This is the question that’s staring us in the face as media coverage of this week’s P5+1-Iran Geneva meetings picks up.
When we established this blog a year ago, our working assumption was that media coverage would provide answers regarding the essence of the nuclear crisis. Fast-forwarding to the present, we regret to say that this is not the case. In the past few weeks since talks resumed, references to violations of UN Security Council resolutions and IAEA norms have been few and far between. Indeed, since Rouhani/Zarif swept through New York in September very few media outlets seem to be showing any interest in substance.
So what is the media taking an interest in? Labeling, it seems. Who are the hardliners? Who’s trying to facilitate? This seems to be the long and short of it.
For instance, as talks progressed on Thursday we found this re-tweeted by Al-Monitor‘s Laura Rosen:
New sanctions would weaken those pushing for a deal and allow hardliners to say, ‘see, we told you so’.
We have no idea who the original tweeter is, but everyone knows Rozen. This is the kind of stuff that’s inundated media outlets and the social media for weeks now. The message, in our mind, is clear: doesn’t matter what kind of agreement is reached, what’s important is that the sides agree to something. A far cry from Secretary of State Kerry’s warning against a “bad deal.”
At this writing, the deal emerging – judging by the press – is heading in the direction of some kind of uranium enrichment freeze in return for some sanctions relief. No brainer. Never mind that Tehran again made it clear that an enrichment freeze is not in the cards. Don’t confuse media-consumers with facts, just get a deal.