CNN Turns to Iran for Condemnation of Trump

Listen to the Article!

During the controversy surrounding Israel's decision to bar Congresswomen Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar into their country, most of the media focus was on President Trump and his tweets on the subject. The media condemned him for violating the tradition that stated that politics stops at the water's edge. The notion that politics stop's at the water's edge has never been as sacred as the media hyped it up to be and Monday's edition of CNN Newsroom proved just that when they sent Clarissa Ward to Iran for no other purpose than to find some "every day Iranians" who would tell them what they wanted to hear.

After host Brooke Baldwin and Ward summarized a dispute that Iran has been having with Britain over a seized tanker in Gibraltar, Baldwin asked what the Iranian people think of the situation, "You mention some of those conversations you were having with just every day Iranians. What more are they saying?"

Ward tried to paint a picture of a country of deep political divisions, that was nevertheless unified in their hatred of Trump:

We were in Tehran, we were in the city of Qom, which is a very conservative city, traditionally a bastion of support for the Supreme Leader, a lot of hard-liners there, but no matter who you are talking to on whatever side of the political divide they may be, and there are a lot of Iranians by the way who are extremely critical of the Iranian government, there seems to be a kind of united front at the moment in feeling imbittered and betrayed.

 

 

Ward then introduced a clip of a man named Alireza Bandar who was portrayed as just one of many ordinary Iranians Ward interviewed for this assignment. After calling the seizure of a British tanker "tit for tat" and repeating that he does not want war, but is prepared for one, Ward asked Bandar, "Do you have a message for President Trump?." Bandar replied with a statement that could have been a part of any CNN or "non-partisan" fact-checker job application:

Mr. Donald Trump, you know, you're an unpredictable person. You are a liar. You have lied more than 2,000 lies during your, you know, short time of presidency. So you are dangerous. Of course, you're dangerous. And we don't believe -- we don't trust you.

Ward did not specify what she mean by "extremely critical of the Iranian government," because the ones who are critical of the regime and are therefore likely to support Trump's policies are probably either dead or rotting away in a prison for thought crimes. But CNN knows no limits when it comes to getting a quick soundbite to use against Trump. So, much for politics stopping at the water's edge.

Here is a transcript for the August 19 show:

CNN Newsroom with Brooke Baldwin

2:34 PM ET

BROOKE BALDWIN: Let's go to Clarissa Ward, she’s live for us near the Strait of Hormuz with the very latest. Clarissa, is there any indication that Iran actually wants to talk to the U.S.? 

CLARISSA WARD: Well, you know, Brooke, I think the president is right about one thing. Which is that Iran's economy is in free fall and Iranians are definitely feeling the pinch, soaring inflation, the re-instatement of sanctions, but where I think me may not be right is with this idea that Iran is ready to talk because the reality is that Iran survived for decades under very painful sanctions up until now. And I think there is kind of a sort of reluctance acceptance of the fact that it's back to status quo ante now here for people. We've been talking to people on the different sides of the political divide and they seem to feel pretty strongly that Iran is in the right here, that Iran was upholding its end of the nuclear deal. And there is no reason that Iran should be punished. You talked about the tanker. You know, this -- Gibraltar had British Navy took this Iranian tanker. The Iranians reciprocated two weeks by taking a British tanker. It is still here in the port of Bandar Abbas. The expectation is that Iranians might release it given that the Gibraltarian authorities ultimately made the decision to release their tanker, but  one thing you won't find here, brook, is anyone criticizing the Iranian's decision to seize that tanker. They see this as a fair reciprocity no indication that's we have seen that they're ready to start negotiating again. 

BALDWIN: You mention some of those conversations you were having with just every day Iranians. What more are they saying? 

WARD: Well, it's interesting, Brooke, I mean this is a big country, okay we've had the good fortune in the last few days. We were in Tehran, we were in the city of Qom, which is a very conservative city, traditionally a bastion of support for the Supreme Leader, a lot of hard-liners there, but no matter who you are talking to on whatever side of the political divide they may be, and there are a lot of Iranians by the way who are extremely critical of the Iranian government, there seems to be a kind of united front at the moment in feeling imbittered and betrayed. Take a listen to one man, Alireza, and what he had to say. 

BEGIN CLIP

ALIREZA BANDAR: This is your culture that you say you is tit for tat, you captured our ship, we capture your ship. 

WARD: Do you think the people here in Iran want to see a war with the United States? 

BANDAR: You know, the people of Iran believe in their leaders. Our leader, Ayatollah Khameini, as he said that we don't like war. But we are ready for war. 

WARD: Do you have a message for President Trump? 

BANDAR: Mr. Donald Trump, you know, you're an unpredictable person. You are a liar. You have lied more than 2,000 lies during your, you know, short time of presidency. So you are dangerous. Of course, you're dangerous. And we don't believe -- we don't trust you. 

END CLIP

WARD: And, you know, we were talking also to people in the bazaars of Tehran. It's a cosmopolitan city, a lot of opposition to the government there, but still we didn't hear any kind words for the U.S. or for the president or for this policy of punishing sanctions, of breaking the nuclear deal and they say they're reluctant to even consider renegotiating a deal because they don't trust, Brooke, that the U.S. wouldn’t break that deal again. 

BALDWIN: I’m so glad you are able to be there and be safe and get these extraordinary perspectives from Iranians all over the country. Clarissa War, thank you so much for sharing that. 

 

NB Daily Foreign Policy Middle East Iran CNN CNN Newsroom Video Brooke Baldwin Clarissa Ward Donald Trump
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