April 15, 2010

The Contradictory Voices of the Washington Times

The Washington Times ran an editorial Wednesday morning

accusing Voice of America’s Persian Service – which is currently jammed by the Iranian authorities – of being biased in favor of the very government that opposes its reporting. As part of the attack against VOA, Washington Times also made false accusations against NIAC.

The VOA responded to the Washington Times editorial today, referring to NIAC as “a leading Iranian-American group.”

NIAC’s response to the Washington Times editorial can be found below.


NIAC statement in response to April 14, 2010 Washington Times Editorial:

Being unfairly maligned by the editorial team at the Washington Times is nothing new for NIAC. In its editorial on April 14, “Voice of the Mullahs,” the Washington Times editorial staff has contradicted its own prior reporting by publishing false information about the National Iranian American Council (NIAC). The Times appears to have set a new low as it relates to both its treatment of NIAC and its trampling of one of the cornerstones of American democracy — journalistic integrity.

In late 2009, Eli Lake, of the Times, did a story about NIAC using documents that were obtained in a court proceeding and made available to the Times by another entity, not NIAC. Using these court documents, the Times ran a front page “exclusive” story.

While riddled with other inaccuracies, Lake’s article did at least accurately report that: “[B]etween 2002 and 2007, NIAC received a little less than $200,000 from the National Endowment for Democracy to build the capacity of Iranian nongovernmental organizations.” NIAC received these funds to do capacity building and exchanges with Iranian grassroots organizations – none of them were fronts for the Iranian regime and NED was fully informed on all of our activities.

Inconsistent with the Times’ own reporting, the editorial staff exploded the amount of NED funding received by NIAC from $200,000 to a claim that NIAC received millions of dollars in federal funds. Specifically, the Times editorial staff wrote: “[T]rita Parsi, head of the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), which has received millions of dollars in federal funds to promote democracy in Iran.”

It is clear that the Times published false information in its most recent editorial about NIAC despite its knowledge of NIAC’s finances, based upon 2002 and forward NIAC financial documents the Times possessed and reviewed as a part of its investigative report. The Time has willfully misrepresented the facts in their zeal to promote a preconceived opinion.

It is not a surprise that columnist David Brock, and former Times employee, once said of the Washington Times that: “the Washington Times was governed by a calculatedly unfair political bias and that its journalistic ethics were close to nil.”

The Washington Times editorial board clearly disagrees with our preference for avoiding a military confrontation with Iran. This raises the obvious question: Is the Times’ editorial staff deliberately attempting to misrepresent information about NIAC? And, if so, pursuant to whose agenda?




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