Thursday, July 05, 2007

They'll fit right in

Andrea Peyser gets acquainted with Iran's new 24 hour news channel:

For the last two days, I've been watching PressTV, Iran's brand-new, state-run foray into 24-hour broadcast news. As if the world needed any more anti-Western propaganda than what's already generated by CNN and the BBC.

Since it started beaming itself - in English - to the world via satellite on Monday, PressTV has been the news freak's antidote to reality, streaming a nonstop flow of news abuse, Arab-world victimhood, sports and the weather report in Tehran and New York.

"America Planning a Coup on Saudi Arabia!" warned one of the interchangeable, and humorless, women concealed by a lifeless gray or brown Arabic headscarf.

"Israeli Tank Kills Family!" declares a man with a distinct American accent.

Accessing the station on the Internet, I was assaulted by PressTV's far-flung correspondents and purely accidental acquaintance with the truth.

People recognizable on the other side of the pond for conspiracy theories - such as journalist Kevin Cahill, who believes the British government and CIA teamed up to assassinate a Conservative member of Parliament in 1979 - give the broadcast an air of pseudo-authority.

When it was launched Monday by Iran prez Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the station presented itself as an alternative to Western-biased news. But all it does is promote the insanity of Iran: Hamas is good, Fatah bad. Hezbollah good. And America might as well cease to exist.

She makes a good point. The world already has CNN and the BBC (not to mention MSNBC, the CBS Evening News, Michael Moore and the DNC) do we really need more of this stuff.