As the Iranian people rose up to protest the brutal totalitarian regime ruling their country, on Monday, ABC’s chief global affairs correspondent Martha Raddatz appeared on Good Morning America and lamented that the demonstrations were evidence of “Iran’s unity shattered,” only a week after she hailed the “massive and emotional” crowds that turned out to mourn terrorist leader Qasem Soleimani.
“A week ago, this was a country with masses of people shouting down the United States, but this morning in Iran, the anger is aimed at their own leaders,” Raddatz fretted at the top of her report, noting the Iranian public outraged by their military admitting it accidentally shot down a Ukrainian passenger plane and killing all 176 people aboard last week.
Later in the segment, she fondly recalled when the U.S. was the target of anger in Iran just days earlier: “In the aftermath of Soleimani’s death, Iranians were united, angrily protesting against the United States drone strike on Soleimani.”
Raddatz then seemed full of sorrow as she noted: “Now, Iran’s unity shattered. Iranian protesters ripping down posters of Soleimani, the slain military leader, and some protesters refusing to trample the image of an American flag.”
On NBC’s Today show, correspondent Richard Engel reported that despite Iranian missile attacks on U.S. forces stationed in Iraq “were popular in Iran” and “portrayed as a symbol of Iranian strength,” when it came to “the accidental shooting down of a Ukrainian passenger plane, killing foreigners and many Iranians, and then lying about it” it was “a different story.” He explained that “it has sparked outrage and violence” among the people.
Amazingly, neither ABC nor NBC mentioned the fact that Iran kicked foreign journalists out of the country over the weekend, in anticipation of massive protests against the regime. To it’s credit, CBS This Morning took on the story, with co-host Anthony Mason noting: “Elisabeth Palmer is London, after Iran’s government forced her and other reporters to leave that country over the weekend. Elizabeth, why did they kick you out?”
Palmer informed viewers:
Well, when the Iranian government asks foreign reporters to leave, and it has happened to me and many others before, it’s a sign that they are expecting public unrest. And sure enough, that’s exactly what they got.
On GMA, co-host Robin Roberts only briefly pointed out that “Martha Raddatz is back from Iran,” but never explained why. The Today show never even acknowledged reporters leaving the country.
My NewsBusters colleague Nicholas Fondacaro found that Sunday’s GMA actually devoted more time to covering the British royal family than the Iranian protests.
Here is a full transcript of the January 13 report from Raddatz:
7:02 AM ET
ROBIN ROBERTS: First, we’re going to begin with that turmoil in Iran. Violent protests erupting as people take to the streets there, protesting the regime after Iran admitted it accidentally shot down a passenger plane. Chief global affairs correspondent Martha Raddatz is back from Iran, tracking the very latest. Good morning, Martha.
MARTHA RADDATZ: Good morning, Robin. A week ago, this was a country with masses of people shouting down the United States, but this morning in Iran, the anger is aimed at their own leaders.
[Protesters chanting] Protests in the streets of Iran over the shootdown of that passenger jet. Overnight, thousands of Iranians flooding the streets for a second day. The Associated Press showing tear gas hurled at crowds, with video and witness accounts of protesters beaten and live ammunition fired. Iran denying the use of live ammunition.
The denial coming after the Iranian government finally admitted that its military forces accidentally shot down a Ukrainian commercial aircraft, killing all 176 passengers on board. This after three days of claiming mechanical errors brought down the plane. The Iranian government now saying they mistook the passenger jet for an incoming missile, just hours after Iran targeted American-backed bases in Iraq in retaliation for the U.S. killing Qasem Soleimani, a top Iranian general.
Iranian president Hassan Rouhani tweeting, “Armed forces’ internal investigation has concluded regrettably missiles fired due to human error caused the horrific crash of the Ukrainian plane.” In a televised speech, even hardliners apologizing. The commander in charge saying he wished he’d been on that plane himself so he wouldn’t feel so ashamed in front of his nation adding, quote, “We never thought we would harm our own people.”
In the aftermath of Soleimani’s death, Iranians were united, angrily protesting against the United States drone strike on Soleimani. Now, Iran’s unity shattered. Iranian protesters ripping down posters of Soleimani, the slain military leader, and some protesters refusing to trample the image of an American flag.
Overnight, President Donald Trump supporting the new protests, tweeting a warning in English and Farsi: “To the leaders of Iran, do not kill your protesters.” And this morning, hardliners have started threatening people from holding large-scale funerals where slogans against the Iranian regime might be shouted. George?
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Okay, Martha. Welcome back from Iran.