Iran Bans Opposition Rally; Khamenei Orders Probe: The Obligation of the Western Press
I will devote most of today’s program to the events in Iran with some of the president’s speech to the AMA thrown in. (Hopefully the president will break with his administration’s very cautious reactions and lead off the AMA speech with forceful comments on the sham election and the need for the Iranian regime to respect basic human rights.) The key for media outlets is to focus on the courage of the demonstrators and to refuse to predict their defeat and suppression by the mullahs. Too many western media outlets are giving tacit approval to the regime by predicting its inevitable triumph, and a handful have quite shamefully reported the election results as though they are legitimate.
Iran experts like Michael Rubin (see below) know that all Iranian elections are manipulated, but many commentators do not seem to understand this or that this could be the occasion when the Iranian people refuse to allow the charade to go on. The regime erred in allowing voters’ expectations of genuine participation to flower, and the blow-back is enormous and could grow. The odds are long but they get much longer if western media assumes that the demonstrators will be crushed or that the mullahs and the Revolutionary Guard will not bend or break. (Khamenei may have already blinked a bit.) There are clearly some elites distressed with Ahmadinejad’s radical rhetoric and rule who could throw in with the demonstrators if any sort of momentum for real change is maintained.
All any friend of freedom can do is pray and cheer for the side pushing freedom, which in this case means paying as much attention as possible to every appeal for attention from the demonstrators. Ignoring their courage or, worse, supporting the regime by parroting its lines, is shameful beyond words.