If you need help talking with the children in your life about the aftermath of the ethical collapse of most of the American media, here’s a guide to explaining the topic.
I refer, of course, to TIME’s offer of scripts for concerned parents: ‘If you need help talking with the children in your life’ — as opposed to the children you’ve casually seeded in other people’s lives — ‘about the aftermath of Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani’s killing.’
TIME has a special department called TIME for Kids, full of useful cues for the indoctrination of woke attitudes at the earliest possible age, in case your ankle-biters damage their career prospects by developing thoughts of their own and accidentally expressing an honest opinion in public. The TIME for Kids take on Soleimani’s killing is uncannily similar to Elizabeth Warren’s squirming on The View when Meghan McCain asked her to confirm that she thought Soleimani was a terrorist.
Soleimani, TIME says, was a ‘general’ and ‘a top military leader in Iran’, who was ‘called a terrorist’ by President Trump — which is to say, not a terrorist in the opinion of TIME and the decent people who read it, but a terrorist in the opinion of the warmongering white supremacist who has launched forever-war after forever-war since stealing the 2016 election. Soleimani, Warren said after repeated questioning, is ‘of course…part of a group that our Federal government has designated as terrorist’ — which is to say, not a terrorist in her opinion, because she wants to win the Democratic presidential nomination and because she is quite possibly so morally impaired that she can’t bring herself to call any enemy of her country a terrorist, but a terrorist in someone else’s opinion, probably the opinion of people who believe that she claimed to be of Cherokee descent, and allowed others to claim it without correcting them, just so she could work the affirmative action system to her advantage.
These failures of nerve and honesty on the subject of Soleimani are uncannily similar to the failures of the New York Times and the Associated Press. The Times’s Farnaz Fassihi, who attended Soleimani’s funeral, reported that even the mullahs’ opponents were calling Soleimani a ‘national hero’ and quoted a student who claimed to have slept better at night knowing that Soleimani was ‘out there’. The student didn’t say whether Soleimani was at his most comforting when he was organizing killings ‘out there’ in Iraq or Lebanon or Yemen or Syria. Of course Fassihi didn’t ask him, or note that people who live under dictatorships tend to mouth the official line to foreign journalists.
The Associated Press emitted a pompous statement about why it wouldn’t call Soleimani’s killing an ‘assassination’ because that ‘would require that the news service decide that the act was a murder, and because the term is politically freighted’ — and then published an article describing it as a ‘slaying’, a term almost always used to describe murder, and one usually freighted with the modifier ‘gangland’.
The political freight that the pro-Democratic media carry is not fear for the lives of American servicemen and women, or even concern at the epic fail of American nation-building in the Middle East. The Americans who do the fighting live as they die, far in social and physical geography from the pampered quasi-aristocrats of the media elite. The freight is a loathing of Donald Trump — for the vulgarity which embarrasses them in front of their European friends, for the coarseness with which he has pricked every bubble of their conceit, for the glee with which he overturned every monument to their fetish object, Barack Obama.
If you hate someone that much, you’ll believe anything about them. This is why Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez ‘liked’ a tweet from the Russian-funded Assad propagandist Rania Khalek which claimed that ‘Iran won’t attack civilians’. This is why on Tuesday, media all over the West interpreted Trump’s threat to attack sites ‘at a very high level & important to Iran & the Iranian culture’ as a threat to demolish Iran’s ancient mosques.
‘Here’s what could be lost if Trump bombs Iran’s cultural treasures,’ said the Guardian, offering a listicle of ‘the Iranian cultural treasures targeted by Trump’ and claiming that the American president is about to join ‘an axis of architectural evil alongside the Taliban and Isis’. ‘Trump has been threatening to commit war crimes,’ Michelle Goldberg claimed in the Times.
Nothing in Trump’s tweets suggested he is now mulling over a target list of UNESCO sites. He described the targets as ‘important to Iran & the Iranian culture’. Trump’s idea of culture is a wet T-shirt contest followed by a burger. These elementary pleasures of Western life are denied to the people of religion-blighted Iran, who instead must endure the entertainments offered by the Telecommunications Company of Iran.
This company, like more than one hundred others and all of the profitable and important parts of the Iranian economy, is controlled by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. The Telecommunications Company of Iran is not a ‘cultural treasure’, unless you’re a mullah who’s just checked out TIME for Kids and is exploring new approaches to brainwashing. It is, however, ‘important to Iran’ and part of the regime’s enforced ‘Iranian culture’.
Only the ignorant or bad-faith actors would jump to the conclusion that Trump is about to bomb Iran’s mosques. Then again, most American journalists are strenuously ignorant about the outside world, and most of them are doing their best not to admit they’re acting in bad faith.
Most of the media support the Democrats. They hate Trump more than they love Iran — and, it appears, more than they love their fellow Americans. Not because it is the task of the media to cheer for reckless military adventures abroad, though the New York Times has supported plenty of those; but because of the media’s task at home. For liberal democracy to function, voters must be informed by a reasonably honest media. The pro-Democratic media don’t much love the voters, either. But the voters see the ethical collapse of the media.