In the wake of the airstrike President Donald Trump ordered to take out top Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, some in the liberal media have gone over the top in attacking the president over the order while treating the murderous Iranian regime’s reaction to Soleimani’s death with deference.
Aside from largely downplaying and glossing over Soleimani’s indisputable history as a brutal thug enforcer for the repressive Iranian mullahs, the media has also seemed to take glee in highlighting the massive crowds that turned out — estimated to number in the hundreds of thousands, if not millions — for several days of funeral processions in honor of the general.
The media likely keyed in on the huge Iranian crowds as a juvenile way to take a shot at Trump in reference to his known attentiveness to crowd sizes, dating back to his inauguration but also whenever he holds a campaign rally.
But one Iranian journalist and women’s rights activist named Masih Alinejad wrote an Op-Ed in The Washington Post, published Monday, that contained a simple yet important message for the U.S. media and those who pay attention to it: “Don’t take what you’re seeing at face value.”
The main crux of Alinejad’s argument is that the Iranian regime is well known for its dishonest propaganda and that the American people — especially the media — should be skeptical of the notion that all of the people seen in the massive crowds were there of their own free will or were actually mourning the death of Soleimani.
“Without doubt, Soleimani had support among hard-liners and regime loyalists. The regime is not taking any chances, though,” she wrote, sharing anecdotal reports she had received from Iranian citizens of people being forced to attend the funeral processions, including government workers, students and others.
Alinejad said stores had been ordered closed by the government, free rides were provided to attend the processions and schoolchildren were being instructed to write essays in praise of Soleimani or were told to cry for his loss if they were unable to write yet.
Alinejad further noted that “the media in the Islamic Republic is heavily controlled. Public gatherings are allowed only if they are pro-regime. Critics are jailed or shot.”
She said she herself had received death threats for her coverage of Soleimani’s death from here in America, and added, “So it’s not hard to use all the tools and resources of the state to stage a funeral procession.”
While some, perhaps even the majority, of the Iranians making up those massive funeral procession crowds were surely mourning Soleimani’s loss, Americans should not be deceived into believing that all of the people there were supporters of the dead Iranian general or were saddened by his death.
Alinejad pointed out that Soleimani had played a role in the recent brutal crackdown on anti-regime protesters, in which at least 1,500 protesters were reportedly killed and more than 7,000 were arrested, which coincidentally occurred around the same time the internet was shut down across the country for five days.
Given the fact that even the Iranian government has yet to release official numbers for the dead, wounded and arrested at the protests, the numbers are actually probably higher than the aforementioned estimates.
On top of that, Soleimani also played a role in oppressive crackdowns against previous outbreaks of protest against the regime, such as in the late 1990s, 2009, 2017 and earlier in 2019. Furthermore, many Iranian protesters had expressly protested against Soleimani and his history of organizing and inflaming proxies around the Middle East, as they viewed it as a waste of government funds that should have been spent domestically.
The point? There is a substantial portion of the Iranian people who are pleased that Trump took out Soleimani but nevertheless felt pressured to attend his funeral processions.
Alinejad chastised the “Western media” for being properly skeptical of “state-organized events” in places like North Korea and Russia while at the same time displaying “unwarranted gullibility toward the official version of events” coming out of Iran.
She also lamented separately on social media how she herself has tried to inform her colleagues in the “Western media” — such as CNN, The New York Times and even The Washington Post itself — about the truth of what is occurring in Iran, to little avail. Yet, those same outlets have had no problem broadcasting all of the manufactured details of a state-run funeral procession for a mass-murdering terrorist.
To be sure, Alinejad’s report is her “opinion” and not necessarily “news,” per se, but given her credentials and experience, she has a voice that should be listened to. Unfortunately, her liberal comrades in the media would rather take shots at Trump using Iranian propaganda than provide a fair and unbiased assessment of what is really going on.
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