Last week, the Associated Press published an interview with Obama. Its headline declared:
OBAMA: IRAN ‘YEAR OR MORE’ FROM GETTING BOMB
The article opened:
President Barack Obama says U.S. intelligence agencies believe Iran is still “a year or more” away from producing a nuclear weapon….
The AP doesn’t provide the exact quote from Obama, but further down the page paraphrases:
Israeli officials have said Iran is just months away from having the capacity and knowledge to build a bomb, while Obama said Tehran was a year or more away.
So, Obama said that it would take “a year or more” for Iran to have “the capacity and knowledge to build a bomb”. Compare that with the rather more sensationalized headline and lead paragraph. Obama apparently couched his comments, trying to make Iran sound threatening but without coming out and saying that Iran is actively trying to make nuclear weapons. Obama no doubt couched his language carefully this way because he knows that the U.S. intelligence community assesses that Iran has no nuclear weapons program. He knows the IAEA continues to monitor Iran’s program and to verify the non-diversion of nuclear material to any military aspect of its program.
The AP, though, has no problem taking even Obama’s disingenuous but couched remarks and sensationalizing them to suggest that Iran is actually actively engaged in “producing a nuclear weapon”.
Of course, the Obama administration has no problem with the media engaging in this kind of sensationalized fearmongering. U.S. government officials know they don’t always have to lie or deceive. Oftentimes, the media will just do it for them.