Was that ABC Nightline Martha Raddatz report on Iran actually journalism?

Does ABC News have some kind of propaganda agreement with Iran's mullahs in order to Get Trump?

It seemed to have an agreement of some kind.  That's the only thing one can conclude after seeing Nightline's Martha Raddatz report last night, the one with her featured standing in the middle of a raging Iranian mob with her hair very visible, telling us all how angry the Iranians are about the death of its terrorist Quds Force general, Qassem Soleimani, in a U.S. air strike.

Obviously, the mullahs consider it all good propaganda for whipping up the Democrats over in the U.S. to come out against any U.S. involvement in hitting back at Iran as it hits us.

But it was strange stuff.  It was obviously not normal reporting.

Number one, getting a pass to report in Iran is a difficult and complicated thing.  It's not commonly done; no major news outlets have foreign bureaus anywhere in that country.  Somehow, ABC managed to arrange this quickly.  Parachute journalists and foreign correspondents who aren't fluent in the language of the country they cover almost always use "fixers" to set things up for them.  Who was ABC News's fixer?  Anyone watching this swift production ought to have his antennae for propaganda up. 


Riiiight: Raddatz out and about in downtown Tehran.  Iran's enforcers beat women for showing that much hair.  Funny how nothing happened with her...
Image credit: YouTube screen shot.

And two, since when do we put female television reporters in the middle of raging Middle Eastern mobs without expecting some kind of consequences?  We all know what happened to CBS reporter Lara Logan when she plunged without a veil into a raging Egyptian mob several years ago — she was brutally assaulted as a foreign female not adhering to Islamist norms, and her prominent television reporter status didn't mean a thing to them.  What kind of security did Raddatz have?  She had to have had some, owing to Iran's "whip them" culture on non-conforming females without veils, or even veils that show too much hair.  Raddatz has a barely visible excuse for a veil, but her hair is out there.  Even if we account for differences of behavior between Persian and Egyptian mobs, or the two women's age differential, we know that Persian mobs, which once ripped the dead body of the Ayatollah Khomeini out of his coffin during his funeral procession, can do crazy things, and Raddatz was vulnerable.  Did ABC's security come from the mullahs?  Was there some kind of protection agreement?  They don't have much private-sector security to hire in Iran, and in any case, mullahs call the shots there.

Three, the U.S. has ordered all U.S. nationals out of Iran — all — based on the very real possibility that the mullahs will take and hold some of them hostage.  They've done it before; they held the Washington Post's bureau chief and a Wall Street Journal senior correspondent hostage with impunity and not a care about their rank or any consequences.  Why wouldn't Raddatz be the same kind of target, particularly with the mullah regime furious?  Some kind of agreement, some kind of guarantees seem to have been made about this. Iran's propensity to kidnap Westerners, including reporters from prominent news organizations, is not a secret to any of them.

If any of these kinds of agreements was done, all one can conclude is that it wasn't exactly free reporting; it was state-sponsored reporting.

When you look at the content of the Nightline piece, well, draw your own conclusions.  Raddatz's report sought to show everyone how aggrieved the Iranians were.  There were crying ayatollahs, raging fist-pumpings.  Raddatz stood in the middle of a crowd of mostly young men waving their fists (notice that only the men do that), yelling, "Death to America," letting them do their thing and helpfully telling us that they're full of intensity.


Spontaneous.  Look how relatively neat the composition of the picture came out.  Staged?  You decide.
Image credit: YouTube screen shot.

Right there it's hard to think the whole thing was not staged.  Look at the neatness of the photographic composition, everyone standing neatly around her and leaving room for the camera in front of her to film.  Throughout the rest of the report, there was not a word about the celebrators of Soleimani's death, something we can be pretty sure the mullahs do not want to see the airwaves, but that, based on evidence seen from Iranians on Twitter, appeared pretty large, indeed.  Why wasn't that in the report?  Not a word, either, about the historic perspective of the dictator's funerals drawing large crowds — Stalin, Hugo Chávez, Fidel Castro, and Robert Mugabe also drew huge funeral crowds.  People in totalitarian states tend to act like beaten, abused wives, mourning their oppressors, in part because they don't know where the brute force power used against them now resides in the wake of the despot's death and often are playing it safe. Things frequently fall apart in the aftermath, however.

Well, that wasn't there in the report. Instead, Raddatz tried to convince us that Iranians were in deep, deep mourning because they were wearing black - something they've been doing since the mullahs seized power in 1979 actually -- and yelling 'death to America,' something they were doing last week, and all through these miserable mullah years. Neither detail was new, but they expected us to think it was new - Iranians wearing black and yelling 'Death to America!' so now President Trump has really done something bad. According to the Washington Examiner, which noticed how bad it was:

ABC's Martha Raddatz, reporting separately from Iran, said of the funeral and its accompanying protests that they represent a "powerful combination of grief and anger" over the killing of a "man revered by many here."

The network then broadcast an Iranian who said, "Trump made a big mistake. He killed our hero."

"Soleimani's image everywhere. The impact of his death profound. The crowds are massive and emotional," said Raddatz. "There are many tears here, many signs with Soleimani's picture on them, but the message is also very clear. These people want revenge."

"Inside the funeral service, the emotion just as powerful," she said, adding, "I don't think people here want an all-out war, but they do want revenge for the death of Soleimani, but the next move is all up to Iran."

Pure, unadulterated mullah propaganda, and ABC News served as Iran's useful fool. The mullah regime seems impervious to propaganda, given their outrageous acts, but in reality, they are sensitive to it. Axios has some new material about Iran's effort to propagandize the mullah regime in the West. Historian Andrew Cooper has spoken of a startling Iranian propaganda machine that attacked him on Amazon to depress sales of his book that favorably depicted the Shah of Iran. The mullahs care very much about propaganda as most westerners view their oppressive regime like a bad smell.

Something happened for ABC to get that report out, showing how supposedly sharp they are that they can get into Tehran and file reports. Someone needs to ask them about just why the mullahs thought it served their interests to let them in. Is what they did actually journalism?

Does ABC News have some kind of propaganda agreement with Iran's mullahs in order to Get Trump?

It seemed to have an agreement of some kind.  That's the only thing one can conclude after seeing Nightline's Martha Raddatz report last night, the one with her featured standing in the middle of a raging Iranian mob with her hair very visible, telling us all how angry the Iranians are about the death of its terrorist Quds Force general, Qassem Soleimani, in a U.S. air strike.

Obviously, the mullahs consider it all good propaganda for whipping up the Democrats over in the U.S. to come out against any U.S. involvement in hitting back at Iran as it hits us.

But it was strange stuff.  It was obviously not normal reporting.

Number one, getting a pass to report in Iran is a difficult and complicated thing.  It's not commonly done; no major news outlets have foreign bureaus anywhere in that country.  Somehow, ABC managed to arrange this quickly.  Parachute journalists and foreign correspondents who aren't fluent in the language of the country they cover almost always use "fixers" to set things up for them.  Who was ABC News's fixer?  Anyone watching this swift production ought to have his antennae for propaganda up. 


Riiiight: Raddatz out and about in downtown Tehran.  Iran's enforcers beat women for showing that much hair.  Funny how nothing happened with her...
Image credit: YouTube screen shot.

And two, since when do we put female television reporters in the middle of raging Middle Eastern mobs without expecting some kind of consequences?  We all know what happened to CBS reporter Lara Logan when she plunged without a veil into a raging Egyptian mob several years ago — she was brutally assaulted as a foreign female not adhering to Islamist norms, and her prominent television reporter status didn't mean a thing to them.  What kind of security did Raddatz have?  She had to have had some, owing to Iran's "whip them" culture on non-conforming females without veils, or even veils that show too much hair.  Raddatz has a barely visible excuse for a veil, but her hair is out there.  Even if we account for differences of behavior between Persian and Egyptian mobs, or the two women's age differential, we know that Persian mobs, which once ripped the dead body of the Ayatollah Khomeini out of his coffin during his funeral procession, can do crazy things, and Raddatz was vulnerable.  Did ABC's security come from the mullahs?  Was there some kind of protection agreement?  They don't have much private-sector security to hire in Iran, and in any case, mullahs call the shots there.

Three, the U.S. has ordered all U.S. nationals out of Iran — all — based on the very real possibility that the mullahs will take and hold some of them hostage.  They've done it before; they held the Washington Post's bureau chief and a Wall Street Journal senior correspondent hostage with impunity and not a care about their rank or any consequences.  Why wouldn't Raddatz be the same kind of target, particularly with the mullah regime furious?  Some kind of agreement, some kind of guarantees seem to have been made about this. Iran's propensity to kidnap Westerners, including reporters from prominent news organizations, is not a secret to any of them.

If any of these kinds of agreements was done, all one can conclude is that it wasn't exactly free reporting; it was state-sponsored reporting.

When you look at the content of the Nightline piece, well, draw your own conclusions.  Raddatz's report sought to show everyone how aggrieved the Iranians were.  There were crying ayatollahs, raging fist-pumpings.  Raddatz stood in the middle of a crowd of mostly young men waving their fists (notice that only the men do that), yelling, "Death to America," letting them do their thing and helpfully telling us that they're full of intensity.


Spontaneous.  Look how relatively neat the composition of the picture came out.  Staged?  You decide.
Image credit: YouTube screen shot.

Right there it's hard to think the whole thing was not staged.  Look at the neatness of the photographic composition, everyone standing neatly around her and leaving room for the camera in front of her to film.  Throughout the rest of the report, there was not a word about the celebrators of Soleimani's death, something we can be pretty sure the mullahs do not want to see the airwaves, but that, based on evidence seen from Iranians on Twitter, appeared pretty large, indeed.  Why wasn't that in the report?  Not a word, either, about the historic perspective of the dictator's funerals drawing large crowds — Stalin, Hugo Chávez, Fidel Castro, and Robert Mugabe also drew huge funeral crowds.  People in totalitarian states tend to act like beaten, abused wives, mourning their oppressors, in part because they don't know where the brute force power used against them now resides in the wake of the despot's death and often are playing it safe. Things frequently fall apart in the aftermath, however.

Well, that wasn't there in the report. Instead, Raddatz tried to convince us that Iranians were in deep, deep mourning because they were wearing black - something they've been doing since the mullahs seized power in 1979 actually -- and yelling 'death to America,' something they were doing last week, and all through these miserable mullah years. Neither detail was new, but they expected us to think it was new - Iranians wearing black and yelling 'Death to America!' so now President Trump has really done something bad. According to the Washington Examiner, which noticed how bad it was:

ABC's Martha Raddatz, reporting separately from Iran, said of the funeral and its accompanying protests that they represent a "powerful combination of grief and anger" over the killing of a "man revered by many here."

The network then broadcast an Iranian who said, "Trump made a big mistake. He killed our hero."

"Soleimani's image everywhere. The impact of his death profound. The crowds are massive and emotional," said Raddatz. "There are many tears here, many signs with Soleimani's picture on them, but the message is also very clear. These people want revenge."

"Inside the funeral service, the emotion just as powerful," she said, adding, "I don't think people here want an all-out war, but they do want revenge for the death of Soleimani, but the next move is all up to Iran."

Pure, unadulterated mullah propaganda, and ABC News served as Iran's useful fool. The mullah regime seems impervious to propaganda, given their outrageous acts, but in reality, they are sensitive to it. Axios has some new material about Iran's effort to propagandize the mullah regime in the West. Historian Andrew Cooper has spoken of a startling Iranian propaganda machine that attacked him on Amazon to depress sales of his book that favorably depicted the Shah of Iran. The mullahs care very much about propaganda as most westerners view their oppressive regime like a bad smell.

Something happened for ABC to get that report out, showing how supposedly sharp they are that they can get into Tehran and file reports. Someone needs to ask them about just why the mullahs thought it served their interests to let them in. Is what they did actually journalism?