The media’s abysmal Iranian protest coverage

Students protest in Tehran, Iran
Iranian students protest at the University of Tehran during a demonstration driven by anger over economic problems, in the capital Tehran on December 30, 2017. Students protested in a third day of demonstrations sparked by anger over Iran's economic problems.(STR/AFP/Getty Images)

Slanted coverage …

The beginning … As the calendar turned from 2017 to 2018, one of the most compelling stories in almost a decade began to unfold. The Iranian people began rising up to protest their oppressive regime. If you were watching the MSM, you may have missed the beginning of these protests. As news of the protests spread, the MSM tried to downplay the significance of what was happening in Iran. For instance, CNN decided to focus on the bizarrely termed “pro-government protests.” As the folks at Twitchy point out, that is a nonsensical choice of words. How does one “protest” for a dictator? The coverage of what could be a nascent revolution in Iran has been very deferential to the Iranian regime.

Slanted coverage … Journalism has turned into stenography for the powerful elites. The media’s inability to cover the Iranian protests effectively underscores that point. Tablet’s Lee Smith explored why this is so in an excellent analysis piece for the magazine. Smith outlined how absent Iranian regime talking points and spoon-fed narrative from the Obama administration, the media finds itself at a loss for how to cover the situation in Iran. It is a powerful read on the sad state of the “independent” press in the United States. For all its whining about Trump trying to shape the news, it seems the media is just lashing out over cut-off access to those who lead.

A different take … To underscore just how tough the media has it covering Iran, here is Brian Stelter’s first Reliable Sources email of 2018, sent late last night. There is absolutely no mention of Iran in the entire piece. Stelter has been loath to criticize his own network’s coverage. But … that wasn’t the case in 2009. Stelter, who was still at the NY Times, took CNN to task over the network’s lackluster coverage of the 2009 Iran protests. Key line: “But it [CNN] did not provide the kind of wall-to-wall coverage that some had expected.” The exact same could be said of the coverage over the long weekend. On Saturday, I was traveling back from New England toward South Carolina. I stopped at a Wendy’s for lunch. CNN was on the screen, with some sort of report — complete with animations — about how the human nose senses smell. On CNN, the revolution was most certainly not televised in any meaningful way.


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2018 kicks off with even more TDS …

Trump’s the villain in Huma email flap … News broke today that Hillary Clinton confidant Huma Abedin forwarded the passwords to State Department email accounts to her Yahoo email. Subsequently, every single Yahoo email account was compromised. This means that the passwords allowing access to classified information were compromised. Is that what concerns ABC News executive editorial producer Chris Donovan? No, it is Donald Trump’s reaction to it. Donovan tweeted about Trump calling for DOJ action against Abedin and painted it in dark, menacing tones. He finished with, “The AMERICAN president in 2018.” Apparently Donovan and the MSM think that a president calling for the prosecution of those who endanger national security is the problem. It’s obscene.

Trump hurting Iranians by supporting them … Another narrative making the rounds in Iran protest coverage is the absurd notion that President Trump’s vocal support for Iranian protesters is actually not something good. For decades, American presidents have given lip service to the Iranian threat while doing little to oppose it. Like Ronald Reagan and his demonization of the Soviet Union, Trump is taking a principled moral stand. The media hates it.

Media shakeups … Hoda Kotb was officially named the “Today” co-anchor. She is paired with Savannah Guthrie. The New York Times starts off the new year with a new publisher, A.G. Sulzberger. Today he published a note in the newspaper outlining his goals as publisher going forward. It is well worth a read.

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Author: Rob Eno

Robert Eno is the director of research for Conservative Review. He is a conservative from deep blue Massachusetts but now lives in Greenville, SC.