Thursday, March 01, 2007

"New York: Targeted By Tehran?" or so newsweek asks

"Increasing tensions between Washington and Tehran have revived New York Police Department concerns that Iranian agents may already have targeted the city for terror attacks. Such attacks could be aimed at bridges and tunnels, Jewish organizations and Wall Street, NYPD briefers told security execs last fall, according to a person with access to the briefing materials who asked for anonymity because of the sensitive subject matter."

"In November 2003, Ahmad Safari and Alireaza Safi, described as Iranian Mission "security" personnel, were detained by transit cops when they were seen videotaping subway tracks from Queens to Manhattan at 1:10 in the morning."

""We're concerned that Iranian agents were engaged in reconnaissance that might be used in an attack against New York City at some future date," Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly told NEWSWEEK. "

So, someone leaks a document dating back to last fall, Newsweek brings up an admittedly disturbing incident from 2003 and gets a quote from the New York Police Commissioner, and voila, a headline with a question mark at the end is born.

Post-revolutionary Iran has been the source of support of terrorist activity against US interests overseas, so I don't blame New York for looking into contingencies. However, I can't understand why Iran would want to go back to those days, and on US territory at that, and invite a full-frontal US attack, when they are doing their best to bluff and wheedle their way to a full fuel cycle and likely worse and enhance its growing role as a major regional power. Unless, of course, the assumption is that the US is going to attack first.

So, it's either a desperate effort to fill the pages (website?) on a slow day, or it fails to give us sufficient context to support five, six-months old material. Either way, it's a hack job.

It should give conspiracy theorists in Iran food for thought.


Garrett said...

Indeed it should.

Hack jobs sell magazines (or bring traffic), though. When's the last time an American TV network ran a health story without ominous music or a headline implying a breakthrough? They do that, then bring on a doctor who says high-fat diets are unhealthy.

It's the same thing at Newsweek. The beauty of a question as a headline is that you can say whatever you want.

"Is Globaltalk 21 a secret terrorist communications tool?"

I don't need to have anything more than the fact that you have discussed issues related to terrorism and anyone who has heard of Globaltalk 21 will read.

It's sad, it's pitiful, it's good (as in successful) business.

Thankfully, there are guys like you, Mr. Okumura, who are around to call less responsible, more sensationalist media on their fouls.

Keep up the good work.

Jun Okumura said...

Garret: Thanks. It's always good to hear from the Trans-Pacific Radio.

I used to think The Economist was way ahead of the other general purpose, quality weeklies, and TIME in turn was better than Newsweek. I thought Newsweek got consistently better over the years, though neither has been able to rival The Economist. However, the Internet, with its 24/7 realtime demands from the readership and its ability to tally and analyze such readership, has put enormous day-to-day pressure on writers to produce and post ASAP items that garner the maximum hits. This sometimes leads to shallow articles with eye-catching headlines that do not match up to the contents.


Or so I believe. Happily, the blogosphere serves as an unpaid collective Wikeditor and fact checker. The MSM should be happy that we exist. At Swampland, Joe Klein certainly understands this, and plays it well. Jay Carney did not. Mr. Carney is back after an unexplained three-week hiatus. We'll know if he's learned anything the next time he's caught slacking, as we all inevitably will.