From Lee Smith at Tablet
Yet the Post’s virtual news blackout on Iran was still more honorable than The New York Times, whose man in Tehran Thomas Erdbrink is a veteran regime mouthpiece whose official government tour guide-style dispatches recall the shameful low-point of Western media truckling to dictators: The systematic white-washing of Joseph Stalin’s monstrous crimes by Times Moscow correspondent Walter Duranty.
Here’s the opening of Erdbrink’s latest dispatch regarding the protests:
“Protests over the Iranian government’s handling of the economy spread to several cities on Friday, including Tehran, in what appeared to be a sign of unrest.”
“Appeared”? Protests are by definition signs of unrest. The fact that Erdbrink appears to have ripped off the Iran’s government news agency Fars official coverage of the protests is depressing enough—but the function that these dispatches serve is even worse. What Iranians are really upset about, the messaging goes, isn’t the daily grind of living in a repressive theocratic police state run by a criminal elite that robs them blind, but a normal human desire for better living standards. More.
Reality check: Never forget that the current purveyors of mainstream media might fancy a role as the virtuous PR for a police state for themselves. Popular revolutions against establishment media are just deplorable.
See also: Media freedom at lowest level in a decade. A number of causes are listed but surely the collapse of mainstream media in North America into mere mouthpieces for politicians has meant that media in less free countries have nothing to aspire to any more. One wonders, will the day come when most of the real news is secret or clandestine, as was the case centuries ago?