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Posted by on Dec 31, 2017 in Iran, Journalism, Media, Politics | 0 comments

Iran protests rage: Fox News fasely says media is “hesitant” about covering it

Protests continue to rage in Iran, defying government warnings of a crackdown. The story’s significance is noted by experts around the world and intense media coverage. But it’s worth adding: Lenscrafters needs to send Fox News some free glasses because it’s being put out that the mean, old, liberal media is ignoring the story.

Nothing could be further from the truth (which is not unusual from Fox News). First, here’s what Fox News is putting out. And, no, this is not The Onion or Andy Borowitz.. First, here’s what’ they’re saying — and second what the mean, old, mainstream media is actually reporting.

Fox News headline: Iran’s protests are powerful and real. Why are mainstream media outlets so hesitant to report on them?

Some of the story:

For all the squabbling that social media platforms are notorious for, their relevance to the media landscape plays an important role in times of protest.

This was evident with Black Lives Matter, among other movements. It’s been evident for the past three days in Iran, where thousands have taken to streets and public squares calling for an end to the hardline conservative regime of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

The question that needs to be asked right now is why traditional mainstream media outlets – grandstanding over their importance in this new, bold era of fact-checking and truth-telling – have largely ignored a blossoming revolution.

Anyone on Twitter could click #IranProtests and view videos and eyewitness accounts that contradicted much of Western media’s early reporting about these protests being simply about economic anxiety as was the case with The New York Times and Washington Post.

But the now three-day duration of rallies and protests that have found their way to Tehran have gone largely unnoticed in America’s corporate media apparatus. The New York Times simply described the protests as economic grievances, the same way Iranian state-run television described them.

CNN ignored the protests completely, and the explosion on social media until a front page story reporting on not uprisings against the regime, but a pro-government rally and President Trump’s tweet in support of the protestors. If the State Department wants to send a message of solidarity to the protesters in Iran, perhaps it can send them a white truck. Yes, the question has to be asked how such an uprising of thousands against their government would be covered by western media if this were Tel Aviv. We don’t need U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley defiantly raising her hand to answer that question for us.

Now here is how a “hesitant” mainstream media is handling this story.

Washington Post:

ISTANBUL — In his first comments since anti-government unrest began four days ago, President Hassan Rouhani said Sunday that Iranians have the right to protest but should do so without resorting to violence.

The demonstrations are the largest in Iran since an uprising over disputed election results shook the nation in 2009.

His remarks came as authorities said they blocked Instagram and the messaging app Telegram on Sunday, a move aimed at blunting the protests, which have spread across the country.

Two demonstrators were killed over the weekend, an official said, and protests continued in the capital, Tehran, and other cities on Sunday. Local media showed images of police firing a water cannon at protesters in central Tehran. About 200 people were arrested in the capital on Saturday, officials said.

The demonstrations, which began Thursday, were sparked by economic woes but swiftly expanded to target a system that many protesters have said is corrupt and incapable of reform. In stunning scenes, protesters were seen chanting, “Down with the dictator!” as they tore down posters of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, in central Tehran.


The largest public display of discontent in Iran since the 2009 Green Movement has brought about a series of tweets from US President Donald Trump, pushback from the Iranian government and a scene that might have been unfathomable a decade ago — protesters challenging the rule of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei.

CNN spoke with several experts about the ongoing unrest in the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Why is this happening?
The protests, which began Thursday night, are a reaction to the sputtering economy, rampant corruption and rising fuel and food prices.
But there’s something larger at play.
Iranians are angry, experts say, because they expected life to get better when severe sanctions were lifted after a deal was reached in 2015 between the P5+1 and Iran over its nuclear program. The P5+1 is the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany.
Iran's government warns against 'illegal' gatherings after protests
Iran’s government warns against ‘illegal’ gatherings after protests
While restrictions on financial, energy and transportation sectors were removed, hundreds of Iranian entities were not taken off the blacklists. And the United States has moved to create new sanctions over other violations, including a rocket launch this past summer.
Trita Parsi, president of the National Iranian American Council, and other experts say endemic economic mismanagement and corruption have left Iranians disenchanted.
Government policies have brought about higher unemployment and inflation. And there’s a lack of sturdy international investment, Parsi added.

New York Times:

Iran’s leaders were confronted by unauthorized protests in major cities for the third straight day on Saturday, with crowds aiming their anger at the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and some demanding that he step down.

The demonstrators first took to the streets of Mashhad, one of the holiest places in Shiite Islam, on Thursday. By Saturday, dozens of people had been arrested and the police had fired tear gas to disperse crowds.

On Saturday night, the protests turned violent, with at least two demonstrators shot in the western town of Dorud, according to a series of videos posted on social media. At least one of the videos was verified by BBC Persian. It could not be determined who was responsible for the gunfire.

The protests, which erupted over declining economic conditions, corruption and a lack of personal freedoms, presented a serious challenge to the government of President Hassan Rouhani, who won re-election on promises to revitalize the economy.

On Saturday, the angry crowds turned out on the same day that an annual pro-government rally took place in Tehran to commemorate counter-demonstrations against those who had challenged the re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as president in 2009.

The Los Angeles Times:

Iran is seeing the biggest outbreak of antigovernment protests in nearly a decade, with two protesters reported killed Sunday and scores arrested in cities nationwide.

Demonstrators are voicing frustration over the economy and calling for the resignation of President Hassan Rouhani and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, a stunning show of defiance in a country where public dissent is dealt with harshly.

Los Angeles Times foreign correspondent Shashank Bengali traveled to Iran in August and found simmering anger with the theocracy and outright desperation among a middle class suffering from years of international economic sanctions.

Also from the LAT:

Iranian police and plainclothes security officers mobilized Saturday to quell a third straight day of nationwide antigovernment demonstrations that for the first time reached the capital, where the chants among protesters included “Death to the dictator!”

The bold reference to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei — the all-powerful leader of a theocracy that for 38 years has stage-managed street demonstrations and stifled public expression — reflected the depth of frustration driving the biggest show of public discontent that Iran has seen in years.

Anti-riot police on motorcycles broke up an unauthorized gathering of about 200 people at Tehran’s Enghelab Square while authorities in the central city of Shahreh Kord fired tear gas as the government tried to keep the apparently spontaneous demonstrations from gaining momentum.

Witnesses said police detained at least 12 demonstrators and stationed water cannons near Enghelab Square (Enghelab means “revolution” in Farsi) after dozens were arrested in other cities a day earlier. Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli cautioned Iranians against taking part in “illegal gatherings.”

“Police and law enforcement have tried to manage the situation,” Fazli said.

NBC News using AP:

TEHRAN, Iran — Two protesters taking part in demonstrations roiling Iran were killed at a rally overnight, authorities said Sunday, as the government blamed “foreign agents” for the deaths and partially blocked access to a popular messaging app used by activists.

The demonstrations, which began Thursday over the economic woes plaguing Iran, appear to be the largest to strike the Islamic Republic since the protests that followed the country’s disputed 2009 presidential election.

They were fanned in part by messages sent on the Telegram messaging app, which authorities partially blocked Sunday along with Instagram.

ABC News:

Iran has blocked access to Instagram and a popular messaging app used by activists to organise and publicise the protests now roiling the Islamic Republic, as authorities said two demonstrators had been killed overnight in the first deaths attributed to the rallies.

Iran warned of a crackdown against demonstrators who pose one of the biggest challenges to both the government and clerical leadership in power since the 1979 revolution.

Tens of thousands of Iranians have protested across the country since Thursday against the Islamic Republic’s unelected clerical elite and Iranian foreign policy in the region.

They have also chanted slogans in support of political prisoners.

Demonstrators initially vented their anger over economic hardships and alleged corruption but they have also begun to call on Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to step down.

Such calls are evidence of an unprecedented level of anger and break a taboo.

The king ruled Iran from 1925 to 1941 and his Pahlavi dynasty was overthrown in a revolution in 1979 by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the Islamic Republic’s first leader.

The protests are the biggest since unrest in 2009 that followed the disputed re-election of then-President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

CBS News:

Two protesters taking part in demonstrations roiling Iran were killed at a rally overnight, a semi-official news agency reported Sunday, the first deaths attributed to the ongoing protests.

The demonstrations, which began Thursday over the economic woes plaguing Iran, appear to be the largest to strike the Islamic Republic since the protests that followed the country’s disputed 2009 presidential election.

President Trump warned on Twitter Sunday morning that the U.S. “is watching very closely for human rights violations!”

They were fanned in part by messages sent on the Telegram messaging app, which authorities blocked Sunday along with the photo-sharing app Instagram, which is owned by tech giant Facebook.

Many in Iran are learning about the protests and sharing images of them through Telegram, a mobile phone messaging app popular among the country’s 80 million people. On Saturday, Telegram shut down one channel on the service over Iranian allegations it encouraged violence, something its moderator denied.

On Sunday, Telegram CEO Pavel Durov wrote on Twitter that authorities had blocked access to the app.

“Iranian authorities are blocking access to Telegram for the majority of Iranians after our public refusal to shut down … peacefully protesting channels,” he wrote.

Iran’s state TV news website,, quoted an anonymous source saying that social media in Iran would be temporarily limited as a safety measure.

“With a decision by the Supreme National Security Council, activities of Telegram and Instagram are temporarily limited,” the report said, without elaborating.

Facebook, based in Menlo Park, California, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Facebook itself has been banned in Iran since protests against the disputed 2009 re-election of hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. However, some in Iran access it and other banned websites using virtual private networks.

Meanwhile, on Newsbusters:

The anti-government protests targeting government and religious leaders sweeping across Iran took a bloody turn Sunday as overnight reports surfaces of two protestors being killed at the hands of the corrupt government. Disgustingly, the deaths didn’t trigger much air on the three major American networks. ABC’s Good Morning America had a blackout of the deaths and protests all together while NBC only found 24 seconds for them. CBS finally discovered the protests, as they continued into their fourth day, dedicating a meager 16 seconds.

Instead of allowing serious time for the brutal murders of Iranian civilians and the protests, whose marchers have been chanting “Death to Rouhani” and “We don’t want an Islamic republic,” NBC’s Sunday Today ran a four minute and 37 seconds long highlight reel of the media slamming and smearing President Trump from this past year.

Fill-in host Hallie Jackson’s news brief on the protests was pitiful and made it seem as though they were isolated to the country’s capital city…

The alternate reality is alive and well, indeed, heading into the new year.

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