Western media propagating negative narratives about Islamic Republic

Western media propagating negative narratives about Islamic Republic

Mainstream media has played a major role in propagating negative narratives about the Islamic Republic.

*** By Marzieh Hashemi

(The article was originally published on Press TV website)

The volcanic eruption of the victory of the Islamic revolution of Iran, which took place on February 11, 1979, left the West reeling from the shock waves.  The United States in particular, the puppeteer of the previous regime, miscalculated the possibility of a revolution even taking place in the Shah’s Iran. Just one year prior to the revolution, the US President at the time, Jimmy Carter, said Iran was an ‘island of stability”.

That is how out of touch Washington was with the movement, which was taking place on the ground, even though there were at least fifty-thousand Americans working in Iran at the time and the Shah’s regime was basically in the hands of Washington. 

This disconnect continued after the revolution with the United States miscalculating the reality of what was unfolding inside of Iran.  Much of this can be attributed to the mainstream media and being misguided by their so-called experts.  Western pundits reiterated that the Islamic Revolution would not and could not last.

They gave their analyses of the reasons the revolution would not succeed, in typical pompous western mainstream media style, as if they were the ultimate experts on a subject. And viewers simply should be in awe of their knowledge and accept whatever they had to say, as if it was some holy edict.  This has been the problem with the west’s perspective on Iran since 1979.  There was not an effort to understand Iranians from their Islamic and independence-seeking perspective, it was the Western media and its political elite, trying to explain Iran through their own lens, which looked down on any other socio-political narratives, except the neoliberal one.

Mainstream media has played a major role in propagating negative narratives about the Islamic Republic over the years. Since the victory of the revolution until the present, there has been a desire to paint Iran as having an extreme, violent, frightening “regime”, which could care less about its own people’s needs and is a major threat to its neighbors and the rest of the world!   What has been witnessed over the decades, in the Americans’ coverage of Iran is that despite claims of being an independent media, Hollywood, along with its network news’ cousins, have been very much in line with United States’ foreign policy.

 From Hollywood to New York, from music to films to the news, when it comes to Iran, most of these entities have not deviated from Washington’s line, which has been one of antagonism and demonization.

Across the board, Western media has thrown all that it could at Iran and the goal of that seems to have been multifaceted. On the one hand Americans and Westerners in general could have negative perspectives about Iran and Islam and on the other hand, doubt could be instilled in Iranians themselves about their abilities and the direction of their nation.

If a country is demonized for years, it is much easier to take aggressive actions against it because surely those people “must deserve to be bombed, targeted or sanctioned”, since they don’t abide by the rules of the international community! And Islam can be portrayed as violent and as an ideology which clashes with western values, thus vilifying it and opening the way for a full barrage of attacks from the west on Islam, which is unfortunately what we have witnessed. Thus, we see how the U.S. media at times, seem to be more an extension of the State Department than an independent entity.

   Over the years, we have seen Iranian men demonized in Hollywood productions, such as “Not Without My Daughter” or “300”, where Persians (Iranians) are shown to be violent and immoral. We have witnessed Iran being portrayed as a dark and depressing place, where people’s rights are wielded upon by the “regime”. We have heard songs singing about bombing Iran and U.S. President after President, telling their people that Iran is dangerous and a threat to democratic values.  And more recently, Silicon Valley has joined in on the chorus of Iran bashing. A simple Google search on “Iran” and the images which appear is one form of controlling the narrative. Another one is simple outright censorship, which has been readily implemented by Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and others social media platforms when something is posted positive about the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The mainstream media news outlets have been rampant in showing the Islamic Republic as a very aggressive nation and it doesn’t seem to matter that Iran has not initiated a war against any country in more than one hundred years! Very little has been reported about the role Iran has played and sacrifices made in stopping terrorist groups and how it has helped stabilize neighboring countries, which were about to be overrun by DAESH and other terrorist groups.

 Then we have the nuclear issue, which the United States and others have used to sanction Iran. Never mind the fact that Iran’s nuclear program is peaceful and that the Leader of the Revolution, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has said nuclear weapons are forbidden for Iran because it is against Islam and against humanity! His words on Iran’s nuclear program are not highlighted in the mainstream media because they do not fit in the “aggressive war mongering” Iran narrative. However, Israel’s commentary that Iran is trying to create a nuke, from the entity which has hundreds of nuclear warheads, though Tel Aviv does not admit to this, is reiterated time and time again. Fiction is reported as truth and the truth is ignored or downplayed.

All of these acts play a role in trying to affect global opinion about Iran when at the same time there is a country, such as the United States, which has been at war 226 years out of its 244 years of existence! If that is not a warmonger, then what is? However, due to the fact that the U.S. has dominated the media narrative, the peacemaker is shown to be aggressive and the warmonger, as the lover of peace, spreading liberty around the world.

Thus, the disconnect  continues regarding Iran.  The reality on the ground is that the Islamic Republic is now forty-two years old. Whether Western pundits report about its longevity and stability or not, it will not negate the reality.  And this is the point, that despite broadcasting about the imminent fall of the Islamic Republic for over four decades, the veracity is something else. 

The West and particularly the United States could do itself a favor by reflecting a more accurate picture of Iran, but it needs to take off its Atlanticist glasses first.  Then perhaps a sharper image of Iran could be seen and realized that the Islamic Republic exists and it is not on the edge of disintegration and is very much alive and thriving.

 It is time for the United States to get over its shock and awe of what happened in 1979. That political paradigm, which existed between Iran and the United States is over.  Iran is no longer a vassal state of Washington, but an independent country determined to decide its own path and future.  These are the lens to look through if one really wants to understand the reality of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

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