iraq. Journalists reprinted unsubstantiated claims about anthrax, yellow cake, and mushroom clouds without question. We only learned later that officials were laundering their lies through top media outlets as part of a pro-war propaganda campaign. But by then it was too late.
Help us demand the AP correct the record before it is too late to stop the pro-war narrative.