Memo to the relevant producers and hosts:
Assume that many mullahs and various elites in Iran will be watching via satellite in the morning to see exactly how much coverage the turmoil in Tehran is generating in the U.S. MSM did not distinguish itself on Saturday with haphazard coverage that failed to communicate anything like the interest level that telegraphs to the Iranian people –either directly or through the hundreds of thousands of ex-pats in the U.S. connected with their friends and families in the Islamic Republic– that the West generally and Americans especially are cheering for genuine reform of the political system there and a toppling of the theocracy via democratic resistance. Courage can’t be imported, but it can be encouraged by steady, sympathetic reporting and the sort of 24/7 fixation that our media can deliver as none other can.
So blow out the scheduled panels and bring in talking heads who are up to speed. Survey Andrew Sullivan and The Corner and round up the not-so-usual suspects both blogs are linking to in abundance to talk about the importance of the next few days. Get Michael Ledeen and Michael Rubin, Juan Cole and Joshua Micah Marshall. Better yet, find the folks who run the Persian satellite networks. Run the clips of the suppression of dissent again and again and again. Get the makers of The Stoning of Soraya M. Find and book Amir Taheri.
Anything else signals a giant “shrug of the shoulders” that sends a message of disinterest in the future of Iran that will not be forgotten for a long time. Imagine Iranians who long to be free of the Supreme Leader, Ahmadinejad and the Revolutionary Guard. Many must be watching us watch them –or not. If the West doesn’t even break from regularly scheduled programming for a few days, how can they ever be expected to trust our oft-repeated statements of genuine friendship for the people of Iran even as we oppose the regime?