Regime-friendly NY Times makes big money selling Iran tours

Jordan Schachtel · January 2, 2018  
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New York Times building
Facade of the New York Times headquarters building on 8th Ave. in Midtown Manhattan. FrankvandenBergh | Getty Images

Many have taken notice of the New York Times’ lack of moral consistency in its coverage of the countrywide protests in Iran against the theocratic regime that rules there. From declaring that the president of Iran is a “moderate” to underselling the freedom-seeking ambitions of the average Iranian citizen, much of the Times coverage lately has devolved into unjust equivocations between the theocratic regime and the average Iranian citizen who wishes not to be ruled by Islamic theocrats.

Over the years, the Times has developed a reputation as one of the friendliest U.S.-based publications to the Iranian regime. It is one of the few Western outlets that’s been able to embed a reporter in Tehran without incident (the Washington Post’s Jason Rezaian was imprisoned in Iran for 545 days). Today, the Times offers nonstop editorials depicting the regime as an honest broker, and the Manhattan publication was one of the most fervent supporters of the Iran nuclear deal.

The recent protests in Iran have raised many red flags and questions as to whether the Times is reporting the news objectively. As videos continue to surface on social media, showing masses of people calling for an end to the regime (and even “death to the Islamic Republic”), the New York Times has downplayed the protests as merely economic disputes. Moreover, the paper’s Tehran-based reporter was conveniently “on vacation” as the most consequential, anti-regime protests in years spread through Iran like wildfire.

It turns out that The New York Times has a special financial relationship with the Iranian regime, likely unknown to many of its readers. As one of the few U.S.-based Iran tour providers, The Grey Lady delivers unprecedented access to the theocratic nation for a price.

Based on publicly available data on the New York Times travel website, Conservative Review has analyzed that the organization’s “Iran: Tales from Persia” trip, which is hosted by New York Times journalists and opinion writers, is a cash cow that has reaped millions of dollars in revenue for the publication.

The Times’ travel website lists nine publicly available trips to Iran in 2018, with an average group size of 20 people. The Iran tour costs $7,895 per person (based on double occupancy. Single travelers pay an additional $1,500), plus $425 for internal airfare. The price does not include international airfare.

Based on the organization’s own data, the New York Times’ bare minimum gross revenue for for the 2018 “Tales from Persia” tours should start at about $1.5 million. This amount does not include the added cost for single travelers, or the unknown revenue made from private tours that are going to be conducted this coming year. Currently, the travel website lists seven available months for private trips in 2018.

The New York Times has something of a monopoly on access to the country. Americans can’t travel alone inside Iran, which makes the Times’ tour one of the few accessible routes into Iran. While most tour groups include government minders who travel alongside tourists, tour provider Elaine Sciolino claims the Times’ trip does not include such hurdles.

Now, if Iran were to become a free country again and openly accessible to Westerners, there would be no need to drop an enormous amount of cash on an exclusive New York Times tour. U.S. airlines would surely jump at the opportunity to offer nonstop service from major U.S. hubs to Tehran. A free Iran would essentially shut off the Times’ huge revenue stream.

In addition to its financial conflict of interest, “The Gray Lady” Iran trip is hosted by reporters and editorial writers with an enormous pro-Tehran bias.

Reese Erlich, who will host the May and November departures, is a militantly pro-Tehran “journalist.” He has claimed that the U.S. has launched a “covert war” against Iran, adding that the Bush administration and Republicans in general are “liars” when it comes to Iran policy. Additionally, the foreword for one of his books is written by Noam Chomsky, who is infamous for his anti-Semitic propaganda.

Carol Giacomo, the New York Times editorial board member who specializes in foreign policy, will be in attendance for the December departure. A fervent proponent of the nuclear deal with the terrorist regime, she has in the past accused Republicans of being more loyal to Israel than to America. During the debate over the nuclear deal, Giacomo consistently trotted out talking points claiming that a failure to secure a nuclear deal would result in all-out war.

Additionally, the other four Iran experts who will join tourists on the Iran journey have expressed support for the Iran deal. In a webinar promoting the trip, Sciolino expressed her support for the deal.

It’s bad enough that the New York Times maintains an ideological platform for preserving the evil regime in Tehran. It’s worse that the “paper of record” has a multi-million dollar interest in ensuring the status quo of a nation ruled by Islamic theocrats.

Note:

Americans who travel to Iran on their own do so at an incredibly high risk, given that the regime there is militantly anti-U.S. Americans who travel to Iran run the risk of being detained for an indefinite amount of time, without legal recourse. The U.S. State Department strongly advises against traveling to Iran.


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Author: Jordan Schachtel

Jordan Schachtel is the national security correspondent for Conservative Review and editor of The Dossier for CRTV. Follow him on Twitter @JordanSchachtel.