Monday, June 15, 2009

Think-Again: The Iranian Election Was NOT "Stolen"

Disclaimer: I am virulently on the political left, which would make me ideologically opposed to the vast majority of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's policies (except for his attempts at redistributing Iran's oil wealth to the rural poor). Nevertheless, the facts are the facts, and it is extremely dangerous and tacky for the "independent" press to fabricate lies in order to gain an intended result in an election.

There were no shortage of news commentaries about the supposedly "stolen" presidential elections in Iran. I was a little bit suspicious of how anyone could begin saying the election was rigged with no evidence, within minutes of when the official results were announced. An article today from the Washington Post actually confirms my suspicions. Before the elections, presidential incumbent candidate Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was expected to win by a wider margin than he finished with.

Many experts are claiming that the margin of victory of incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was the result of fraud or manipulation, but our nationwide public opinion survey of Iranians three weeks before the vote showed Ahmadinejad leading by a more than 2 to 1 margin -- greater than his actual apparent margin of victory in Friday's election.

What actually happened is that upper-middle class groups in Iran screamed the loudest and the western media believed the hype without conducting any independent research. The supposed "new media" internet revolution by opposition candidate supporters was nothing more than a story-book example class privilege.

Much commentary has portrayed Iranian youth and the Internet as harbingers of change in this election. But our poll found that only a third of Iranians even have access to the Internet, while 18-to-24-year-olds comprised the strongest voting bloc for Ahmadinejad of all age groups....

The only demographic groups in which our survey found Mousavi leading or competitive with Ahmadinejad were university students and graduates, and the highest-income Iranians.

Yet again, the mainstream media and now even so called "new media" like the Huffington Post, interfere in other nation's democracies, telling lies, or distorting the truth. The Iranian election is a most obvious case.


  1. I had this thought too...thanks for keeping me up on this.

  2. you call yourself unconventional mwa hah h ah ah ha.

    The reality is no one knows what really happened yet

  3. I'm not saying there is proof of fraud right now, though the human rights abuses against protesters don't make these guys look good, nor do the number which suggest the opposition candidates were devastated even in their home towns (extremely unlikely).

    But this opinion poll is somewhat ridiculous. Yes, this poll was taken three weeks before the election. What you don't point out is that the official campaign season is only 3 weeks long. The final list of approved candidates was issued May 20th. That poll was taken the 11th to the 20th of May, before the challenger even had a chance to actively and aggressively campaign. Obviously campaigns, which included public debates (all of which were held in June), are going to alter the total outcome of the election so much that the pre-campaign polls mean little to nothing.

    Also read for more regional assessments that suggest something fishy happened.

  4. Ok. I agree there isn't enough information to know exactly what transpired, but what we do know is that the media was completely biased and one-sided in its portrayal of recent events. We also know, according to this poll nothing was un-expected about the election results.

    I also, understand the campaign season was only three weeks but that does not change the fact that ahmadenijad was extremely popular in iran. there have been similar polls done throughout the country before that bare out this fact.

    Nevertheless, I think regardless to the remaining ambiguity on the election, the fact that class privileges in developing societies are always on display in US news coverage. I'm not happy with the human rights violations, but that is a different issue from the elections. Anyone who has any notion of history in Iran knows that human rights violations are not outside the parameters of political reality.

  5. Well, I don't think it's a "different issue" entirely, since the threat of human rights abuses absolutely affects the freedom to vote one's actual desire. I mean, are we to believe these human rights abuses only started AFTER the election and played no role in the voting habits of the citizens?

    But I absolutely agree with you on class bias in international coverage of politics and absolutely concede that that has played a role in the unquestioned conclusion of fraud they've jumped to.For more evidence of this phenomenon look no further than uncritical story after uncritical story about the so-called People's Alliance for Democracy in Thailand.

    Or hell, I guess you really just have to try reading a NYT story about Chavez or Morales.

    Points taken.