Everyone remember the infamous Iran Deal? Well, just like Hillary Clinton, it’s rearing its unsightly head back in the mainstream through the latest episode of CBS’s Madam Secretary. And don’t even think about questioning it, or you just might end up on the wrong side of patriotism.
Friday’s network morning shows were horrified to report that President Trump had decided to replace General H.R. McMaster as National Security Adviser with former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton. Journalists on the NBC, ABC, and CBS broadcasts feared that the “controversial” pick would only add to Trump’s “very hardline” national security team.
Thursday marked an awful, no-good, very bad day for MSNBC host Chris Matthews as President Trump picked John Bolton to replace H.R. McMaster as National Security Adviser. Less than an hour later, Matthews uncorked a hissy fit for the ages on Hardball lasting the whole show on the man he dubbed a modern Hideki Tojo and “biggest hawk there's ever been.”
In what really could only be described as a completely bonkers conspiracy theory, The Nation magazine editor Katrina vanden Heuvel suggested Sunday that Rex Tillerson was fired from the secretary of state position because his replacement was funded by the Koch brothers and because the administration wanted a war with Iran. If you’re confused, don’t worry, the rest of the liberal panel on ABC’s This Week didn’t seem to be able to follow her convoluted mess either.
Reacting to President Trump’s decision to replace Secretary of State Rex Tillerson with CIA Director Mike Pompeo, on Monday afternoon, MSNBC anchors Chris Matthews and Katy Tur went into full meltdown mode over the cabinet reshuffling. Both hosts feared that Pompeo’s “hawkish position on Iran” would provoke a “stupid war” with the authoritarian regime.
During a report for Sunday’s NBC Nightly News on Iran marking the 39th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, correspondent Ali Arouzi fretted that “all is not well in the Islamic Republic” as he observed: “The anniversary, usually marked with widespread displays of anti-Americanism, muted, with only a few U.S. flags burnt in protest.”
On Thursday’s Morning Joe, MSNBC panelists discussed a report by The Wall Street Journal that President Trump had attempted to begin negotiations with Iran over the release of American prisoners held there. While none present on the panel opposed the negotiations themselves, that did not preclude them from using the occasion to criticize the President.
President Trump isn’t just empowering dictators by criticizing the mainstream press, he’s also doing so by abandoning the promotion of human rights overseas. That’s the thrust of Friday’s front-page New York Times story by Cairo bureau chief Declan Walsh, “In Unquestioning U.S. Embrace, Autocrats Steamroll Opposition.” The text box: “A president’s silence on abuses by allies emboldens despots in Egypt and elsewhere.” But where was this concern for human rights when Republicans criticized ran this year, or Russia or Egypt previously?
On Friday’s Morning Joe, co-host Joe Scarborough and Washington Post columnist David Ignatius tried to explain the current anti-government protests in Iran by painting a broader picture of a “red state Iran” and a “blue state Iran.” Scarborough described “red state Iran” as a place that “wanted to keep the mullahs in charge,” whereas “[b]lue state Iran wanted to move Iran into the 20th century.”
Thursday marked one week since the small protests in Mashhad, Iran that sparked the ongoing, country-wide uprising that’s left the tyrannical regime in a panic. Thursday also marked the second day since numerous salacious passages from journalist Michael Wolff’s gossip-laden book about Trump’s White House were released to the press. Despite the growth and length of the Iran protests, the three major network news outlets (ABC, CBS, and NBC) found more interest in Wolff’s palace intrigue that the Iranian people’s struggle for freedom.
Timing is everything, and if you’re going to argue that American women are oppressed by the current administration, the patriarchy, the wage gap, or ponying up for their own birth control, try not to do it while women are very publicly facing actual oppression of the jailing-beating-shooting variety.
After the morning news casts showed substantially more interest in the Iranian protests on Tuesday morning than they had shown over the holiday weekend, by Wednesday morning coverage of Iran had mostly collapsed, leaving FNC's Fox and Friends giving substantially more attention to the story than all the news shows from ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, and MSNBC in the same time slot combined -- including more than six times as much as CNN's New Day show.