Al Arabyia well calculated false reporting

Imam Khamaini waving to his supporters. (Courtesy of Al Arabia.net)

Khomeini waving to his supporters. (Courtesy of Al Arabia.net)

It seems that Al Arabyia.net felt that there isn’t enough bad news coming from Iraq, so the editors worked their magic to produce one more.

The Saudi funded channel reported on its online edition that as part of their curriculum,  Iraqi college students will  have to study Iran‘s  Grand Ayotallah Khomeini’s book “Shazerat min Fiker al-Imam al-Khemani” (Glimpses from Imam Khomeini‘s notion).

Despite the fact that such news should not be a surprise to many readers who are familiar with the attempts of some Iraqi Shia parties to “Iranize” Iraq, the news was still hard to grasp. Here’s why:

* The  story is  based entirely on a vague statement  given by literarily NO ONE. Al Arabyia.net  is quoting the “bureau manager of the Iraqi Minister of Higher Education”, yet, it  provides no name of that manager. If this was an off the record statement, it should have stated so,  and in that case neither the name nor the position should have been revealed.

* Furthermore, this unnamed source, the bureau manager who said Khomani’s book will be part of the curriculum, made the statement  to “a satellite television channel” which Al Arabyia.net did not name either !!

* This unnamed source gives no details on when this decision will be implemented. Is it this year, next year or when exactly? we don’t know!

*In the last few lines of the story, Al Arabyia.net  quotes a different  source, only this time with a full name and position. It said the  Spokesman of the Iraqi Ministry of High Education, Qassim Mohammad Jabbar,  told Noon news agency that there is no intention  for the ministry to include the book in any academic curriculum and that such allegations are mere rumors which  Baathists are behind.

So, if we have a clear real official source denying the story why the story headline  still reads:

“Glimpses from Imam Khemani’s vision” to be included in Iraq’s academic curriculum 

Don’t you also agree that if the  “story” was too compelling not to publish,   a  news source such as Al Arabyia should have at least used the Spokesman’s refutation as a header instead of the one they used below:

Iraqi Ministry of Education says it will print the  book to replace Baath party ideology  

Was this just a misreporting from Al Arabyia side ! The channel has probably one of the most skillful team of editors and reporters. It is very hard to believe they would make such immature news packaging unless it was intentional.

The channel guideline policy on Iraq’s shia government has been for a long time now unfriendly, reflecting  the official views of the Saudi government. The way the story was edited seems to be part of an agenda setting policy and recurrent framing the channel tend to use to highlight Iran’s threat to the region.

In a fair world, this kind of framing, or misreporting, could  have hurt the channel reputation as the best available source of news in the Arab world  to counter Al-Jazeera. The truth is that despite  all the weak elements of the story, it  went viral as many readers, specifically young Iraqis, kept exchanging it on different social media platforms. Some did not even bother to finish the story to read the spokesman’s refutation. It was no coincidence that it was placed at the bottom. Even those who did, were still sharing it,  perhaps because some see it as  an opportunity to further question the Iraqi government‘s intentions which they don’t seem to trust.

I won’t be surprised if the story  gained Al Arabyia.net more followers than those it could have lost, especially among the young Iraqi generation who when the story was published, Sept 18,  were getting ready to start the new academic year. Schools in Iraq starts officially on the last week of September. There could not have been a better time than the one they chose to run the story.

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2 thoughts on “Al Arabyia well calculated false reporting

  1. Samah
    you are so right. The Saudis are unable to deal with a Shi’a government in Iraq and will put out any amount of money to anti-Shi’a terrorists or use any story, no matter how disingenuous, to create more instability in Iraq. Especially the idea of a possible US-Iranian detente cares then to death. Good sharp reporting Samah. Follow up on this when the school term begins.

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