As Missiles Rain Down on U.S. Troops, ABC Touts Iran ‘Kept Its Promise’

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As ABC’s evening newscast was coming on the air Tuesday, Americans were just getting word that Iran was firing ballistic missiles at U.S. troops stationed in Iraq. In an irreverent announcement about the attempt to kill Americans from World News Tonight anchor David Muir, the network touted that the murderous Iranian regime had “kept its promise” to attack U.S. troops again. It was a comment Muir made more than once.

“For those of you joining us for World News Tonight at this hour, we have just learned, U.S. officials telling ABC News that Iran has kept its promise to retaliate after that deadly drone strike on Iran's top commander,” Muir announced after speaking with foreign correspondent Ian Pannell, who heard two explosions near him.

As he shifted to introducing chief global affairs correspondent Martha Raddatz, Muir pushed Iranian propaganda in suggesting the U.S. was responsible for an “act of war.” Of course, there was no mention of the Iranian-orchestrated assault on the U.S. embassy in Baghdad or General Qasem Soleimani’s repeated efforts to kill Americans.

Raddatz, who had spoken with Iran’s foreign minister earlier in the day and lobbed softballs, marveled at the swiftness of the Iranian attack on U.S. troops. “Javad Zarif told me just hours ago that they would take action against the United States. He said, ‘Iran is very patient. We will do it at a time and place of our choosing,’” she reported.

 

 

She added: “So, this has been very rapid, if this does, indeed, turn out to be true. He said he would hit targets, U.S. targets where it hurt the most. I asked him what he meant by that, he said they would not hit civilian targets. I said, does that mean you will hit military targets? He said, that's what the military wants to do, but we will determine that at a future date.”

A few minutes later, Muir would again speak of Iran’s attempt to kill U.S. troops in a positive tone while introducing ABC military analyst Colonel Stephen Ganyard. “And Colonel Ganyard, we've been saying for days now that U.S. military bases could very well be the likely targets. Iran had signified that could actually happen and it would appear they've kept their promise tonight,” he said.

“It does, David,” the Colonel responded.

Ganyard actually had an interesting theory about the Iranian attack: “There’s also the possibility, looking at where the missiles we know have landed as of now, that the Iranians may have shot into empty desert or a place where they really wouldn't have had a chance to hurt U.S. forces. So, they can say they retaliated but really didn't hurt anything and maybe the situation deescalates from there.”

But so far, that theory has not panned out.

The transcript is below, click "expand" to read:

ABC’s World News Tonight
January 7, 2020
6:32:33 p.m. Eastern

(…)

DAVID MUIR: For those of you joining us for World News Tonight at this hour, we have just learned, U.S. officials telling ABC News that Iran has kept its promise to retaliate after that deadly drone strike on Iran's top commander, saying that Iran has fired ballistic missiles from inside Iran into Iraq, into U.S. military facilities, particularly that U.S. military base in western Iraq. We do not know if there was, in fact, more than one target. This information coming in just as we were coming on the air tonight.

I do want to bring in our chief global affairs correspondent Martha Raddatz. She is live in Tehran tonight, because Martha, you conducted an interview with Iran's foreign minister just today who said the U.S. will pay for its act of war.

MARTHA RADDATZ: He certainly did. Javad Zarif told me just hours ago that they would take action against the United States. He said, “Iran is very patient. We will do it at a time and place of our choosing.”

So, this has been very rapid, if this does, indeed, turn out to be true. He said he would hit targets, U.S. targets where it hurt the most. I asked him what he meant by that, he said they would not hit civilian targets. I said, does that mean you will hit military targets? He said, that's what the military wants to do, but we will determine that at a future date.

But again, here in Tehran, they are confirming that missiles were launched, the IRGC. I also asked him about the threat of an all-out war. He said, that is up to the United States and how they respond to any retaliatory attack from Iran. David?

MUIR: Again, Martha Raddatz, who is live in Tehran for us tonight.

(…)

6:41:57 p.m. Eastern

MUIR: I want to bring in Colonel Stephen Ganyard, military analyst for ABC News. And Colonel Ganyard, we've been saying for days now that U.S. military bases could very well be the likely targets. Iran had signified that could actually happen and it would appear they've kept their promise tonight.

COL. STEPHAN GANYARD: It does, David. If you look at the kinds of weapons that they might have used here, these would have been intermediate-range or medium-range surface to surface ballistic missiles. They're not very accurate. Notice that the Al Asad base is way out in western Iraq and it's a big air base, not a lot of troops there. It’s a big logistical base.

So, we have two possibilities here. Either, they hit something that's U.S. and they do damage and the U.S. will feel like they're going to have to retaliate and then we get into sort of a blow for blow account. There’s also the possibility, looking at where the missiles we know have landed as of now, that the Iranians may have shot into empty desert or a place where they really wouldn't have had a chance to hurt U.S. forces. So, they can say they retaliated but really didn't hurt anything and maybe the situation deescalates from there. So, we got a real range and we’re going to have to wait to see what kind of damage and casualty reports we get from Iraq.

NB Daily Foreign Policy Middle East Iran Iraq Bias by Omission Military Broadcast Television ABC World News Tonight Video David Muir Martha Raddatz Qasem Soleimani

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