There’s something a bit fishy about the establishment media’s reportage on the reaction of Iranian citizens to the killing of General Qassem Soleimani. If you watched the news coverage yesterday, you might have been led to believe that the overwhelming majority of Iranian citizens were genuinely upset over the military officer’s death. 

Shortly after the news of Soleimani’s death was reported, the Iranian regime declared three days of national mourning. Video footage showed thousands of citizens marching in the streets, expressing their grief over the general’s demise. Left-leaning media outlets covered the demonstrations fairly closely. 

NBC News published a story titled, “Tens of thousands mourn Soleimani in Iran as Iraq parliament votes to end U.S. military presence.” BBC News put out an article titled, “Qasem Soleimani: Thousands mourn assassinated Iranian general.” Time Magazine published a similar piece, titled, “Thousands in Iraq March in Funeral Procession for Iranian General Killed by U.S.” Both CBS News and The Daily Beast gave similar reports. 

But is the story what it seems? Ayatollah Khameini would certainly want the world to believe that Soleimani was beloved by the population. But it appears that there is more to this story, and most western news outlets seem uninterested in digging deeper. 

On the first day of mourning, national security expert David Reaboi took to Twitter to point out that at least some Iranians were celebrating the general’s killing. Many baked cakes and other desserts to commemorate the story. Some of these cakes feature expression of gratitude to President Donald Trump for approving the operation that killed Soleimani. 

 

 

The pictures showing Iranians celebrating Soleimani’s death aren’t the only factor that should cast doubt on this particular narrative. Iranian journalist and activist Masih Alinejad made an appearance on Fox News in which she disputed the picture being painted by the regime and the western press. In a conversation with Sandra Smith, host of “America’s Newsroom,” Alinejad stated that Iranian media stifles “freedom of expression.” 

The journalist told smith that “Many Iranians do not see [Soleimani] as a hero and if you go to social media, that they are very happy.” She continued, “They have been witnessing how [the] Revolutionary Guard killed people in the streets across Iran.” 

Alinejad also argued that Iranians who support the regime are living “in their own bubbles,” and asserted that they are “not even in touch with ordinary people.” 

But even more telling is what she said regarding the government’s control over the country’s press. “And, most important[ly]…[the media are] only allowed to cover the story where the ministry of culture tells them to cover,” she said. “Otherwise, they will lose their connection. So, for most of the media, it’s important to have [a] connection with [Foreign Minister Mohammad], Javad Zarif, with our political leaders, and that is why they cannot tell you that how much people are actually angry, frustrated, because of these terrorist warmongers.”

Alinejad’s comments regarding the general’s brutality are accurate. Soleimani was known for taking harsh measures against Iranian citizens who protested the regime’s policies. Under the general, more than a thousand people were killed for voicing their criticisms of the government. Many more were imprisoned and tortured as well. In fact, the journalist’s brother was also arrested by the Revolutionary Guard. 

Earlier in the week, the journalist posted a thread on Twitter lashing out at the general and criticizing western media for participating in the effort to lionize him:

 

It’s hard to argue with Alinejad. Western media is showing an alarming lack of curiosity regarding the actual opinions of Iranians in relation to Soleimani’s death. It seems they are content to simply go along with the narrative the Iranian regime wishes to present without questioning. Other news outlets than Fox could have explored the issue further, perhaps speaking with other Iranians who might have a different opinion on the general. 

But they didn’t. 

Why would the press ignore such an important factor? One can’t read minds, but it’s not difficult to imagine how this works for them politically. Progressives in the media are already using the airstrike as a political weapon against the Trump administration. 

The corporate press is treating this president far differently than they have when his predecessors took similar military actions. Even worse, they seem unconcerned by the idea that everyday Iranian citizens cannot have their voices heard because of the government’s tyrannical crackdown on opposing speech. Western media is essentially choosing to promote narrative over truth because it suits their political agenda. Unfortunately, it is mainly the citizens of Iran who suffer as a result. 

 

Let me know what you think in the comments below!

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