Dorman (a professor of journalism) and Farhang (Khomeini's first ambassador to the United Nations) cannot get over the fact that the U.S. press broadly accepts the basic premises of the American government's foreign policy. Blaming this unhappy coincidence on the persistence of "a cold-war mentality," they suggest that it led to a "generally uninformed and often highly ethnocentric" coverage of Iran during the period of their study, 1951-1978. Arguing against what they call the "conventional left" (and where that leaves the authors is an interesting question), they deny the central importance of commercial considerations in setting journalism's agenda. The real key, as the authors see it, is the journalist's foolhardy devotion to objectivity and allergy to ideology. "The greatest hurdle American journalists have to overcome before coverage of foreign affairs will improve is their belief that they are nonideological." In short, Dorman and Farhang want to transform the New York Times into a daily version of The Nation.
Unfortunately for them, this will never happen, for the audience in a liberal democracy confronted with the Soviet threat is not about to agree to so fundamental a rejection of the policies it has supported for over forty years. And if, by chance, the Times did make the changes Dorman and Farhang seek, it would rapidly lose its place as a powerful molder of opinion. This book's objectives are as hopeless as they are pernicious.