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AP Finally Admits Its 'Iran Nuke' Bombshell Is Flawed | The Nation

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Greg Mitchell

Greg Mitchell

Media, politics and culture.

AP Finally Admits Its 'Iran Nuke' Bombshell Is Flawed

Under withering criticism from respected sources (and even yours truly), the Associated Press has finally admitted that the “graph” it used as basis for its “bombshell” story a few days back on Iran trying to build nuclear weapon was basically “inaccurate.” Here’s Glenn Greenwald’s original critique.

AP had responded to its many critics—including from The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists— that it was still “reporting” (that is, working on) the story.

Saturday they reported, “The diagram showed a yield of 50 kilotons. But subsequent criticism of the AP’s report showed that result was widely inaccurate. Instead, the yield of the hypothetical weapon was much higher and hugely greater than any bomb ever produced—meaning it was next to impossible that Iran was contemplating such a weapon.”

But then read the rest of the story to watch as AP as it tries to defend its original story. Fun reading.  As a commenter at Antiwar.com put it, the reporter is "insisting now that even though the graph looks like (and indeed is) an amateurish hoax, he’s betting that the Iranians just made the graph look stupid and wrong intentionally, because that’s just how cagey they are. And that somehow the very wrongness of the graph 'supports suspicions.'”

Gareth Porter dissects it here, and also clams it's partly attributable to "Israeli fraud" and "IAEA credulity."  Peter Hart at FAIR critiques here.   An Antiwar.com review.   Lengthy take at Business Insider along with questions about track record of AP writer.  And Glenn Greenwald on AP's true error:

It is, to put it as generously as possibly, completely reckless for AP to present this primitive, error-strewn, thoroughly common graph as secret, powerful evidence of Iran's work toward building a nuclear weapon. Yet from its inflammatory red headline ("AP EXCLUSIVE: GRAPH SUGGESTS IRAN WORKING ON BOMB") to the end of the article, this is exactly what AP did. And it did so by mindlessly repeating the script handed to it by a country which AP acknowledged is seeking to warn the world about the dangers of Iran. This is worse than stenography journalism. It is AP allowing itself, eagerly and gratefully, to be used to put its stamp of credibility on a ridiculous though destructive hoax.
 

Greg Mitchell has written more than a dozen books on history, the media and politics. His latest book, on the Obama-Romney campaign, is called Tricks, Lies, and Videotape.

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