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Blind SpotWhen Journalists Don't Get Religion$
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Paul Marshall, Lela Gilbert, and Roberta Green-Ahmanson

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195374360

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195374360.001.0001

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Three Decades of Misreporting Iran and Iraq

Three Decades of Misreporting Iran and Iraq

(p.47) 3 Three Decades of Misreporting Iran and Iraq
Blind Spot

Michael Rubin

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines coverage of Iran and Iraq and shows how it has veered from underestimating the political force in Iran of the Ayatollah Khomeini’s heterodox innovations to overestimating the political ambitions of Iraq’s Shi’ite leaders. It shows how ignorance about Shi’ite and Sunni beliefs and practices, including the role of Shi’ite shrines and Sufi brotherhoods, has led to misreporting major political divisions in Iraq, and even its day-to-day politics. In the process, the chapter gives an overview of current religious dynamics in both countries. It has become a commonplace that the American administration was insufficiently aware of the religious complexities of Iran and Iraq when it led the invasion of Iraq in 2003; it is less commonly noted that press coverage has suffered from the same problem.

Keywords:   Iran, Iraq, Khomeini, Sistani, Sunni, Shiite, Sufi, political divisions

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