News & Politics

Journalism's Iran Narrative Got Shot Down and Nobody Knows What to Do

Twitter screenshot of Iranians protesting the regime.

Ever since Qasem Soleimani was introduced to his 72 virgins, our moral, ethical, and intellectual betters in the press have struggled to find a narrative where killing a terrorist is bad because Trump did it. It couldn’t have been the right thing to do, for the right reasons or in the right way, or else Trump wouldn’t have done it. It’s just impossible to think he could’ve done something good. It goes against everything they know to be true about the world. It has to be a mistake, if not an outright war crime. They’ve actually convinced themselves this is a terrifying prelude to World War III. That’s the only way the world they’ve created for themselves still makes sense.

Which is why they don’t know how to process the news now coming out of Iran. On Friday, the Iranian government was forced to admit shooting down that Ukrainian passenger plane — which is still being described as a “plane crash” by those still holding out hope that all this is somehow America’s fault — and now the Iranian people are pouring into the streets of Tehran to protest their oppressive leadership.

We’re seeing scenes like this:

Translation: “Beheshti University students in #Iran. They refrain from walking over the American flag. They raise the slogan: Our enemy is only the Iranian regime, not America.” The protesters also yelled “Shame on you” at anyone who did walk on the flags of America and Israel. They’re tearing down banners with Soleimani’s face on them. They’re demanding justice for the civilians who were killed in Iranian airspace by the Iranian government. They’re not blaming America. They’re not blaming Trump. And they’re risking their lives to tell the world.

This would seem to be at odds with the prevailing media narrative that Iranians love their leaders and Soleimani was their version of Elvis:

Iranian citizens are tougher on Iran than CNN and MSNBC are!

One of the many people savoring this irony is Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX), who wrote:

Notice the “sensitive content” warning you got there? The narrative must be preserved, and Twitter is always eager to help preserve it:

This is about gatekeeping. American journalists want to set the agenda. They want to be the ones who decide what we talk about and how we talk about it. Once they’ve decided on an angle — “Iranians love Soleimani,” “It’s America’s fault that the Ukrainian plane was shot down,” etc. — they don’t want to deal with any evidence that goes against it. Reality annoys them. And if they start to lose control of that narrative, they can count on their friends at Twitter to run interference.

As Iranians risk their own necks to speak out against a tyrannical regime, let’s all take a moment to pray for the real heroes who are persevering through real oppression: wealthy, pampered American journalists who have to put up with Trump’s mean tweets.

Free Maggie Haberman!