By Press TV website staff
The global coronavirus pandemic has given some countries the opportunity to settle political scores with their opponents. There is no better example than the United States which has both directly and indirectly distributed corona-related fake news about its political enemies.
Saturday, 14 March 2020 6:20 PM [ Last Update: Saturday, 14 March 2020 6:43 PM ]
US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, has provocatively labeled the COVID-19 disease the “Wuhan virus” in a malicious attempt to attribute blame for the outbreak to the Chinese government and people.
A similar dynamic is in play with respect to the Islamic Republic of Iran whose people have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 disease.
The US government not only refuses to take responsibility for aggravating the impact of COVID-19 on Iran – by maintaining its malicious sanctions regime which has led to medicinal shortages – but it has actually gone on the offensive to use the coronavirus outbreak to undermine Iran’s reputation.
To that end, the Washington Post ran an incendiary article on March 12, making the extraordinary claim that Iran was digging “vast” burial pits at the Behesht-e Masoumeh cemetery in Qom.
This article was just one of the successive incendiary and essentially fake news items the Washington Post has produced on the coronavirus outbreak in Iran.
Press TV has already comprehensively debunked Washington Post’s March 12 piece and has brought out its hyped reporting about the pits being “seen from space” – to create the false impression of mass graves – into sharp relief.
Indeed, astute observers have pointed out that the overall length of the purported 100 yards of “burial pits” in the satellite images cannot accommodate more than about 75-100 graves, which are not significantly higher than the official death toll announced for the city of Qom.
Loathing to be seen to be outclassed by their American counterparts across the pond (Atlantic Ocean), the British media have enthusiastically jumped on the fake news bandwagon.
Leading the way is the London-based anti-Iran News Channel, Iran International, which is directly funded by the Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammad Bin Salman. In keeping with its foundational policy of projecting Iran as darkly as possible, Iran International has enthusiastically adopted the Washington Post story and used it as a yardstick to create additional fake scare stories on the COVID-19 outbreak in Iran.
Indeed, scaremongering appears to be the British media’s policy on reporting the coronavirus outbreak in Iran.
To that end, the state broadcaster, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), and specifically its Persian language branch, reported in late February that “210” people had died in Iran following infection with the coronovirus.
BBC Persian conveniently cited sources in Iran’s “health system” to support its fake story which was clearly designed to both scare people and to question the competence and trustworthiness of the Iranian authorities.
The unsubstantiated claim of a cover-up by Iranian authorities – in relation to the supposedly true scale of the outbreak and its casualties – has informed the British media’s coverage of the outbreak in Iran.
The left joins in
Even the left-of-center Guardian newspaper (which likes to project a progressive and mildly dissident attitude) has tried its hardest to imply a cover-up by the Iranian authorities, even going to the extent of presenting normal disputes and disagreements between Iranian officials (which are understandable at a time of crisis) as evidence for this essentially untrue assertion.
Beyond unsubstantiated claims of a cover-up, the British press has tried to paint a picture of chaos and incompetence at the leadership level in Iran, as demonstrated by the Times newspaper’s obsession with the supposedly disproportionate number of Iranian officials past and present afflicted with the virus, some of whom sadly passed away.
On the issue of coronavirus infection reaching leaders and officials, the truth is what is happening in Iran is no different to other outbreak hotspots, notably Italy, the US and indeed the UK, where the health minister, Nadine Dorries, has contracted the virus.
On closer inspection, the alarmist reporting of the (London) Times appears to be a reflection of the attitude of the New York Times which in an op-ed on March 06 waxed lyrical on how Iran has “completely” and “utterly” botched its response to the coronavirus outbreak.
Politics aside, the British media should reflect long and hard about the real comparison between the Iranian and British responses to the coronavirus outbreak.
Iranian leaders and officials are currently going out of their way to impose appropriate restrictions – and ones in keeping with local culture and customs – to stem the tide of the deadly coronavirus outbreak.
By contrast, British leaders and officials, led by Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, have attracted widespread international criticism for adopting laissez-faire measures against COVID-19.
Johnson and his team have refused to introduce extensive social distancing and to close schools and other national institutions (as has happened around the world) in the hope of developing “herd immunity” against the coronavirus.
The British government’s strategy appears to be predicated on the belief that COVID-19 will travel the same trajectory as influenza in terms of mass immunity, but the scientific evidence runs contrary to that assumption.
There is little wonder then that global expert opinion is deeply wary of the British strategy, which could potentially lead to mass casualties, particularly amongst the elderly.
Social media ridicule
Social media has been awash with posts ridiculing Johnson’s approach, with some users likening it to a sinister plan to kill off the elderly and the economically inactive.
Meanwhile, some twitter users stretched creativity by legitimately asking what the Western response would be if Iranian President Hassan Rouhani had talked in the same casual way as Johnson about the loss of life resulting from the development of herd immunity.
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