I’ll be in Washington next week. I’m giving a lunchtime talk at the Center for American Progress on Tuesday, February 1 at noon, but you have to rsvp. Details are here. That may be full already, though, but I’ll be giving another talk the same night, February 1, at Busboys and Poets at 14th and V at 6:30.
I’ve got a new Think Again called “Craven News Network” about CNN and Ms. Bachmann’s address, and that’s here.
Also, I did a piece overnight on the final throes of the Marty Peretz era at The New Republic and that’s here.
Oh and, there’s an interesting review of Kabuki Democracy, here.
And now, ladies and gentlemen, the Main Event:
Happily, I don’t teach instructional journalism classes any more, but if I did, I would use Robert Dreyfuss’s post on thenation.com entitled “Alterman Backs Act of War Against Iran” as an example of “how not to.”
In just a few hundred words, Dreyfuss offers a veritable master class in the use of journalistic weasel words for the purposes of McCarthyite insinuation. My column, which by the way, was an attack on those neocons who tried to pressure the US into supporting an Israeli attack on Iran, he insists, “resonates with the same bellicose rhetoric of the neoconservatives that he denounces.” Thing is, the only example he offers is my mention of the “Iranian leadership’s anti-Semitic, Holocaust-denying circles.” Does Dreyfuss deny that Iran’s leaders—Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in particular—are either anti-Semitic or holocaust-denying? Not that I can tell, but apparently saying so makes one a bellicose neocon.
Dreyfuss continues that an “act of war” has been committed against Iran whose leaders “have committed no aggressive act against either the United States or Iran’s neighbors.” I have no idea if a computer virus constitutes an “act of war” or not, though if it does, an awful lot of hackers working on behalf of say, WikiLeaks, better watch their backs. As for Iran’s alleged benignity, this is naïve in the extreme. Does Dreyfuss think that the arming, training and funding of terrorists does not constitute a form of “aggression”?
He also spends a great deal of time arguing that an American attack on Iran under Obama was not imminent, but fails to notice that the column was entirely devoted to an Israeli, not an American operation. Giving him the benefit of the doubt, I chalk this up to sheer sloppiness, rather than the time-honored anti-Semitic trope of refusing to distinguish between US and Israeli actions as if the two nations were somehow indistinguishable. (Come to think of it, I can think of a few neocons who have that problem as well…)