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June 09, 2009

Press in Frenzy over Iranian Elections
Posted by Patrick Barry

In a battle royal of narratives, the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post duke it this morning out over the Iranian Presidential elections. Reading Farnaz Fassihi's piece in Journal gives you the impression that Iranians are positively bubbling in their support for reformist candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi:

Tens of thousands of demonstrators formed a 12-mile human chain across Iran's capital city Monday, chanting for change, in scenes reminiscent of the 1979 revolution.

The crowd had come out in support of Mir Hossein Mousavi, a reformist former prime minister who is seen as the strongest rival to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Friday's presidential election.

But wait, Thomas Erdbrink says na-nay-no to the Post's readership:

More than 100,000 backers of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad gathered in traditional fashion at a central mosque, arriving in buses organized by members of the baseej, Iran's voluntary paramilitary force. The crowds were so dense that Ahmadinejad's vehicle was unable to reach the stage.

Neither piece says much about the opposing candidate's supporters.

Two articles, two different portrayals of the Iranian political landscape.  One illustration of why it's prudent to treat coverage of Iran's Presidentian elections with a dose of skepticism. 


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Neither piece says much about the opposing candidate's supporters.

Really? Did you read the two pieces, Patrick? The Post article is all about the contrasting campaign tactics of the two camps. The first paragraph is this:

Supporters of both leading candidates in this week's Iranian presidential election flocked to mass rallies here Monday, and the gatherings underscored the differences between the tactics of the two camps.

And the rest of the article gives almost exactly equal space to the Ahmadinejad campaign and the Mousavi campaign. After the account of the Ahmadinejad rally, we have this account of a Mosavi rally:

Supporters of Ahmadinejad's main challenger, former prime minister Mir Hossein Mousavi, had to be more inventive to find a place for their rally. Over the weekend, a government organization refused permission for his campaign to use Tehran's 120,000-seat Azadi Stadium for a rally originally planned for Sunday. But in less than 24 hours, using text messages and Facebook postings, thousands of Mousavi backers gathered along Vali-e Asr Avenue, Tehran's 12-mile-long arterial road.

Iranian elections can bring some change to the disgruntled youth of Iran. Nijad and other religious-militant organizations are controlling this country for over thirty years. Ironically, none of the four candidates is the real moderate one.

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Very helpful stuff I would say.Throughout history, the Iranian people have constantly been in movement for change.

And the rest of the article gives almost exactly equal space to the Ahmadinejad campaign and the Mousavi campaign. After the account of the Ahmadinejad rally, we have this account of a Mosavi rally

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