The Washington Post is at it again. A Sunday article entitled “Kerry tells Israel that Syria accord is no prelude to Iran deal” contained the following gem:
Israel’s security establishment fears that a failure to punish Syria for its use of chemical weapons could encourage Tehran, Syria’s ally, to continue to enrich uranium for a bomb.
Saying that something could encourage Iran “to continue to enrich uranium for a bomb” implies that Iran is currently enriching uranium with the purpose of using it for a nuclear bomb. There is, of course, no evidence that Iran is trying to build a nuclear weapon or that it is diverting uranium from its civil program, which is under IAEA inspection. In fact, both Israeli and US intelligence agree that Iran has not made a decision to pursue nuclear weapons. Since there is no evidence that the aim of any Iranian enrichment is “for a bomb,” this passage in the Post is misleading.
We’ve been through all of this before with the Post‘s former Ombudsman, Patrick Pexton, who acknowledged that a header and subheader the Post printed back in 2011 was misleading because it implied that Iran was trying to build a nuclear weapon. The Post committed the error one more time but, after correcting this second time, did not, to our knowledge, repeat this particular offense.
The Washington Post eliminated the Ombudsman position when Pexton’s contract ran out earlier this year. He was “replaced” by Douglas Feaver, who is the “Reader Representative,” whatever that is. All I know is that I emailed him last month about this article and its invocation of the dreaded “quest to build a bomb” language and received no reply. And just a few days ago, FAIR uncovered another Post passage on Iran’s nuclear program requiring correction.
So what’s up, Post people? Why the regression? Perhaps you’re in need of a real Ombudsman?
UPDATE 9/16/13 3:00PM: Patrick Pexton has weighed in on the controversy via Twitter:
— Patrick B. Pexton (@PextonPB) September 16, 2013
UPDATE 9/17/13 6:30PM: You can now email the Post‘s Reader Representative yourself through our easy to use action system.