The New York Times was summarily blasted on Saturday after the newspaper presented Iran's nuclear program in a positive light. The Times' posturing came after the assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the Islamic country's top nuclear scientist.
What did the Times say?
The Times claimed that the nuclear ambitions of Iran — a state-sponsor of terrorism, according to the State Department — are for "peaceful purposes."
"Iranian officials, who have always maintained that their nuclear ambitions are for peaceful purposes, not weapons, expressed fury and vowed revenge over the assassination, calling it an act of terrorism and warmongering," the newspaper tweeted.
Iranian officials, who have always maintained that their nuclear ambitions are for peaceful purposes, not weapons,… https://t.co/pMl0NTRkoA— New York Times World (@New York Times World) 1606538947.0
What was the response?
In response, the New York Times, the so-called "paper of record," was accused of disseminating "foreign propaganda garbage."
- "Is this an Iranian paper?" conservative commentator Lisa Boothe said.
- "What was once the self-styled newspaper of record is now just a well-funded left-wing blog, relentlessly hostile to America and Israel, and always ready to propagandize for their enemies," Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) said.
- "NYT, once again, ignores U.S. intelligence agencies' warnings and props up a murderous, gay killing Regime. Their tweet should have a warning label of pushing misinformation, @Twitter," Richard Grenell responded.
- "The New York Times is pure foreign propaganda garbage," Republican operative Arthur Schwartz said.
- "Two weeks ago, the IAEA declared Iran's enriched uranium stockpile was over 12 times the legal limit. Also, you don't build nuclear facilities deep under mountains with 90 degree entrances meant to defeat cruise missiles when they're for peaceful purposes," GOP operative Alex Plitsas said.
- "Wow. The press has truly become an anti- American propaganda tool. Not even worth using for toilet paper," another person said.
- "Lmao. Much like the peaceful protests, this is just peaceful nuclear bomb research," another person mocked.
Notably, two top officials from the Obama administration were angered by Fakhrizadeh sudden death.
Former CIA Director John Brennan called the operation to kill Fakhrizadeh "criminal" and "highly reckless."
"This was a criminal act & highly reckless. It risks lethal retaliation & a new round of regional conflict. Iranian leaders would be wise to wait for the return of responsible American leadership on the global stage & to resist the urge to respond against perceived culprits," he said.
Brennan added, "I do not know whether a foreign government authorized or carried out the the murder of Fakhrizadeh. Such an act of state-sponsored terrorism would be a flagrant violation of international law & encourage more governments to carry out lethal attacks against foreign officials."
I do not know whether a foreign government authorized or carried out the the murder of Fakhrizadeh. Such an act of… https://t.co/RKEOezNiIi— John O. Brennan (@John O. Brennan) 1606504078.0
Meanwhile, Ben Rhodes, a top Obama aide who helped craft the Iran nuclear deal, claimed Fakhrizadeh's death was meant to undermine Joe Biden's administration.
"This is an outrageous action aimed at undermining diplomacy between an incoming US administration and Iran. It's time for this ceaseless escalation to stop," Rhodes said.
This is an outrageous action aimed at undermining diplomacy between an incoming US administration and Iran. It’s ti… https://t.co/SzyON6it2d— Ben Rhodes (@Ben Rhodes) 1606510760.0