Who Said Those Embassy-Storming Thugs in Tehran Were 'Students'?
In a must-read editorial, the Wall Street Journal corrects its brethren MSM on the identity of the thugs who just stormed the British embassy in Tehran -- breaking windows, burning the British flag, ransacking offices, trashing a portrait of the Queen, and terrorizing the staff. The Journal notes that the attack was not impromptu. "Police stood by, and Iranian state television broadcast events live."
But, continues the editorial, "By some strange reflex, Western media insisted the attackers were 'students.' To Iranians who know better, they were the basij militia, the regime's first line of defense. These thugs were called out to brutally put down the 2009 Green Revolution, a genuine student-led uprising."
Exactly. So what was this strange reflex that caused so many members of the Western media -- including CNN, CBS, ABC, the BBC, USA Today, the NY Daily News and even Fox -- to describe them as "students"? I'm no mind reader, but I'm skeptical that in this case it was anything as deliberate as some sort of multicultural, values-neutral bias. More likely it was something at least as bad, and maybe worse. My guess is that they let Iranian propagandists do their thinking for them, pulling the "student" label straight off the Iranian broadcasts of the event.
Courtesy of the web site of Iran's embassy in the UK., no less, one can find right now a link to an account of the mob assault on the British embassy in Tehran. It's a writeup by the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting service (IRIB News), in which the main point seems to be, quite specifically, to cast the basij as students -- starting with the headline: "Angry IRI students enter British embassy." Every single one of the six short paragraphs in this brief account then features the label "students." Here's the text (boldface mine):
A group of Iranian students, indignant by Britain's hostile policies towards the Islamic Republic entered its embassy compound in Tehran Tuesday evening.
The students forced their way through the police forces into the embassy.
The students hurled Molotov Cocktails and stones into the embassy compound in Tehran and broke the building's windows.
Other students removed the British flag and hoisted IRI flag in its place.
The students were chanting slogans including Labbeik Ya Hussein (O, Hussein, we are ready to answer your call for assistance), in reference to the second Shii Imam's call for assistance in Ashura events.Scores of students were in the embassy compound while many more were gathering in front of the embassy. They were installing flags, designated with 'Ya Hussein' over the walls of the embassy.
Subtle, it ain't.