Justin Fishel, who covers the Departments of Defense and State for Fox News, has told one of the boldest lies I’ve seen from a journalist. It comes in a blog post titled, “CIA: Iran Moving Closer to Nuclear Weapon.” The title itself is misleading, but the blatant lie is in the opening sentence:
A recently published report by the Central Intelligence Agency says Iran is still working on building a nuclear weapon despite some technical setbacks and international resistance — and the Pentagon say it’s still concerned about Iran’s ambitions.
The problem: the 9-page CIA report, to which Fishel conveniently provides a link, says no such thing. Nowhere in the report does it say or imply that Iran is “still working on building a nuclear weapon.” Fishel just made it up.
What the report does say about Iran’s nuclear program is this:
We continue to assess Iran is keeping open the option to develop nuclear weapons though we do not know whether Tehran eventually will decide to produce nuclear weapons.
That’s a far cry from saying that “Iran is still working on building a nuclear weapon.” Again, nowhere in the report is any such assertion made. At a time of heightened tensions between Iran and the West (with some beating the drums for war) sensational lies such as that told by Fishel are dangerous and should not go unchallenged.
As I write, Fishel’s blog post is featured prominently on Fox News’ website (click image to view full size):
Update: A Fox News on-line poll asks readers, “What Should Be Done About Iran?” The poll repeats Fishel’s lie, framing the question:
A recently published report by the Central Intelligence Agency says Iran is still working on building a nuclear weapon despite some technical setbacks and international resistance — and the Pentagon say it’s still concerned about Iran’s ambitions. How should the U.S. respond? You decide.
At 9:30 EDT on 31 March 2010, some 69% of 20,914 respondents say, “Bomb Iranian nuclear sites”:
Correction: The original title of this post incorrectly referred to Justin Fishel as a “reporter.” He is a producer for Fox News.