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September 30, 2013

NYT Whitewashes Iranian Refrain: 'Death to America'

Not for the first time this month, The New York Times again whitewashes anti-Western elements in the Middle East. In their article yesterday ("Dueling Narratives in Iran over U.S. Relations"), Michael Schwirtz and Thomas Erdbrink report:

The tensions over the recent breakthroughs were evident in Iran over the weekend. On Saturday, dozens of protesters threw eggs and a shoe at Mr. Rouhani upon his return from an annual gathering of world leaders at the United Nations in New York.

At the protest in Tehran, hard-liners surrounded Mr. Rouhani’s car, shouting, “Our people are awake and hate America!”

Asked to explain such statements on Sunday, [Foreign Minister] Mr. Zarif said the Iranian people hated American policies, not the American people.

“American people are nice, peace-loving, generous people who come to the aid of people in need all over the world, and this is what we respect and have a lot of admiration for,” he said.

But the policies of the American government, he said, have “unfortunately been the source of instability in our region for many years.” (Emphasis added.)

Protesters may have shouted at Rouhani that the people "hate America," but as was widely reported elsewhere, they also shouted a much more vitriolic, extreme chant, "Death to America."

Indeed, when Mr. Zarif addressed "such statements" Sunday, he was being interviewed by George Stephanopoulos on ABC's This Week, who specifically asked him about the "Death to America" refrain, not people "hate America." Here's what Stephanopoulos actually asked Zarif (approximately 17:40 minutes into the video):

When you hear those chants that come up so often in Iran, "Death to America, Death to America," what do you think about that and what can you say to those Iranians who say "Death to America"?

In an interesting twist to this story, it should be noted that the Times' Thomas Erdbrink himself did not conceal the "Death to America" chants which greeted Iranian President Hassan Rouhani Saturday. On the contrary, he tweeted from Tehran:

Thomas Erdbrink (ThomasErdbrink) on Twitter copy.jpg

And, an earlier story this week by Erdbrink that appeared in The Times did note the common "Death to America" refrain. So why, then, didn't Saturday's "Death to America" chants appear in the pages of The New York Times? Did editors, swept away by the Rouhani-Zarif charm offensive on the American front this weekend, seek to soften the less soothing messages heard in Tehran?

Posted by TS at September 30, 2013 06:22 AM

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