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Conservative Review

The media’s abysmal Iranian protest coverage

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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