If you’re a reader exclusively of the New York Times or the Washington Post or HuffPost or a viewer of the networks, MSNBC or CNN, you would assume not a whole lot was going on in Iran — some relatively minor disturbances surely, but nothing substantial. This, although protests have erupted in over 80 Iranian cities. (Wikipedia only lists 98 in the entire country.)
Exceptions exist, of course, but basically it’s almost as if a code of silence were engulfing left-wing media outlets that you would think would be excited by a citizenry liberating — or even attempting to liberate — itself from one of the most oppressive, misogynist and homophobic regimes on Earth, one that spreads terror across the globe in the name of its bizarre religious-fascist ideology.
You would think the MSM — writers, editors and personalities — would be enthusiastic about such an uprising, opening up their pages and screens to its supporters and even cheering them on. That’s what liberals used to do — applaud democracy and freedom.
That’s what happened before and after the Berlin Wall fell, but it’s not happening now. Now you have the feeling that many in the MSM, conflicted though they may be, deep in their heart of hearts and barely able to admit it to themselves, are rooting for the mullahs to win. So they are silent.
The reason for this omertà — or near omertà, to be accurate — is obvious. The rebellion reflects poorly, to say the least, on Barack Obama.
Obama had placed his bet on the mullahs relaxing their evil dictatorship, which is rather like placing your bet on Genghis Khan or Attila, but so be it. He did it for whatever motivations, conscious or unconscious. That’s increasingly bloody water under the bridge now.
It’s also obvious that these media people can’t stand the idea that Donald Trump might be acting more compassionately in response to the Iran uprisings than Obama did in 2009, especially since it is clearly true the current administration is being more supportive and, dare I say it, more moral.
So they and their Democratic Party colleagues invent excuses such as we must not say what we think publicly in order not to set back the protestors — even as the protestors themselves are saying the exact opposite, praising the support of our government and Trump and asking for more.
So they and their Democratic Party colleagues invent excuses such as we must not say what we think publicly in order not to set back the protestors — even as the protestors themselves are saying the exact opposite, praising our government’s and Trump’s support and asking for more.
At the same time, media organizations like NPR invite the likes of Trita Parsi, a noted regime spokesman, instead of pro-freedom Iranian scholars like Amir Taheri and Sohrab Ahmari, on their shows, as if the outlets were deliberately trying to misinform or confuse their audiences about the situation on the ground. The facts are admittedly difficult to ascertain in a closed society like Iran, but, with rare exceptions, the attempts being made are scanty and often skewed negative without specific knowledge. The result, one Iranian-American told me, actually helps the mullahs because it depresses the demonstrators.
Great job, mainstream media, you liberals, you. But whatever happened to liberals anyway? Are they actually liberals anymore? Or progressives or whatever?
I hate to use this word but, sadly, no. Not for a long time. The Iran situation today is yet more evidence that liberalism as we knew it, or thought we knew it, no longer exists. It is now just an angry stew of power-hungry Trump hate (or disdain for whoever they think their conservative adversaries are). Ideals mean nothing. Freedom means nothing, as long as your side wins.
Exaggeration? Again, sadly no. No more obvious situation exists in the world today, not even North Korea, because the people of Iran in 2009 and even more now in 2018, with real calls for regime change, seem to be craving freedom — and the supposedly freedom-loving friends of my youth are standing by … because Barack Obama made a mistake and might look bad?
What men and women of principle! Perhaps we should call them what they really are — reactionaries.
As the old song goes, “Which side are you on? Which side are you on?”
Roger L. Simon is an award-winning novelist, Academy Award-nominated screenwriter and co-founder of PJ Media. His latest book is I Know Best: How Moral Narcissism Is Destroying Our Republic, If It Hasn’t Already.