In the aftermath of the death of Qassem Soleimani last week, the torching of the Iranian consulates in Najaf and Karbala, Iraq, and the Saturday death of Abbas Ali Al-Sa’edi, the pro-Iranian Hashd Al Sha’abi commander in Karbala, there are clear indications that the Iranian and Iraqi people are losing their fear of the mullahs of Iran. There is a lot of YouTube video of Iranians in the streets of Tehran and elsewhere, and a particularly neat one of Iranian students refusing to walk on an American and an Israeli flag.
Here’s the most beautiful thing you will see today! Students at Beheshti University in Tehran refuse to walk on the US & Israeli flags painted on the ground. They chant, “Basij [the IRGC paramilitary] forces, you are responsible for killing the people.” | pic.twitter.com/dskKJeDa18
— Mike (@Doranimated) January 12, 2020
This is a prelude to understanding President Donald Trump’s tweet to the Iranian people on Saturday and the sure knowledge that he’s outpaced newspapers, radio, and TV alike in understanding what regular people understand regardless of what language they speak. Then there is the absence of coverage of the event by what has been called the “mainstream media” — although the mainstream appears not to be following them. Google results mid-morning Sunday — in order of appearance, with sources — show you who cared:
- Trump Persian Tweet to Iranian People: I “Stand with You.” (Heavy.Com)
- Trump tweet in Farsi “the most liked Persian tweet’ in history of Twitter (Washington Examiner)
- Trump’s support for Iranian protestors breaks a Twitter record, something the MSM ‘will not report’ (TheBlaze)
- Trump Persian Tweet to Iranian People: I “Stand With You…” (Schooltips.com)
- Trump tweet in Farsi “the most liked Persian tweet” in… (enmnews)
- Donald Trump Tweets in Persian to Pump Up Iranian Protests (CNN)
- President Trump’s Tweet in Farsi is Most Liked Persian Tweet… (Gateway Pundit)
- Trump Tweets Support for Iranian Protesters — in Persian (Legal Insurrection)
- Trump Tweets Support for the ‘Brave and Suffering’ of Iran (PJ Media)
See a pattern?
With the exception of the snarky CNN headline, most are smaller outlets and all are openly supportive of the president’s decision to tell the Iranian people that we are not their enemy and we support their struggle against their government.
The Iranian people appear to appreciate that.
So where is The New York Times? Where is The Washington Post? The Los Angeles Times?
The Post had a few presidential tweet stories. In May, there was one about how the president’s tweets “put the Middle East on a knife edge.” There were a few in June and July — specifically, about one tweet the Iranian government called “repugnant.” The New York Times did some “analysis” of Mr. Trump’s tweets: “Trumps Twitter Presidency” and an opinion piece that claimed the tweets proved the president to be a “raging racist.”. Those were the nice ones.
You get the point.
And sure, by the time you read this, someone in the MSM will have figured out that the tweet was important — not only for what it said, and not only for the apparent joy it brought to the Iranians who read it, liked it, and retweeted it, but because Donald Trump has figured out a way to talk to people without their government or media intervening.
Oh, wait. That’s what he’s been doing with the American people from the beginning of his presidency — letting people hear directly from the man they elected. Americans have often taken that for granted: After all, most of us have unfettered Internet and we can log onto WhiteHouse.gov if we want to know what the president said last night in Arkansas. But this is why the president has 70 million Twitter followers.
And here, perhaps, is the source of MSM unhappiness with Donald Trump. It isn’t only what he does as president; sometimes they even approve of that. It is resentment that he skips them — and denigrates them — just as much as they skip over his agenda and denigrate him. It has long been the position of newspapers, radio, and television that the American people need a filter for what happens — and that they are the filter. They are the way to understand the world. Walter Cronkite was that for millions of people in the 1960s. Tom Friedman, with fewer than a million followers (even adding the 44 million of his employer, The New York Times), isn’t that.
And no one is likely to be that again. Not in the United States. And not even in a country where the government manages and manipulates the media and the official pronouncements. Not even in Iran.
There’s a new day out there. President Trump gets it.
Shoshana Bryen is Senior Director of The Jewish Policy Center in Washington, and Editor of inFOCUS Quarterly.