Aided by Flawed Journalism, Iran Nuclear Deal Opponents Spread Disinformation

Posted Sept. 2, 2015

MP3 Interview with Ben Norton, freelance journalist, conducted by Scott Harris


The international agreement, designed to limit Iran's nuclear capabilities to peaceful, civilian purposes in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions, will face a critical vote in the U.S. Congress sometime in September. Opponents of the accord are working hard to gain support in both the House and Senate. Legislators who want to derail the agreement must first get 60 votes in the Senate to overcome a filibuster by lawmakers who support the deal. But if they win that battle, opponents would still have to secure the votes cast by two-thirds of lawmakers in both chambers to override a promised presidential veto.

In this high stakes debate, groups that oppose the nuclear agreement include the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC, and their affiliated organization, Citizens for a Nuclear Free Iran. These groups are expected to spend more than $40 million in advertising, social media and direct mail to sway public opinion and pressure legislators.

The Associated Press contributed to this volatile political environment by publishing a story on Aug. 19 that erroneously reported that a side agreement between the International Atomic Energy Agency and Iran allows the Islamic Republic to inspect its own Parchin military base, a suspected nuclear site. Although the AP later corrected their story, corporate and conservative media outlets repeated the flawed information far and wide. Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with Ben Norton, a freelance journalist and author of a recent article that examines the debunked myths disseminated in the U.S. media and effect they've had on public support for the Iran nuclear agreement.

For more information, visit Ben Norton's website at

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