On the way to this reasonably balanced approach, however, the media stumbled into a few PR traps set by spin doctors. Some relevant examples in this context:
According to this AFP headline – duplicated by numerous media outlets – “Iran says will accept snap visits of its nuclear sites.” Tehran actually said “it could allow short-notice visits of its nuclear sites as a final step in a year-long process.“
Could… as a final step… Not trivial details.
Another thorny issue to come up in coverage was the question of Iran’s readiness to adhere to the IAEA’s Additional Protocol. Al-Monitor‘s Laura Rozen declared in this context that Iran is “open to Additional Protocol as part of end game.” Open? End game? But Tehran already signed the agreement in 2003 – shouldn’t the conversation focus now on immediate implementation?
The Guardian‘s Julian Borger reported that “Iran signaled the possibility of significant concessions.” If they’re only signaling – and “very few details” of Zarif’s presentation were released – how does Borger know the concessions are significant? Could it be that he’s mixing fact with his own personal inclination to give the Iranians the benefit of the doubt?
The Daily Beast‘s Ali Gharib also fell into this trap, proclaiming that “scant details emerged from the talks, but progress seemed apparent.” Indeed…
Bottom line: the CSM‘s Scott Peterson opined after Day 1 that “no news may be good news.” Seems that after Day 2, as well, very little concrete information was spun into good news. We suggest the media put a lid on celebrations and wait for the next round instead.