American journalists continue to behave erratically as they mourn the loss of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani. The U.S. media establishment and the Democratic Party are currently going out of their way to blame President Donald Trump for the "plane crash" that killed 176 passengers aboard a Ukrainian International Airlines flight leaving Tehran.
On Thursday, after reports indicated that U.S. officials believed the Ukrainian plane was shot down by an Iranian surface-to-air missile—perhaps due to incompetence rather than malice—a number of journalists seized on the news to suggest Trump was personally responsible for the tragic loss of life.
NBC News correspondent Heidi Przybyla, in a series of since-deleted tweets, said the deaths were the result of "the crossfire" between Iran and the United States, a term that (falsely) suggests the U.S. military was actively firing at targets inside Iran. CNN analyst Susan Hennessey similarly mourned the loss of those "killed in the crossfire of reckless escalation."
The Associated Press originally published a story late Thursday about the incident with the headline, "An Iranian general dies in U.S. attack, innocents suffer." Although the headline has since been changed, the story goes out of its way to implicate Trump in the deaths of the victims, including at least 63 Canadian citizens.
The AP story noted that the Ukrainian jet lost contact with flight trackers 27 seconds before Trump tweeted, "All is well!" in reference to tensions with Iran. Additionally, the AP appeared to treat the general's death as an isolated incident, while omitting the long history of Iranian-backed attacks on U.S. military and diplomatic personnel in the region, which prompted Trump to take action.
'This is insane. Sickening. Imagine having a family member on that plane." What began with a drone attack on a top Iranian general rippled outward until dozens of Iranian-Canadians, and dozens of Iranian students studying in Canada, were dead. https://t.co/fVQB4S3FXr
— The Associated Press (@AP) January 10, 2020
The AP interviewed a number of Canadians who viewed Trump as being personally responsible for the Iranian missile whoopsie. But the news outlet also published comments from Payman Parseyan, a prominent Iranian-Canadian who, unlike many in the U.S. media, has not completely lost his mind:
"It takes two to tango," [Parseyan] said. "It's not hard to see the downing as a result of the escalation between the two countries. However, Iran is responsible for its own military defense equipment. While it has the right to defend itself, as it should to protect its own people, it should also have the responsibility with that right to make sure their defensive systems aren't targeting civilian aircraft."
Meanwhile, some media outlets have been reluctant to describe the incident as anything other than a "plane crash."
Young newlyweds, college students, and entire families are being remembered after dying in the Iran plane crash https://t.co/CTrd4xnVCX
— BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) January 10, 2020
As they are wont to do, members of the media have responded to criticism of their coverage in hysterical fashion.