Steve Peacock is a freelance writer and photographer whose work has appeared in the Tampa Tribune, WND, Drug Enforcement Report, Corrections Journal and the Revered Review. He also is a teacher, storyteller, actor and poet.More ↓Less ↑
The proposed easing of sanctions against Iran represents the most visible enticement by which the United States and five other nations intend to guide the Islamic regime toward peace.
The Obama administration, however, has another tool in its diplomatic arsenal that it intends to leverage against Tehran.
The responsibility of producing a California-centered news and entertainment program “appealing to Farsi-speaking youth in Iran” soon will be fall into the hands of a contractor working on behalf of the U.S. Broadcasting Board of Governors, or BBG, according to planning documents that WND discovered via routine database research.
“This show should be aesthetically and musically entertaining, featuring stories with a main emphasis on the Iranian American community of Los Angeles, California, as well as Hollywood news and information and other interesting aspects of life on the West Coast,” the Statement of Work, or SOW, detailing the endeavor explains.
The selected contractor will produce at least 13 episodes of Farsi-language shows for BBG’s Voice of America, or VOA, “specifically targeting the 18-35 year old demographic audience.”
The show will feature “a mix of lifestyle, music, fashion, comedy, art, entertainment, interviews, and backstage access in a modern and fast-paced format that will make it appealing to the target audience.”
To accomplish the mission, the contractor must have insider access “to high profile events, parties, concerts, celebrities, fashion houses, charities, musicians, entertainers, artists, actors, and people of interest from both the United States and the Middle East.”
Ultimately, the show must be politically correct.
Indeed, the SOW explicitly directs the producer to be “mindful of Iran’s culture and sensitivities.”
The document emphasizes that programming “must not contain visual or audio content of any offensive nature to the target audience.”
It also warns that the selected contractor must abide by “the highest standards of professional broadcast journalism in all aspects of the show’s creation and production, including double sourcing of all information.”
According to the VOA Journalistic Code, at least two independent, non-VOA sources “normally” are required before its writers – including freelance stringers – are allowed to disseminate information as fact, regardless of language.
The government must review any contractor-crafted productions before they are broadcast, and VOA may accept or reject the contractor’s choice of on-air talent – who must speak Farsi and English fluently – to host the show.
Political bias and advertising are prohibited in the production of these episodes, according to the SOW – a mandate reminiscent of problems that VOA’s Persian News Network suffered in 2010.
The network came under fire from critics who claimed it not only appeased the Iranian mullah regime but expressed blatantly anti-American sentiments.
A former employee filed a lawsuit against VOA seeking $150 million in damages after she was dismissed from her post following her expression of support for freedom for Iranians. It also was alleged that a manager at Persian News Network at the time had family links to the elite ruling class in Iran.
In a separate procurement action, BBG wants to usher in the Iranian New Year, known as Nowruz, with a free music concert in Los Angeles.