PressTV Omits American Involvement in the Hawija Raid

by omouggos

Master Sgt. Joshua L. Wheeler killed during the Hawija raid. (image from Military.com)

In the previous post, I wrote about the need to be skeptical of all media sources including American and Russian ones. In this post I will give a rather glaring example of misinformation in a PressTV online article. PressTV is a state owned Iranian news network broadcasting in English, which also have a news website. Daily I check the PressTV website as it provides news from the Iranian state point of view and there are commonly articles critical of nations such as Saudi Arabia. Since PressTV is state owned it can be considered as the English language mouth piece of Iran and for that reason one must be a tad on guard when reading their articles as they are written with a pro-Iranian and anti-Western bias.

One example of this anti-Western bias, specifically anti-American, pertains to PressTV’s reportage of the recent hostage rescue mission that occurred near the Iraqi town of Hawija. On the night of October 22 Kurdish special forces and American Delta Force operators stormed an ISIL prison freeing 70 hostages.[1] During the mission over 20 ISIL fighters were killed and as was a Delta operator, Master Sgt. Joshua Wheeler.[2] The intention was to rescue Kurdish peshmerga fighters who were being held by ISIL, but no Kurds were present at the time of the assault, only Arabs including some captured Iraqi government soldiers.[3]

While it was welcomed news to hear of the rescue of 70 hostages from the clutches of ISIL, some of whom were reportedly facing imminent execution, the participation of American soldiers in ground combat against ISIL is what has caught the attention of many observers. Oddly enough this salient aspect of the Hawija raid was not mention in a PressTV website article on the event.[4] The article spoke of Iraqi Kurdish forces raiding a facility “located about seven kilometers (four miles) north of the town of Hawija” that there was “information that the prisoners were going to be executed on the same day the operation took place” and that “as many as 70 prisoners” were freed. Yet there was no mention of the American involvement nor of the death of Master Sgt. Wheeler.

This omission cannot be accidental, nor a matter of focusing on the other details of the raid, but had to have been intentional. The Iranians and their allies the Russians are attempting to paint a picture that the US is not really fighting ISIL, instead it is using ISIL as a proxy army to overthrow Bashar al-Assad. In this narrative it is only Russia and Iran that is actually opposing ISIL. The fact that an America soldier died fighting ISIL does not fit within the framework of this narrative and as such the Iranians through their english mouthpiece PressTV have employed the misinformation tactic of omission, in this case that there was any American involvement or casualties in the Hawija raid.

While we may be justifiably suspicious in how America is dealing with ISIL and there may be some, or even considerable truth to the Iranian and Russian anti-American narrative, this does not mean that Iranian and Russian media sources, particularly state owned ones, are beyond reproach. As can be seen in the aforementioned PressTV article, the Iranian media have presented the events of the Hawija raid in a distorted manner, by omitting the death of Joshua L. Wheeler and the American involvement in the raid. One should be rather leery when reading or listening to PressTV and it is probably best that it not be one’s only source of news, unless one is fine with only receiving part of the story.

O Mouggos

[1] http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2015/10/forces-free-hostages-isil-raid-iraq-151022172411929.html

[2] http://www.military.com/daily-news/2015/10/27/delta-force-kia-led-assault-team-isis-prison-iraq-source-says.html

[3] http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/10/24/Kurds-say-joint-raid-with-U-S-in-Iraq-aimed-to-free-their-fighters.html

[4] http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2015/10/25/434848/Iraq-Kirkuk-Kurdish-fighters-Hawija

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