Charles Stouff

Charles Stouff

My thumb on the remote control momentarily paused as Iranian state television suddenly appeared on the screen. Somber-faced news anchors broadcast the assassination of the ruthless Iranian general, Qassem Soleimani. They described him as “smart,” “charismatic” and “bold.” They then cut to video of massive protests in Iran as people crowded into the streets of Tehran. The newscasters warned of retaliation and revenge against America, and spoke of the anger directed at U.S. President Donald J. Trump.

“Wait a minute,” I thought to myself, “My cable company doesn't carry Iranian state TV.” This was NBC “Nightly News.” I flicked through the other networks including cable news channels CNN and MSNBC. It was just more of the same.

Earlier that day

Soleimani, leader of the Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps was met with fire from above as an American MQ-9 Reaper drone scorched the earth below his feet as he attempted to leave Baghdad International Airport. It was early Friday morning, Jan. 3.

Why?

In late December, a militia group associated with Iran fired rockets into an Iraqi military base in Kirkuk. Trump accused Soleimani of directing this attack, which wounded four U.S. service members and killed one American contractor. In response to the attack, U.S. airstrikes in Iraq and Syria killed 25 Iran-backed militia members.

In retaliation, pro-Iranian militia stormed the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. Trump blamed Soleimani for orchestrating the violent assault on our embassy.

As the leaders of Iran beat their chests and threatened retaliation for the loss of their most cherished military leader, the left-wing talking heads that sit around tables on U.S. cable and network news vigorously attempted to instill fear into the hearts of the American people. In what seemed to be almost a unanimous perception, World War III was deemed imminent because of the president’s knee-jerk reaction, miscalculations and impulsivity.

On Jan. 7, Iranian forces fired more than a dozen ballistic missiles, attacking mostly the sand around two military bases in Iraq. No injuries or casualties were reported.

Scanning the news channels on television the next morning, there was what appeared to be a consensus of gratitude to the Iranian regime for using such “restraint.”

I wanted to ask, “Are you people serious? You do realize that we have military bases strategically placed all around Iraq, right? We could literally disintegrate all of Iran’s military targets within minutes.”

Iran’s restraint? This is a country that has been poking the bear for decades.

In the past year alone, Iran seized several foreign ships in the Persian Gulf, fired an unprovoked airstrike into Saudi Arabia, and shot down two U.S. drones. In the last months of 2019, the Iranian regime brutally murdered more than 1,500 Iranian citizens in the streets for daring to peacefully protest the regime.

Hostile coverage

In 2018, the conservative Media Research Center found that coverage of Trump by the major network news channels was 92% negative. This was the most hostile coverage of an American president in television news history.

Even with one of the most robust economies in American history, the network news could only bring themselves to dedicate a measly 8% to positive coverage. I can’t imagine that these numbers have improved at all in 2019 or will improve going forward in 2020.

It honestly seems as though the networks are reacting instead of reporting. That they wait to see what side of an issue the president takes and then create a narrative that immediately embraces the other side.

Last October, U.S. special forces successfully killed Islamic State group leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in a daring raid. The American networks and left-leaning pundits seemed to be much more concerned with the harsh, descriptive language the president used to describe the successful mission rather than the result of the mission itself. It’s also quite telling that the network news and Democratic leadership always seem to be on the exact same page with their negative Trump narratives.

Most of the American public gets it: The Democrats and their mouthpieces in the American national media will almost always fall on the opposite side of this president. They seem more intent on trashing Trump than acknowledging his efforts to remove evil forces from the battlefield. The left and its media will continue to see everything through this partisan political lens that appears to most Americans to be blind hatred.

The thing that they don’t seem to comprehend is that, quite often, the enemy of your enemy is still your enemy.

Charles Stouff owns A+PC, a computer repair company in Manor Township. He’s also a former freelance cartoonist.