President Trump’s Treatment of the Media Is Nothing Like Iran’s

January 13, 2020 Updated: January 13, 2020
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Commentary

A New York Times reporter recently accused President Donald Trump of having a double standard when it comes to the press.

This ridiculous accusation came in response to the president’s recent tweet where he called on the Iranian regime to allow freedom of the press, stating:

“To the leaders of Iran – DO NOT KILL YOUR PROTESTERS. Thousands have already been killed or imprisoned by you, and the World is watching. More importantly, the USA is watching. Turn your internet back on and let reporters roam free! Stop the killing of your great Iranian people!”

In response to the president’s tweet, the reporter, Maggie Haberman, tweeted, “‘Let reporters roam free’ says the president, who routinely refers to the US press as ‘enemy of the people,’ to Iranian leaders.”

Not only is this analogy illogical and distasteful, it’s also incorrect. Had Haberman made such comments about the Iranian regime as a journalist in Iran, the repercussions could have been significant. The fact that she was able to make these comments freely, and without consequence, is further evidence that her analogy is fatally flawed.

While much of the mainstream media in the United States has been “anti-Trump,” the president’s treatment of the media pales in comparison to the way that some journalists are treated in Iran.

For example, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), at least four journalists have been killed in Iran since 1997 and at least 11 journalists were imprisoned in 2019.

As reported by the CPJ, Iran recently sentenced journalist Marzieh Amiri to 10.5 years in prison and 148 lashes:

“‘With this heavy sentence, Iranian authorities are escalating their threats against journalists who report on economic issues amid the country’s ongoing crisis,’ said CPJ Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator Sherif Mansour. ‘Marzieh Amiri’s reporting on the economic hardships of Iranian citizens is not a criminal act nor does it warrant this vindictive and violent response. She should be released immediately.’

“The CPJ could not determine the date of the sentence, the details of which were made public on August 24 in news reports and in tweets by Samira Amiri, the journalist’s sister. Judge Mohammad Moghiseh charged Amiri with ‘assembly and collusion against national security,’ ‘propaganda against the state,’ and ‘disturbing public order,’ according to those reports.”

On another occasion, the Tehran Court of Appeals sentenced journalist Hossein Ghadyani to six months in prison on a charge of “insulting government officials” in an Instagram post. Originally given a suspended sentence, Ghadyani’s suspension was revoked by the appeals court because the reporter did not apologize for his “criminal behavior” and “did not take any effort to reduce the effect of his crime,” according to the CPJ.

The president has referred to some in the media as the “enemy of the people” and “fake news.” While people are free to agree or disagree with the president’s position, he’s free to make this statement and to exercise his freedom of expression, as are the journalists who cover him. This is the essence of a democratic society, which all Americans enjoy (and which the far-left is now threatening to do away with).

However, the notion that the president’s treatment of the media is analogous to the treatment of journalists in Iran is outlandish. The president’s comments about the media are sometimes “mean,” or “hurtful.” On many occasions, they’re also true or justified.

Regardless, no matter how big of a “meanie” the president is to some journalists or networks in the mainstream media, none of them have been sentenced to death, imprisonment, lashing, or exile for their comments, no matter how ridiculous or distasteful they appear to be.

While the president likely did not agree with, or appreciate, Haberman’s message, he did not (nor could he) punish her for speaking negatively about him. This is a major distinction between Trump’s treatment of the media and Iran’s.

There’s absolutely no comparison. As evidenced by Haberman’s tweet, in the United States, journalists are generally free to make even the most ridiculous and nonsensical comments without fear of exile, imprisonment, or death.

This is not the case in Iran. Just ask Marzieh Amiri and Hossein Ghadyani, who would undoubtedly tolerate a few “mean” comments in return for their immediate release and freedom.

Elad Hakim is a writer, commentator, and attorney. His articles have been published in The Washington Examiner, The Daily Caller, The Federalist, The Algemeiner, The Western Journal, American Thinker, and other online publications.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.