Media Blog

David Duke, Academic?

Bryan Preston finds a lesson about how western news agencies operate in tyrannies from looking at a Reuters reporter’s description of David Duke:

David Duke, an “academic?” That’s a bit like calling me a wing for the Dallas Mavericks. You can say it all you want, but saying it doesn’t make it true.
I got to wondering, where might [Reuters reporter] Parisa Hafezi have gotten the idea that David Duke is an “academic?” Well, other than from Duke himself, who is in Tehran meeting with fellow anti-Semitic ghouls and “academics.” He has to put something on his business card, and “racist wingnut” probably won’t slip past the editors at Kinkos. […]
So what’s my point in all this, other than to poke fun at David Duke’s academic credential? To point out that Reuters’ Parisa Hafezi has published, on Reuters’ byline, the closest thing to the Iranian government’s point of view that won’t show up on Mahmoud’s letterhead. A Google search on “Parisa Hafezi” turns up a mine of stories couched from that perspective, more or less. This is how Parisa Hafezi can continue to operate within the tyranny that is the Islamic Republic of Iran, and this is the product that Reuters puts out to its thousands of outlets around the world. Hafezi is useful to Iran, by publishing its perspective (though it’s often tin-eared and cluess, as in calling David Duke a “US academic”) as hard news.
Would Reuters publish a news story written from a more or less American government perspective, like it does routinely with the work of Parisa Hafezi?
Don’t make me laugh. Again.

If you think Preston’s exaggerating, you should revisit Eason Jordan’s “The News We Kept to Ourselves.”
UPDATE: Speak of the devil.