Tale of the Tapes

Friday, January 18, 2008


Both Iran and the U.S. released doctored videos recently of a January 6th confrontation in the Strait of Hormuz. The Washington Post's Bill Arkin says the awkwardly produced videos, plus a prankster called the ‘Filipino monkey,’ have overshadowed the real story in the media.

Comments [5]

A G Harvey from St. Paul

It is quite disappointing to see On the Media allow journalistically dubious claims by Mr. Atkins to go unchallenged.

It was appalling to have Ms. Gladstone blithely go along when he called the Iranian Revolutionary Guards a "paramilitary terrorist organization". Despite our feelings about what IRGC stands for or does, ethical journalists have a duty to bring forward facts to help the public understand the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps' role and importance in the context of that country's political/military situation, not play on heartstrings and perpetuate stereotypes.

Words have connotations in public's ears, and to paint IRGC as Mr. Atkins did, was barely plausible semantically, does great disservice to the American public, and borders on disinformation in complicity with the sources he is supposed to scrutinize.

The label "terrorist", originated from a US Senate resolution and widely accepted as a political statement, should not be forwarded as fact by journalists.

Also, IRGC is perhaps the most powerful entity in the current Iranian Government, including near complete coordination with/of the other military branches within Iran. To call them "paramilitary" totally distorts their role and importance in the context of the Iranian regime.

On the Media, the show that boasts "fairness and transparency" and one to "lift the veil from the process" would do better to confront "journalists" who further muddy the public's right to know the truth.

Jan. 21 2008 04:31 PM
Jack from Chicago

Interesting story. I hadn't heard it anywhere else and was surprised that no evidence was presented to support Arkin's contentions. Then when I searched online for a reputable source to confirm this story, the only reference I could find that followed similar conjecture was from left-leaning blogs who also had no factual support. Has the Pentagon admitted Arkin's theory as factual? From the other posts here, it seems like Arkin has an agenda.

In general I thought the set-up for this story was weak. It presumed things as true which seems like a huge leap.

Jan. 21 2008 09:51 AM
Jeff Janes

As Bill Arkin explained, the Iranian video was doctored by pairing video from one encounter with audio from another. But it is also claimed that the American video was doctored. How so? That the video and audio streams are from different sources and later combined is not doctoring as long as both streams were combined in sync. Would this tape not faithfully represent the experience of someone on the bridge of the ship looking at what the camera was looking at while also listening to the hailing radio?

Jan. 20 2008 09:38 PM
Curtis from San Diego

Hey Robert,

If US Warships cannot transit the Strait of Hormuz which is their/our legal right under all international law, how do you propose that they get to ports inside the Arabian Gulf? Is there some secret canal or underground passage to the Gulf? Perhaps we should use our transporters and beam the ships in and out of the Gulf.

Jan. 20 2008 09:23 PM
Roberto Eder from Utah

Was it Brooke who did this interview of Bill Arkin? If so, Brooke, why did you let him get away with saying that the Revolutionary Guard is a "terrorist" organization? Once he said that, then the conclusion is clear: those tiny Iranian speed boats were up to nefarious bellicose purposes and the US naval vessels were the innocent victims.

You let Arkin get away with that unproven assertion. And you failed to ask him whether the US Navy provokes such encounters by sailing through the Strait of Hormuz back and forth, within a short striking distance of Iran. Have you ever looked at a map of the Strait? Try MSN Encarta for a good look. See the small distances involved.

What if Chinese war ships sailed within 50 miles of Montauk Point but in international waters? What would be the reaction of US naval forces? Would then send out five tiny speed boats? Or would they rather strafe the Chinese with F-16s, menace them with submarines, and shoot them with sea-to-sea missiles?

My proposal: get the US warships out of the Strait of Hormuz asap. They are there only to harass Iran and cause some incident to be used by Bush and Cheney as a pretense for striking Teheran and the Iranian people.

Jan. 20 2008 02:56 PM

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