To be honest, this week I had initially chosen to write about a subject that is among the most pertinent in current U.S. thought and media commentary. Partisan, divisive and all pervasive, the mere mention of the subject always elicits a strong response. The American public follows its every move and hangs on its every nuance enthralled by its ongoing progression and the latest twists and turns of its narrative. The Subject: Glenn Beck.
But then I chanced upon a headline that seemed to make all else pale in comparison. Glenn Beck will have to wait.
The headline 'Iran Calls on Britain to Avoid Violence against Protesters,' is as outrageous as the fact that it was carried in all seriousness by mainstream outlets including Fox News, Reuters, the Guardian and the Jerusalem Post, when the only publication that could legitimately carry this headline is the Onion. To their credit, the one publication that got it right, Sky News, entitled their story 'Iran Uses Riots as Propaganda.'
The Iranian call follows three days of looting and violence by British youth that has yet to be quelled by the Metropolitan Police. Hundreds have been arrested, and 16,000 officers have been deployed to halt the violence. British Prime Minister David Cameron called the scenes 'sickening' and pledged to restore order.
In a most cynical attempt to take advantage of the situation, Iran quickly seized the opportunity to draw moral equivalency between the British situation and Iran's brutal crackdown on human rights protesters during the 'Green Revolution' a few years ago.
The Iranian Fars News Agency reported that Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehman-Parast urged the British police "to exercise restraint against protesters, and for the British government to start dialogue with the protesters and to listen to their demands in order to calm the situation down."
He also called on independent human rights organizations to investigate the killing of 29-year-old Mark Duggan, which sparked the first riots in London "in order to protect the civil rights and civil liberties."
Iranian impudence went a step further when they made the ludicrous offer of "readiness to send a group of human rights rapporteurs to Britain to assess the conditions after the British security forces staged a violent clampdown."
"The Islamic Consultative Assembly (the parliament) announces its readiness to send a human rights delegation to Britain to study human rights violations in the country," Foreign Policy Commission Deputy Head Hossein Ebrahimi told FNA on Tuesday, he continued, "We urge the British government and the regime's embassy in Tehran to provide the ground for the presence... and avoid making unreal excuses."
Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels famously said, "Think of the press as a great keyboard on which the government can play." Iran has played like a virtuoso.
This incident is yet another strong example of how intimately Iran understands the moral relativist mindset that is pervasive throughout the Western world and the extent to which the media can be manipulated. For Iran this is an ongoing endeavor, as I have highlighted other examples in the past.
Although it is likely that many people will see right through this ploy, it is also possible that others around the world will not. The seeds of doubt will be planted in the mind of many who may think, 'hang on, why are we any different from them?" This is especially the case when respected media outlets propagate this perverse fallacy.
The unfortunate result of this jackhammer propaganda is that it ebbs away at our society's collective resolve to effectively deal with the greatest threat to global security; Iran's international campaign of belligerency.
This instance serves as yet another stark wake-up call for global leaders to cast aside the ever manipulated mood of morally relativist thought and set out clear and consistent principles. If there is ever a cause for regulating media, it is to ban the regurgitation of Iranian tripe.