NYT Paints Iran, Soleimani In Vaunted Terms Following Trump Strike

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Amber Athey Podcast Columnist
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The New York Times has repeatedly peddled Iranian propaganda in the aftermath of President Donald Trump’s drone strike on military leader Qasem Soleimani.

The Gray Lady started its campaign against Trump’s decision to strike Soleimani with its obituary of the leader of Iran’s elite Quds Force. Calling back to The Washington Post’s description of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as an “austere religious scholar,” the Times referred to Soleimani as a “master of Iran’s intrigue” in the headline of its obituary, before noting in the lede that he was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of Americans.

“But in Iran, many saw him as a larger-than-life hero, particularly within security circles. Anecdotes about his asceticism and quiet charisma joined to create an image of a warrior-philosopher who became the backbone of a nation’s defense against a host of enemies,” the Times reported.

Readers compared the paper’s treatment of Soleimani’s death to that of late Cincinnati Bengals coach Sam Wyche, who was admonished by the Times for “barring a female reporter from the team’s locker room.”

The Times went on in other articles to react with wonder at the crowds of people, who ostensibly were out to mourn the death of Soleimani, in the streets of Iran.

“Throngs of people filled the streets of Tehran on Monday for the funeral of General Suleimani. Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, was seen weeping as he offered prayers,” the Times said in one tweet, which linked to an article that reported, “The general’s funeral was attended by a broad swath of Iranians, including reformers who oppose the government of President Hassan Rouhani but who perceived the killing as an attack on all of Iran.”

The piece did not mention that many Iranians were forced to attend the memorial proceedings or that school-aged children were forced to commemorate Soleimani in essays. (RELATED: Stampede Reportedly Breaks Out At Iranian Gen. Soleimani’s Funeral In Iran, Kills At Least 56 People)

In another tweet, the Times reiterated, “hundreds of thousands of people turned out into the streets to pay their respects [to Soleimani].

Iranian journalist Masih Alinejad reprimanded western media for falling for such “propaganda,” explaining that Iranians are compelled to attend national public events like Soleimani’s funeral.

“In the city of Ahvaz, where large numbers of people turned out to mourn Soleimani, the government has forced students and officials to attend,” Alinejad wrote for The Washington Post. “It provided free transport and ordered shops to shut down. According to videos sent to me by people inside the country, the authorities are making little kids write essays praising the fallen commander. First-graders who didn’t know how to write were encouraged to cry for Soleimani.”

She continued, “I have received thousands of messages, voice mails and videos from Iranians in cities such as Shiraz, Isfahan, Tehran and even Ahvaz, who are happy about Soleimani’s death. Some complain of the pressure to attend services for him.”

The Times continued its sympathy for mourners of Soleimani in its podcast, “The Daily,” advertising Tuesday’s episode with a sorrowful quote from an Iranian student.

“He was like a security umbrella above our country,” the student said, which the Times repeated in a tweet.

Conservatives slammed the outlet for its “vile” one-sided presentation of the Iranian sentiment about Soleimani’s death.

The Times rounded out the week by referring to Iranian president Hassan Rouhani as a “moderate,” despite his role in suppressing protests, executing political opponents, and recently taking credit for the Lockerbie bombings, which resulted in 270 deaths.