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February 3, 2017 2:29 pm

New York Times Offers ‘Alternative Facts’ On Iran Missile Test

avatar by Ira Stoll

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An Iranian Emad ballistic missile. Photo: Wikipedia.

An Iranian Emad ballistic missile. Photo: Wikipedia.

A New York Times editorial headlined “New Tensions With Iran” discusses a recent Iranian missile test and the Trump administration’s response to it. The editorial reports:

…despite what Mr. Flynn has said, the test is not considered a violation of 2015 United Nations resolution that calls on Iran to refrain from testing ballistic missiles, without making it mandatory.

There appears to be a word — “a”? “the”? — missing from the sentence, but never mind that. This is an example of the Times editorial board operating with its own set of facts, untethered to any recognizable version of underlying reality, even the version that exists in the same newspaper’s own news columns.

The “is not considered” formulation uses the passive voice that is favored by the Times when it is fudging the truth. Clearly, the national security adviser to President Trump, General Flynn, considers it a violation. And he is not alone.

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After a similar missile launch last year, the Associated Press reported, in a March 2016 dispatch that was also published at the time on the New York Times website:

UNITED NATIONS –  The United States and three allies called for a Security Council meeting to respond to Iran’s recent ballistic missile tests which they say were carried out in defiance of a UN resolution.

A report from the US, France, Britain and Germany obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press calls the launches “destabilizing and provocative.” It said the Shahab-3 medium-range ballistic missile and Qiam-1 short-range ballistic missile fired by Iran are “inherently capable of delivering nuclear weapons.”

A Security Council resolution adopted after the Iran nuclear deal was signed last year calls for Iran not to launch any ballistic missiles capable of delivering a nuclear weapon…

The report from the four Western nations was sent to Spain’s UN ambassador who has been designated by the Security Council to receive communications about Iran’s compliance with the resolution.

It asked Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to report “fully and thoroughly” on Iranian ballistic missile activity “inconsistent” with the council resolution, and for the Security Council to discuss “appropriate responses.”

The Times itself reported in March 2016:

The United States rebuked Iran on Friday over a series of “provocative and destabilizing” ballistic missile tests this week and all but accused the Iranians of having violated a United Nations Security Council resolution that calls on them to refrain from such acts.

The American ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, said in a statement that the United States had scheduled a Security Council meeting for Monday to address what she called “these dangerous launches.”… Security Council Resolution 2231, which formally abrogated all of the Council’s nuclear-related sanctions against Iran once the agreement took effect, also included language meant to prevent Iran from launching missiles capable of carrying nuclear weapons.

If the United Nations Security Council hasn’t declared the tests a violation, it’s because of the Russian veto. It’d be ironic if the Times editorialists, who have been falling all over themselves declaring President Trump to be a puppet of Vladimir Putin, were themselves allied with the permissive Russian position on Iranian missiles at a time when President Trump, along with France, Britain, Germany and even the Obama administration, considered the missile tests to be a violation of the Security Council Resolution.

A cynic might suggest the Times submissiveness to Iran has something to do with the fact that the newspaper, which has been facing plummeting profits and revenues, is trying to prop up its faltering business by selling tickets, at $135,000 a person, on a private jet tour of Iran guided by Times journalists. Or maybe the Times editorialists are hoping the Iranians will use the missiles to obliterate some Israeli West Bank settlements and thus, by the Times’ theory, advance the cause of Middle East peace.

Whatever the reason, for a newspaper that is so quick to use the word “lie” in reference to the Trump administration’s crowd estimates or other statements, the flat statement in the editorial that the Iranian test “is not considered a violation” sure veers awfully far into the zone of misrepresenting the facts. Maybe the missile test “is not considered a violation” by the Times journalists leading the $135,000 private jet tours of Iran. But to an Israeli who risks getting obliterated by such a missile, or to any reasonably objective observer other than maybe an ayatollah or the Kremlin — even to the Obama administration, France, Britain, and Germany — missile testing is considered a violation.

It’ll be interesting to see if the Times takes such a permissive view of violations of US resolutions when it comes to Israeli settlement building. I doubt it. The Times willingness to look the other way applies selectively — to the Islamic Republic but not to the Jewish state. It’s a classic double standard. Maybe Israel would have better luck with the Times editorialists if it could get the paper to start offering $135,000-a-seat private jet tours of Judea and Samaria with stops in Ariel, Alon Shvut and Efrat. Good luck finding Times journalists willing to serve as guides.

More of Ira Stoll’s media critique, a regular Algemeiner feature, can be found here.

The opinions presented by Algemeiner bloggers are solely theirs and do not represent those of The Algemeiner, its publishers or editors. If you would like to share your views with a blog post on The Algemeiner, please be in touch through our Contact page.

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  • Pedro

    I don’t see any proof provided in the text of the article above that the missiles fit the ban definition of UNSC 2331, namely “missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons”. Did the launched missiles comply with that ban? If so, I think that some proof would be in order, otherwise this text becomes a case of “cry wolf”. The world does not need more of that. If not proven capable, the Algemeiner should make a clarifying statement.

  • Mike AU

    Maybe the New York Times thinks Iran are planning
    ballistic fireworks displays for the jet tour people, isn’t
    it on the brochure ?

  • Efram Paul

    Hasn’t the Times been appointed the official sponsor and voice of the terrorist republic of Iran?

  • Henry Kendall

    “It’ll be interesting to see if the Times takes such a permissive view of violations of US resolutions when it comes to Israeli settlement building.”

    Apparent Typo – should be “UN resolutions,” no

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