Sunday, February 20, 2005

Misconceptions

I believe that Iranian journalists working in the US ought to act more responsibly in these crucial times when it comes to portraying the image of Iran for their readers.

Unfortunately, many of them (journalists) - despite having been born and raised in Iran and despite their deep inherited knowledge of their culture - seem to prefer to perceive their own country through a "western" pair of glasses and depict Iran the way Nicholas Kristof or Thomas Friedman would have, had they been assigned to write the reportage!

Their articles are often so packed with generalizations, exaggerated lurid materials and sensationalism that they really serve no other purpose than to gain some brief moments of public attention at the expense of creating irrevocable misconceptions about their country.

Nazila Fathi's recent article in the New York Times (titled Bad economy leads Iranians to seek fortune in supernatural) is unfortunately a good example of this sort of journalism that does more harm than good by its selective facts, clichés, stereotypes and over simplifications:

We see once again that same old cliché of a " poor beaten iranian woman" whom this time resorts to supernatural powers to get her husband to stop beating her; we see again this "traditional muslim character" (present in almost all of these reportages) whom - for the sake of today's article - wants to spell magic on her husband to get him to divorce his "second wife"; and off course this always present "westernized" predictable young girl whom - this time - seeks the services of a fortuneteller to find out if her boyfriend will finally marry her and take her to the US or not!

And this is supposed to represent the reality of the Iranian society in all its complexity!

I urge everyone to read Mrs. Fathi's article, then write her an email to ask her if she has ever seen those "professional psychic" and "tarot card reader" infomercials on american TV? And subsequently say if it is fair to assert that "Americans" too are resorting to supernaturals?

Anyways, I believe that in view of this psychological warfare that has been waged on Iran by the US mass media, we really don't need to contribute to these misconceptions ourselves.

Complementary Note: Please read this brilliant article by Alireza Doostdar.

27 Comments:

Blogger Sima said...

Good point. The sad part is that the journalists you refer to become representatives of a whole nation, as their voices are given an auora of "authenticity." I will write to Fathi, but unfortunately the problem is larger than her.

10:56 AM  
Blogger Ingwimbe said...

Misconceptions? Are we misconceiving stoning? How about oppression? Or when Iran raised the female marrying age from 9 to 13? What is the matter with you people?

What you believe is barbarism is something entirely different; something alien to you: it is the truth. I cannot discuss stoning and 9 year old girls getting married without sounding barbaric!!!

http://www.rferl.org/features/2001/07/04072001121426.asp

http://www.hrw.org/worldreport99/mideast/iran.html

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/2609597.stm

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/1288003.stm

http://www.hypocrites.com/article6802.html

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/3130234.stm

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/3389017.stm

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/409275.stm

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/despatches/52112.stm

12:12 PM  
Anonymous 1979 said...

Bugger off, and blow it out of your elbow!

Stoning!!!!!

Makes good copy, the dates of the most recent stoning, perhaps could be some indication of the bold assertions, however that is not at issue, since the lickspittles find their underachivements in the format of often incoherent diatribes have buyers, who are pushing their own agenda!

How will they be judged by Iranians, is not on their minds for the time being anyway!

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