- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 2, 2018


We have an early front-runner for the 2018 Walter Duranty Award for propping up evil regimes by repeating authoritarian propaganda. Fittingly, the dubious distinction belongs to a writer for Duranty’s alma mater, the New York Times. 

After a dozen protesters were murdered in Tehran by the Iran’s authoritarian regime the Times filed an on-the-scene report from their man in Tehran, Thomas Erdbrink. The article’s lede and accompanying tweet read like a press release from the Ayatollah’s publicist: 

Ignoring pleas for calm from President Hassan Rouhani, Iranian protesters took to the streets in several cities for the fifth day on Monday as pent-up economic and political frustrations boiled over in the broadest display of discontent in years.

The Iranian government responded with conciliatory words from Mr. Rouhani, but also a widening security clampdown — and a pledge late Monday to crack down even harder.

If that reads to you like a condemnation of protesters for defiantly demonstrating for basic rights and a defense of the reasonable, benevolent Iranian government you’re not alone. It’s almost as though Erdbrink is blaming the dead protesters for running in front of the peaceful warning shots fired from government troops. 

Duranty, for the uninitiated, won the Pulitzer Prize for his “coverage” of the Stalinist regime in the Soviet Union in the early 1930’s. Duranty denied the widespread famine in the Ukraine and parroted Stalin’s propaganda in a series of reports that earned him the dubious distinction of being Uncle Joe’s favorite Western journalist

Erdbrink’s dispatch from Tehran was quickly ridiculed by foreign policy experts and journalists on Twitter: 

Despite the fact that government officials had just murdered a dozen protesters in the streets of Tehran, the Times continued to refer to Iran President Hassan Rouhani as a “moderate.” 

This time, it is the failure of President Rouhani, a moderate, to deliver greater political changes and economic opportunity, despite the lifting of some of the sanctions against Iran as part of the nuclear deal. Young people are especially angry. The average age of those arrested is under 25, one official said.

Only in the world view of the New York Times can a man representing an authoritarian, theocratic regime and marshals his state police to murder his own citizens for daring to protest for basic human rights be referred to as “moderate.”

Uncle Joe would be proud. Give that man a Pulitzer. 

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