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Ahmadinejad and 60 Minutes

August 15, 2006
by

Famous former-journalist-turned-journalism-watchdog, Bernard Goldberg, has a great piece on Opinion Journal about his former colleague Mike Wallace’s recent 60 Minutes interview with Iran’s President. He writes:

…[One] got the impression that Mr.
Ahmadinejad, unlike the ayatollah, was talking right past Mike and
straight to the American people. He had a message to deliver, and he
was going to deliver it no matter what Mike wanted to talk about.

Goldberg’s piece jibes with my earlier observations on Ahmadinejad’s public “Letter” to our President — namely that this particular fanatic is one media-savvy, crafty bastard who is trying to use our own news media to gain the sympathy of both Bush-haters and anti-Zionists in the West. (And where the two converge, so much the better for him.)

UPDATE: For some examples of questions that might have brought out a less sympathetic (i.e., more real) portrait of Ahmadinejad, see Dennis Prager’s recent article on the 60 minutes interview. He’s far less complimentary to Wallace’s professionalism.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. Rob A. permalink
    August 20, 2006 11:11 pm

    Duke Ray: Say more about who these “Bush haters and anti-Zionists in the West” are. Are they anyone who disagrees with the approach of the President or Cheney or Rumsfeld regarding missteps in the Middle East?

    If so, than Bush 41’s closest adviser, Brent Scowcroft, is a Bush 43 hater. So is conservative pillar George Will. So is William Buckley. So are most of the conservative writers for newspapers and magazines in Britain, our closest ally. So is Colin Powell.

    To what extent are you really willing to characterize all dissent as gushing forth from some geyser of Bush-hatred and anti-Semitism? And to what extent would you have me believe that the President’s approach to the Mideast is beyond reproach?

    Do you believe that it is helpful in a democracy to paint with a broad brush all criticism of the Bush Mideast policy as either a petty grudge or anti-Semitism?

    Even if you were to take a measured approach on immigration, like the stance of the President, some would condemn you for racism. Are you not doing something similar here?

    Thanks,
    Rob

  2. Duke_Ray permalink
    August 21, 2006 12:12 pm

    Rob: Your reading is maybe a bit reactionary. I chose my terms precisely because I did not want to paint with a broad brush. If I had said “liberals,” for instance, that would have been a broad brush. My point is that Ahmadinejad is trying to connect with *certain* elements of the West by parroting their own language.

    He tries to reach Bush haters when he criticizes Bush for problems in America that cannot rationally be laid on Bush’s shoulders, just as irrational Bush haters do. He critiques the existence of Israel in “moderate” terms meant to appeal to anti-Zionists in the West (and, I beg you, please don’t read too much into my use of the “M” word).

    Whether or not he will be successful has yet to be seen. My point, like Goldberg’s, was to point out the craftiness of A.’s efforts.

    None of the critics of particular Bush Administration policies you mention fall into either category; as I assume of you, Will, et al. are too rational and informed to be fooled by Ahmadinejad’s Orwellian talk of “standing for the oppressed” while he has his blogger critics beaten half to death.

    If only Mike Wallace were as smart.

    Hope that clarifies, whether or not we agree.

    Best,
    Duke Ray

  3. Duke_Ray permalink
    August 21, 2006 12:23 pm

    Just to clarify, I meant that I wish Mike Wallace was as smart as Will, Rob, et al., not as smart as Ahmadinejad. Just to be clear.
    😉

  4. Rob A. permalink
    August 23, 2006 4:06 pm

    Keith: Fair enough. But in claiming that you’re not painting with a broad brush, you’re being rather vague about who you are referring to. Are these American “anti-Zionists” a significant piece of the American political debate as it relates to the Middle East? Do we have some names of exemplars?

    When the Dems and GOP try to outdo one another in unconditional support for Israel, and when the Dems threaten to boycott the Iraqi PM’s address to Congress unless he apologize for daring to criticize the same Israeli policies that many Israelis themselves criticize, I find myself unsure what exactly you’re getting at as it relates to a crafty strategy on the part of the Iranian prez to reach America’s “anti-Zionists.” Thanks for any clarification you can offer.

  5. Rob A. permalink
    August 23, 2006 4:09 pm

    Looking again at your Wallace reference, I’m suspecting you’re using him as an examplar of “anti-Zionism” within America. But I’m sure you do realize Mr. Wallace is Jewish.

  6. Count Grecula permalink*
    August 27, 2006 9:09 am

    Rob-
    Keith is on vacation so I’ll fill in while I have a moment.

    First of all, thanks for caring to comment. Really. Without you, I would feel ignored and unread.

    I do feel like you are steering Keith’s post into a place he didn’t intend. In fact, I get the feeling you have not really put much thought into what he was saying, but rather responded directly to what you percieve as the ulterior motives and foundational arguments not directly referenced in his post. I understand your “suspicion”, but I think you would benefit greatly from wrestling with Keith’s point: that Ahmadinejad’s rhetoric is pretty good liberal rhetoric. Plus death to Israel. Personally, I find that combo quite disturbing (and I suspect you do too). Read Ahmadinejad’s letter to Bush. Have you wrestled with what it has to say? Does it bother you that it sounds at times a bit like something you might say- or any reasonable person like myself.

    BTW, I don’t think either the Duke or I believe you have to be a Bush hater to be against the war. Or a “liberal”. That is manfestly not the case as you have pointed out many times. I tend to divide the world into two groups: those who believe that the world was revealed as changed on 9/11, and those who believe that the policies, tactics and strategies in place on 9/10 are still perfectly valid, i.e. the world has not changed in any way. Like I stated in this early post, http://strangemonkeydoll.typepad.com/blog/2005/10/suicidal_tenden.html. Gotta go – working this weekend and the next, even though it’s my son’s 4th birthday. Grr.

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