CBS Blogger Highlights Blogs Agreeing with Iran's Government About '300'

In time for the Persian New Year, CBS's Melissa McNamara trawled the blogosphere (including MySpace blog entries) and found bloggers who think Iran's Islamic extremist government has a point about "300" being "anti-Persian." In doing she, she produced a handful of blogs that appear to generate light traffic and in at least one case is just a rambling screed.

McNamara told readers that the "Islamic Republic News Agency" (IRNA) finds fault with the film's version of historical events. She left out that IRNA is Iran's official state-controlled news/propaganda service. CBSNews.com's resident "Blogophile" also noted objections from an Iranian newspaper, Hamshahri, which she described simply as "Iran's biggest circulation newspaper."

That's akin to a journalist during the Cold War describing Pravda as simply the Soviet Union's best-selling newspaper. Hamshahri co-sponsored a political cartoon contest that the Iranian government held last year that generated hundreds of entries that were anti-Jewish or anti-Israeli. Portions in bold are my emphasis:

TEHRAN, Iran — Iran awarded a Moroccan artist Wednesday the top prize in an exhibition of cartoons on the Holocaust that has received international condemnation, including from U.N. chief Kofi Annan.

Meant to be a response to the Danish cartoons of Islam's Prophet Mohammed that sparked rage among Muslims around the world, the exhibit appears inspired by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's tirades calling for Israel to be destroyed.

Tehran has several times announced plans to host a conference to examine the scientific evidence supporting the Holocaust, dismissing it as exaggerated. Its most recent announcement came in September during Annan's visit to the Iranian capital, where he said he discussed the cartoon show with officials.

"The Holocaust is a myth and this issue has finally made waves thanks to the action of President Ahmadinejad in daring to express himself on the subject and break the Holocaust taboo," Iranian Culture Minister Mohammad Hossein Saffar-Harandi said as he announced the cartoon winners.

Abdollah Derkaoui received $12,000 for his work depicting an Israeli crane piling large cement blocks on Israel's security wall and gradually obscuring Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. A picture of Nazi Germany's Auschwitz concentration camp appears on the wall.

The mosque is Islam's third holiest site.

Tehran Museum of Contemporary Arts, next to the Palestinian Embassy, which was the Israeli diplomatic mission before the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

The exhibit curator, Masoud Shojai, said the contest will be an annual event.

"Actually, we will continue until the destruction of Israel," he said.

The display, comprising 204 entries from Iran and abroad, opened in August.

Carlos Latuff from Brazil and A. Chard from France jointly won the second prize of $8,000 and Iran's Shahram Rezai received $5,000 for third place.

None of the foreign winners were present at the award ceremony. Shojai blamed "political pressure" for their absence.

Many Muslims considered the cartoons published by the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten a violation of traditions prohibiting images of their prophet.

The Tehran daily Hamshahri, a co-sponsor of the exhibition, said it wanted to test the West's tolerance for drawings about the Nazi killing of 6 million Jews in World War II. The entries on display came from nations including United States, Indonesia and Turkey.

Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd is the Managing Editor for NewsBusters