There were plenty of headlines from the farce taking place in Iran under the banner of the NAM conference.
Secretary General of the UN provides the oppressive regime of Iran with much-needed legitimacy: Headline. Ban talks about “suppression and frustration” without mentioning the Iranian elections and the oppression of Iran’s democracy movement: Headline. An Egyptian president embarrassed his hosts by attacking the Assad regime, the same regime which the Iranians continue to support on a daily basis; diplomatically and militarily: A long, yet accurate, headline. The Syrian delegation walked out in protest. Iranian TV managed to censor (and actually change) parts of the Egyptian president’s speech on their national TV channel: Headline. Yet, somehow, the Huffington Post still manages to produce an article serving the ‘Supreme Leader’ and his propaganda machine.
The NAM conference was a propaganda victory for the Iranians at home. The local TV channels ensured that the domestic target audience received the Pravda-like messaging. The Iranian people, on the other hand, have a reputation of being some of the most active bloggers in the world. Oppressed, blocked and bugged… But they still blog. Blogs by definition do not toe the party line. The Huffington Post, as one of the pioneers of progressive blogging, seems to be losing its way. Surely as a leader in the field, it should remain above merely reprinting the anti-American propaganda of the Ayatollahs?
On the same day that the IAEA released its most recent report of Iranian obfuscation and deceit (as well as reporting worryingly accelerated levels of enrichment), the Huffington Post – most notably through its headline – chose to advance the party line of none other than Khamenei himself. This is both embarrassing and irresponsible. And it’s not the first time. A study conducted at the beginning of this year found that of all the Iran-related articles, the HuffPost staff writes under 40% of them, yet incredibly they are responsible for over 85% of all the pro-Iran articles. When it comes to reporting on the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Huffington Post – unfortunately – can no longer be called “a progressive blog”.