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URGENT: USA Today penetrated by pro-Iran propagandist

Discussion in 'News And Current Events' started by Unregistered, Jun 28, 2009.

  1. I'm starting this off by saying that I'm a Gannett employee. Having said this, I've got some disturbing information about a development within USA Today/Gannett. It's a problem I can't personally deal with because doing so would, unfortunately, rub off as a discriminatory practice.

    One of our weekend writers (Reyhaneh Fathieh, used to do lifestyle articles such as this gem) has been tasked with writing a piece on Iran, politics, and the like. However, from having overheard her discussions, I can certify that she is very much in favor of the current Iranian regime. On multiple separate occasions, she herself noted her belief in the "possibility" that the murder of Neda Soltani on the streets of Iran may actually have been a terrorist attack by Iranian dissidents, oblivious to our own internally confirmed research that the killing was accomplished by the hands of the government-funded Basij paramilitary forces.

    I do not know how her piece will go. However, this needs to be stopped before she's given a global audience. I need to stress that nonviolent means are the only way this can be done; any violent encounters will inevitably be turned into a cause célèbre by the rest of the newswriters here at Gannett, which will only lead to her status being elevated to that of a local hero once she continues with her article.

    I must note that this is not an opinion piece. The piece she will be writing is a factual piece and thus will have great impact on the readers of the paper. She knows how to write; she already has enough experience to spin opinions however she needs, and she also has the writing education and background to make a compelling case.

    The best way to block this piece or to change the author is by contacting USA Today directly. If you live anywhere near the McLean area (DC, Northern Virginia, and Maryland), visit our headquarters. Otherwise, call using the various lines available on our contact pages:
    Contact Us: Feedback, Comments & Suggestions - USATODAY.com
    USA TODAY

    The best initial bet for getting some focus onto this would be to ask to speak directly to David Hunke (Publisher) or John Hillkirk (Editor). State your concerns and make sure they find someone else who is unbiased to write this article. I personally would like to hold away because I'm highly in favor of the resistance, and it'll show in any piece which I'd write, but there are plenty of others who would do a much better job at presenting the facts as they need to be presented.

    I do not have a timetable for this article.

    Good luck with promoting communication out of Iran; it's mostly because of the actions of pro-freedom members of society such as yourselves that we've been able to hear anything at all, and I would hate for our reputation as an unbiased news source to be tarnished because of a bad assignment choice.
  2. Find the video links of Neda's death along with the BBC interview of the doctor who was there. Discreetly show that to her somehow, in a casual way if possible. Maybe that'll have some effect.

    A point about the interview: it seems the Basiji who shot her was very young, and it was his first killing.
  3. She saw the video and acknowledges the fact that the killing happened. She does not believe that the killing was carried out by the Basij, despite our own research confirming as such.
  4. Has she seen the BBC interview too, or does she dismiss the poor doctor's testimony? If she does dismiss it, then Allah help her, there is no way to convince her otherwise.
  5. Sounds like you've got more influence than any of us. Why don't you go over her head and reasonably explain how her bias and the sensitivity of this issue will make the story counter-effective and possibly inflammatory?

    Sounds more logical than a bunch of non-Iranians trying to flood them with complaints. Stop being a bitch and worrying about "discrimination." If you present the right people with the necessary factual evidence, I'm sure they'll come to the same conclusion you did.
  6. Sounds like you're clueless as to all of the issues this entails.
  7. Impossible for a number of reasons.

    Even if I explain it to her, she can still push her views and I won't be able to reasonably justify it, and if we try to take action, we'll be sued for discrimination.

    This is beyond my control.

  8. let her do it, will just tank her career.. i see she has interviewed people like Trisha yearwood in the past and just could not picture patriotic Americans agreeing to interview after something like that..
  9. Is it possible to write another article on Iran for a different sect and publish that along with hers?

    If the direct approach doesn't work, try to go at an oblique angle.
  10. get in touch with prominent Iranian Americans I am sure they will soil bloomers upon hearing what you are saying..

    Track down Rudi Bakhtiar here, Home | PAAIA: Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans
  11. echo-IRAN Member

    0/10 USA will ask a lifestyle writer to write about Neda?
  12. It won't matter; she's using this to segue her career into political journalism. Lifestyle was just an intro for her.

    @echo, that is why USA Today is giving her the chance to write about this. If she does well (and trust me, she will), she'll cement her career in political journalism.
  13. echo-IRAN Member

    -1/10 You are getting desperate.
  14. Lara Member

    Wonder whether it's relevant for someone else to write an article about her, or if that would cross journalism guidelines.

    Could you speak to the powers that be? Or is that still discrimination.
  15. LeRoi Member

    yes, stop the article. poor thing will be branded as a nut- globally
  16. atmasabr Member

    I think the topic poster needs to chill.

    The allegations you are making are fairly serious and could jeopardize the writer's career. It's highly unethical for you to be making them to any authority, much less the general public, without some serious evidence to back it up.

    This is especially true since the article has not even come out yet. It is the job of the editors of USA Today to screen the articles they print so as not to avoid printing out obviously incorrect or ridiculous information. This isn't something they always succeed in, but the nature of capitalism is that when newspapers mess up, they get caught by their competitors and they pay for it. There is nothing wrong with one newspaper printing a puff piece on the Basij that gets important facts backwards, so long as this gets corrected quickly, and it will. Worst case scenario is that you'll drop a line by a media watchdog organization. But you are jumping the gun and not giving the author a chance.
  17. I have to agree with the last. You came to the wrong place for this.

    The whole reason Anonymous is involved (aside from the obvious lulz) are the attacks on free speech Iranian government actions represent on the net.

    We are not about silence.

    We are about the deafening roar of the masses.

    In open debate, truth has nothing to fear of lies. Our objective is not to frame the debate; our objective is to see that no party silences the debate.

    You seriously misjudge who you are talking to.
  18. This is a pretty good argument against what I originally wrote, actually. You're right about editors screening it, but my worry is with what would happen if our editors fail at screening it and the piece passes through.

    What kind of evidence would be needed? It's not something I would likely retrieve since I'm not out to ruin her life (I just want the article to be blocked).
  19. You've convinced me, so I'll retract my plea. I still don't believe that such a piece being published is right, but my own career isn't at risk, and the argument regarding other organizations jumping on the opportunity to correct this is definitely valid, so I'll stop.
  20. The point is only to propagate truth. As a journalist, can you honestly say you are alright with the silencing of any voice? Silencing liers only buys them legitimacy. Lies are not the enemy of truth; silence is.

  21. i agree with the 2 above, he/she seems a little to hell bent on this and seems more like a war on her not her article..common sense says anyone writing in a paper called USA today that thinks a article supporting the regime is not like gonna go over like a turd in the water cooler
    is delusional..
  22. Your initial response is understandable; fear does that. We all look around and see repression, censorship and horrible acts of depraved violence visited on the innocent by their own governments.

    When we see this ignored, treated with indifference, or even defended, it can be a bit like those kinds of nightmares, where we try to scream but cannot make a sound.

    It is painful to care.

    It is horrible to believe.

    Pol Pot died comfortably at an old age in his own home.

    In desperation, do not "become the monster so the monster will not break you."

    Truth has won before and will win again. Do not worry about winning justice, just winning tomorrow. No compromise that violates the principles you fight for will ever do more than defeat you by a different path.

    I leave you with a quote attributed to Chesty Puller, of US Marine Corps fame:

    "Have been pursuing the enemy for days and have now found them. They are in front of us, they are behind us, they are on both sides of us and outnumber us significantly. There is no way they can get away this time!"
  23. Oh, on the Puller quote, the marines won that fight. A significant part of winning is never letting the enemy convince you they have won.
  24. Jaymax Moderator

    Rather than stop - keep a watching brief for us - once (or if) the article gets published, you've alerted the troops and USA Today and the author will likely receive a hefty volume of damaging criticism.

    Be sure to let us know if it's published.
  25. PersiaBeFree Member

  26. dr3k-IRAN Member

    This sounds like

    a) a reporter at USA who has a grudge against someone who wants to ruin their career through this board

    b) a person who just said an incredibe amount of bullshit without any proof at all

    c) how do we even know she's not writing an anti-Iran piece and you're an Iranian agent trying to get her fired ?

    d) how do we know you're not just some weird asshole?
  27. Jaymax Moderator

    "The time has come," the Walrus said,
    "To talk of many things:
    Of shoes--and ships--and sealing-wax--
    Of cabbages--and kings--
    And why the sea is boiling hot--
    And whether pigs have wings."

    ;-)

    EDIT: ('cos I'm me) - not to be over-analysed!
  28. atmasabr Member

    Maybe the kind of stuff whistleblowers use.

    At the very least, multiple dated accounts of what she has said and when she said it, with witness corroboration. That's still a little weak (it's hearsay).

    Anything written.

    Look, media bias is endemic. Your concern about misinformation being passed about Iran is I think overblown. That article will not be the first anyone reads about the topic, and it won't be the last.
  29. Let it go ahead

    Hmmm,

    As a journalist in a previous life, I'm not sure that there is much that can be done or indeed should be done, if the editorial team is hell-bent on going ahead.

    Hopefully the Editor, exec editor etc. should have enough nous to know that an article such as the one you outline is likely to reduce USA Today to a laughing stock.

    Hopefully they wouldn't let a non-opinion piece go out unchallenged and unedited.
  30. a desert Member

    If you are who you say you are (I'm reserving judgment, and please don't take it personally- it being the internets, and all) then you've already one what needs to be done- you've let us know that this article is being written, so we're ready to debate intelligently when it does come out.

    That's all I think we can do, from a logical standpoint, and it's better for us. We shouldn't suppress speech on our end when we're fighting for others voices.
  31. Not that anyone will read this...

    Not that anyone will read this, but if you actually read the other posts within the thread, even just the ones by the op, you'd find most of what is being said was said, that he has retracted any request for preemptive strikes, and has been advised to keep the activist community apprised of developments.

    Not that if you haven't figured this out for yourself that you'd actually read far enough before opining for this to serve you any use, but just in case someone does :-D.
  32. Well, "the possibility" is there ... there are a lot of interests clashing in Iran right now and there is no conclusive evidence on either side. I haven't seen any conclusive evidence of "government-funded Basij paramilitary forces" being responsible ... nobody can even be sure who shot her and to say that it was Iran government-funded without any shred of evidence is irresponsible at best and pure propaganda at worst. I can not think of how would the doctor know who it was who shot her, how did he concluded that?

    Only lies depend on silencing the opposition. The truth can survive any level of scrutiny, if she would indeed write inaccurate and biased article it can be easily countered by evidence proving her wrong. So far however it seems you're the one who is biased and asking for support to censor a journalist on a pro-free-speech forum is kind of stupid move. From your description she seems much more balanced and unbiased compared to you trying to shut her up, I'm glad you droped that rhetoric ... It truly did make you look like a shill.

    NYPA!
  33. Yes, but the Iranian government is sure. It was a BBC journalist. No wait, that story was changed. Now it's a protester who killed Neda!

    We have at least one witness claiming it was a Basiji and there is a simple explanation. The Basiji, who have guns, shot her out of hate. Or you can go for the complex tinfoil hat theory of this being a CIA/BBC plot to destabilize Iran. But Occam's Razor says that the more simple explanation is more likely.
  34. Exactly. Once the article has been posted, I'll link it in this thread for some intelligent debate.

    I've given myself some time to think about this last night and decided that, as has been stated numerous times in this thread, I am indeed heavily biased against the publishing of this article by Ms. Fathieh. However, it is not in any way my desire for the person in question to suffer, which is why I originally figured the best way to deal with this matter would have been to stop the piece itself from being published. Unfortunately, since this itself is a form of censorship, it makes those of us who believe in the truth yet strive to silence this piece no worse than the monsters who damn the truth and wish for lies to take hold.

    I'll keep everyone posted. As I've stated before, please ignore my original call to action.
  35. what'll happen is ahmedinejads people will copy the story regarding Nedas demise and claim they have investigated the incident. Ahmedinejad will think he has won over the peoples minds but the world will know the truth.

  36. oh shit, good point.

    okay, so no blocking the article from being published, but it seems like we'd need to find the flaws and slam it once it's out. OP needs to post the link ASAP once it's out.
  37. Source? ;)

    The witness is claiming that based on what? Little fairy told him in his dream last night?

    Yeah, the Earth is round and there is this silly gravitation and people are not falling off of the edges or the Earth is simply flat? Occam's Razor says it's simply flat ... so it is I guess, right?
  38. you don't understand the principle behind Occam's Razor. The idea is to make as little assumptions as possible; in the case of the Earth, based on all the solid evidence we have, Occam's razor says the Earth is round. Simple as that.

    I hate it when morons try to force their pretended understanding of something onto others.
  39. I hate it when people just assume there is no evidence with no research on their part. It seems that you would be the first to claim that there is no evidence to suggest that Earth is round few centuries ago without any attempt to find otherwise ...

    "Condemnation without investigation is the height of ignorance."

    —Albert Einstein
  40. you misinterpreted what I said.

    Occam's razor simply deals with assumptions. In the case of the post claiming Occam's razor concludes that the Earth is flat, since there is solid evidence proving that the Earth is round, then Occam's razor cannot logically come to the conclusion that the Earth is flat.

    because of how little evidence there is in the case of Neda, Occam's razor says (based on what little evidence there is) that the simplest explanation is the most likely. should other evidence come to light backing a more elaborate explanation, then the current simplest explanation can no longer be assumed via Occam's razor.

    yes, I would've said the Earth is flat back before evidence appeared proving that the Earth is round, but once evidence proving the Earth is round appeared, the flat explanation could no longer be logically justified.

    My comment stands :p

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