"Skewed language that piles up on Iran (whose officials are called “hard-line,” while United States officials are not) or reproduces false patterns of blame (“a series of attacks and ship seizures attributed to Iran have raised tensions,” with no reference to Israeli or Western affronts) erodes your credibility."
September 18, 2023
Dan Taylor, Managing Editor, CTV News
Jon Gambrell, Reporter, Associated Press
Lujain Jo, Reporter, Associated Press
Matthew Lee, Reporter, Associated Press
Dear Dan Taylor, Jon Gambrell, Lujain Jo, and Matthew Lee,
I am writing on behalf of Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME, cjpme.org) to express concern about your September 18 article, “Official says 5 prisoners sought by the U.S. in a swap with Iran have flown out of Tehran.”
Your adoption in this article of an official U.S. perspective distorts the record.
To accurately cover world affairs from Canada can be difficult. “Deep in our DNA,” John Manley said not long ago, “we’ve been part of some, what you might call, imperial power,” and our journalism and foreign policy can be twisted by this. Manley has served as foreign minister of Canada and was then president and CEO of the Business Council of Canada. He knows and has warned that we are attached to an American alliance in crisis.
Yet one needs to step back and reconsider this story with more common sense. Especially in light of the recent rise of alternative power blocs, such as BRICs, credible journalism needs to recalibrate and to not accept Western double standards as given.
At issue in this story of yours are some truly provocative double standards from the United States government, and severe forms of policy over-reach. Your story covers the United States release to Iran of funds that South Korea owed to Iran but the U.S. held up. Locally, we are reminded of Manley’s comments on a similar globalization of Middle East double standards: the arrest in British Columbia of a Chinese national based on allegations that her Chinese enterprise had dealt with Iran. So (1) extra-territorial sanctions on Iran but
(2) billions of dollars in aid and weapons for Israel? Credible journalism cannot take for granted the topsy-turvy worldview that gives the United States this skewed global reach.
Skewed language that piles up on Iran (whose officials are called “hard-line,” while United States officials are not) or reproduces false patterns of blame (“a series of attacks and ship seizures attributed to Iran have raised tensions,” with no reference to Israeli or Western affronts) erodes your credibility. Especially in light of recent Israeli political developments, to place the onus of blame on Iran is just not factually credible.
The addition to your article of the following paragraph is, I submit, a bare minimum to distinguish your journalism from the American policy that it reports:
Iran has repeatedly called for the establishment of the Middle East as a Nuclear Weapons-Free Zone, but Israel is well-known to have a nuclear weapons stockpile, and United States troops deployed in the region have the capacity to deploy nuclear weapons of their own. International peace advocates have raised concerns about this double standard. Allegations of Iranian aggressiveness have become contentious in the rest of the world in light of Israeli settler expansion and cross-border military attacks and repeated United States participation in regional wars.
Feel free to contact me at 438-380-5410 if you would like to discuss this further.
PhD, University of Exeter
Director of Strategic Operations
Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East/
Canadiens pour la Justice et la Paix au Moyen-Orient