Members of the media were eager in the past week to erroneously say Iran's people were "unified" in the wake of President Donald Trump's killing of terrorist general Qassem Soleimani.
NBC News Tehran bureau chief Ali Arouzi said Trump's drone strike had "backfired spectacularly" and that Iran was "unified" and even "extremely unified."
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CNN anchor Alisyn Camerota, who reported on anti-regime protests Monday on New Day, said last week that Soleimani's death "seems to have united" the Iranian people in favor of the regime. MSNBC's Katy Tur led a broadcast last week by saying that "it seems President Trump did what the Iranian government has been unable to do: unite the country."
"Iran is, instead of protesting against the regime, unified against America instead," said MSNBC anchor Andrea Mitchell.
Analysts repeated the "unified" line throughout the week. Frank Figliuzzi, a frequent guest on the MSNBC program Deadline: White House, declared "we have lost the hearts and minds of the Iranian people."
Even before anti-regime protests erupted—prompted by Iran's admission that it had downed a civilian airliner while attacking U.S. troops in Iraq—observers warned against parroting Iranian propaganda about a nation united following Soleimani's death.
American reporters nonetheless enthusiastically reported on the funeral service for Soleimani, commenting on the Ayatollah's tears, the large crowd, and, in ABC reporter Martha Raddatz's words, the "powerful combination of grief and anger." Members of the American media likened the impact of the death of Soleimani, labeled a "national hero" in Iran, to that of Martin Luther King Jr., Elvis Presley, Princess Diana, and Charles de Gaulle.
NBC News reported Monday on crowds of people outside Beheshti University in Tehran who refused to trample over U.S. and Israeli flags painted on the ground out of respect.
Soleimani led the elite Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, arming and training terrorist proxy groups across the Middle East that killed thousands, including hundreds of Americans.