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Fox News and the Framing of the Iran Debate

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In the clip below, Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul responds to questions from moderators Chris Wallace and Brit Hume. Both hosts frame the discussion narrowly by depicting Iran as a belligerent threat. Wallace goes as far as accusing Paul of taking “marching orders from al Qaeda,” for suggesting the removal of US troops from the Arabian Peninsula. The exchange began when Hume posed the following loaded question:

MR. HUME: This round of questions is going to be based on a scenario which we think is quite plausible that any of you as president might well end up facing. It concerns Iran, and these are the circumstances.

Its nuclear program has continued to advance. U.N. weapons inspectors have — are now saying that it appears that Iran is on the verge of being able to produce and may even be producing nuclear weapons. Iran has suspended its cooperation with the U.N. nuclear agency and asked the inspectors to leave the country. Cross-border incidents in Iraq involving elements of the Revolutionary Guard that continue to increase and are a continuing problem for U.S. forces there and for the Iraqis as well. The U.N. Security Council has imposed some economic sanctions on Iran, but has refused to authorize the use of force against that country. In addition, the threats by Iran’s leader against Israel have become more pronounced and more extreme.

What do you do?

Congressman Paul.

Though the discussion of hypothetical situations is beneficial to any debate and should be encouraged, Hume and Wallace refuse to acknowledge or consider any alternatives for policy toward Iran. This restricted attitude reveals biases that are harmful to prospects of a favorable outcome for US efforts in the region. Watch the clip below for Ron Paul’s response.

Irancove @ September 7, 2007

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