Iran news agency apologizes for ‘Onion’ poll spoof goof

Share

Iran’s Fars News Agency has apologized to readers for running a spoof poll taken from the satirical American newspaper, “The Onion.” The satire item–run briefly as a straight news item on Fars Friday–cited a fake Gallup ‘poll’ claiming white American rural voters favor Iran’s lame-duck president Ahmadinejad over Obama.

“Unfortunately an incorrect item was released on our website on Friday which included a fake opinion poll on popularity rate of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and US President Barack Obama,” Fars News Agency’s editor in chief said in an apology note published on Fars’ English language-website Sunday. “The news item was extracted from the Satirical Magazine, The Onion, by mistake and it was taken down from our outlook in less two hours.”

“We offer our formal apologies for that mistake,” the editor’s apology continued, before noting that it’s not the only media outlet to have been “duped” by the Onion.

“On April 25, 2011, The New York Times admitted they made the mistake of treating a fake creation from The Onion as something legitimate,” it said.

Continue reading

Reading list: Red lines, not deadlines, on Iran

  • “The U.S. is ‘not setting deadlines’ for Iran and still considers negotiations as ‘by far the best approach’ to prevent the Islamic Republic from developing nuclear weapons, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said. (Indira Lakshmanan, Bloomberg)
  • “Israel and the United States are in discussion on setting a ‘red line’ for Iran’s nuclear program, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.” (Reuters)
  • “We call on the government in Iran to come back to the table with substantial offers, which is very necessary and very crucial at this time.” (German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, Reuters)
  • IAEA chief Yukiya Amano, ahead of IAEA board of governors meeting Monday, calls for immediate access to Iran site, says he’s frustrated. (IAEA; Reuters)
  • “What statesmen do when faced with bad options is create new ones. The third choice in this case is to negotiate a deal that lets Iran enrich uranium for civilian use….that applies rigorous safeguards…that gradually relaxes sanctions and brings this wayward country into the community of more-or-less civilized nations.”  (Bill Keller, New York Times)
  • “Immediately after the US presidential election, …Ehud Barak is certain to resume his antics and carry on where he has left off, and the countdown will start all over again.” (Ben Caspit, Maariv/Al-Monitor)

DNC adds Jerusalem to platform


Update: The Democratic National Committee on Wednesday added an amendment to its 2012 platform saying Jerusalem is and will remain the capital of Israel. The language, almost identical to that in the DNC 2008 platform, was added after its omission came under criticism from some Republican groups.

“President Obama personally intervened to strengthen the language,” a Democratic aide involved in the process told Al-Monitor Wednesday.

Obama campaign officials saw the issue as an unnecessary distraction, a source said, adding:. “They were and continue to be comfortable with the original language [in the DNC 2012 platform] that they feel is stridently pro-Israel.”

“The platform is being amended to maintain consistency with the personal views expressed by the President and in the Democratic Party platform in 2008,” DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz said in a statement Wednesday.

The new amendment, passed in a confusing voice vote at the DNC convention in Charlotte, North Carolina Wednesday,, states: “Jerusalem is and will remain the capital of Israel. The parties have agreed that Jerusalem is a matter for final status negotiations. It should remain an undivided city accessible to people of all faiths.”

The pro-Israel lobby group, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), praised the decision.

Continue reading

Netanyahu cancels security meeting over Iran leaks

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu abruptly ended a security cabinet meeting Wednesday, complaining of leaks that Israel’s intelligence agencies are not convinced of the great urgency of the Iran threat, Israeli media report.

“A short while after the meeting yesterday something serious happened,” Netanyahu said, Haaretz‘s Barak Ravid reported Wednesday. “A leak from the cabinet discussions… someone severely damaged the trust that Israel’s citizens have in this forum.”

The leak, that appeared in a report on Israel’s Ynet Tuesday, said Israeli intelligence officials who briefing the Israeli security cabinet Tuesday assessed that Iran’s nuclear progress is of deep concern but not of extreme urgency.

“The information presented to the Cabinet was very disturbing, but it wasn’t too daunting,” a senior official who participated in the meeting told Ynet,” Attila Somfalvi reported.

“According to the official who spoke with Ynet, while the information Israel has on Iran’s progress is troubling ‘It’s not scary. The Iranians are relentlessly pursuing nuclear activities and they’re not slowing down …They are holding their own vis-à-vis the international pressure, but on the other hand, they’re not running wild,'” the Ynet report continued.

“According to the story, the members of the security cabinet were shocked to hear that the country’s different intelligence agencies – the Mossad, Shin Bet, and Army Intelligence – do not agree about the Iranian issue,” the Jerusalem Post reported.

Continue reading

Iran Pulse: New Al-Monitor blog tracking the Iranian press

Thrilled to welcome Eskandar Sadeghi-Boroujerdi, who will be writing a daily summary of the Iranian press at a new Al-Monitor blog, Iran Pulse.

You can find/bookmark the link here:

http://iranpulse.al-monitor.com/

Eskandar worked previously as an Iran researcher at the Oxford Research Group’s Middle East program and is a doctoral candidate in Modern Middle East studies at Queen’s College, Oxford. He has written for several publications, including Foreign Policy, Tehran Bureau, etc. You can follow him on @eborujerdi.

Welcome, introductions

Welcome to the Back Channel,  a reported blog on Washington foreign policy and the Middle East. Al Monitor is a new site dedicated to bringing more in-depth coverage and perspectives from the Middle East through original reporting as well as translations from media partners in the region, including in Turkey, Israel, Beirut and throughout the Arab world.

Continue reading