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August 17, 2017 3:37 pm

New York Times Describes Iranian Dissident as a ‘Nuisance’

avatar by Ira Stoll

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The headquarters of The New York Times. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

A New York Times article about an Iranian opposition leader who is under house arrest and who is beginning a hunger strike describes him, dismissively, as a “nuisance.”

The Times article, about Mehdi Karroubi, concludes: “His opponents, even within the camp that once supported him, nowadays see the issue as a nuisance but say they see no way to break the stalemate that is keeping both opposition leaders under house arrest.”

Compare how the Times describes the Iranian political prisoner with how it described Liu Xiaobo, the Chinese dissident and Nobel laureate who died in prison last month. New York Times columnist Bret Stephens thundered:

His death is a tragedy and an outrage. It’s also a warning to his jailers.

To wit: No nation that defames and imprisons its best people is going to become great. No country that is afraid to let a man such as Liu speak freely can possibly be described as strong. Regimes that are fearsome are brittle, too.

A Times staff editorial about Liu Xiaobo described him not as a “nuisance,” but rather as a “a courageous man of conscience.”

If President Donald Trump or Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu started putting political opponents under arrest, and those political opponents started hunger strikes, do you think the Times would be describing the dissidents as a mere “nuisance,” like a neighbor’s pesky car alarm or dandelions in the front lawn? If anything deserves to be described as a “nuisance,” it is Iran’s terror-sponsoring, nuclear-missile pursuing, Holocaust-denying, Israel-hating and Jew-killing regime, and the Times‘ sycophantic coverage of it.

I understand the distinction between the Times describing someone as a nuisance and the paper paraphrasing his opponents describing him as such, but in this case, it seems like a highly theoretical distinction and one without much of a difference, because the opponents aren’t named and there are no proponents quoted replying to the characterization.

Maybe the Times will make the “nuisance” hunger-striking dissident a stop on its “Times Journeys” tours of Iran, on which readers with $7,395 to spare can have the privilege of being accompanied by Times journalists on a tourist trip to Iran. Unlikely.

It’s just the latest in a pattern of Times coverage strangely favorable to the Iranian regime.

More of Ira Stoll’s media critique, a regular Algemeiner feature, can be found here.

 

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