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New Media Covers Iranian Riots in Real Time; U.S. Cable Channels, Not So Much


For the past couple of days, The Confluence has been using Twitter to live-blog the riots in Iran following an election that was most likely rigged (see here, here and here). Several newspapers have taken note of the rise of new media real-time coverage of the Iranian situation and the criticism of cable news outlets by Americans seeking information about events on the ground in Iran.

From The New York Times:

Cable news normally serves as the front line for breaking news, but the channels largely took the weekend off as Tehran exploded in protests after Iran’s presidential election.

The performance of the American cable news, especially CNN, spawned an online protest by thousands on Saturday and Sunday, showing that viewers can try to pressure news organizations about their coverage in real time via the Internet. Fox News Channel and MSNBC also were said to have covered the protests in limited ways.

For the record, MSNBC ran their usual reruns of true crime programs on Saturday.

The Times points out that CNN usually does cover major events wall-to-wall, so the lack of coverage on CNN did seem strange.

CNN had reports from Tehran throughout Saturday, including some from Christiane Amanpour, its chief international correspondent. But it did not provide the kind of wall-to-wall coverage that some had expected.

It was a departure for CNN, known for its breaking news coverage, including its celebrated reporting during the Tiananmen Square crackdown 20 years ago. But the Tehran protests were not covered with rolling live coverage for hours at a time.

The BBC posted a lengthy article yesterday in which they called attention to roles of Twitter, Facebook, and blogs in making information about the Iran post-election protests available to those who wanted it.

All over the world people are monitoring unfolding events in Iran via the internet, where an apparently decisive election victory by the incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is being challenged on the streets.

Although there are signs the Iranian government is trying to cut some communications with the outside world, citizen journalism appears to be thriving on the web.

The Christian Science Monitor also has a piece on the fact that Twitter has provided an outlet for Iranians trying to get the news out when mainstream media outlets have been hampered by interference from the Iranian Government.

As a result of the Iranian government’s attempts at censorship, much of the best first-hand information out of Iran is coming via the blogosphere. Several bloggers, like Andrew Sullivan of The Atlantic and Nico Pitney of The Huffington Post , have been live-blogging the events of the election.

One blogger of particular note is electronicmaji of Daily Kos, who has compiled photos and news reports on the protests (warning: some of the content is of graphic nature) and notes the parallels between the current protests and those during the Islamic Revolution in 1979. Electronicmaji also cites reports indicating that the actual election results give Mr. Mousavi between 19 and 22 million votes, compared to between 5 and 10 million votes for Ahmadinejad.

The Internet messaging service Twitter also has proven a key source of information about the Iran protests: Marshall Kirkpatrick of ReadWriteWeb cites a comment he’s seen, “Tiananmen + Twitter = Tehran,” highlighting both the similarity between events twenty years ago in China’s Tiananmen Square and in Tehran today and the difference that the Internet has made in how the Tehran events have unfolded.

Andrew Sullivan cites several Tweets by students and other protesters as they have come under attack by Iranian police and other security forces. German student Simon Columbus, who writes a blog called i like patterns, has compiled a list of English-language Twitter users in Iran, many of whom seem to be students or protesters.

And the Wall Street Journal reported on the “CNNfail” campaign that went viral at Twitter.

When thousands of Iranian citizens flooded the streets to protest the controversial results of last Friday’s presidential election, news viewers in the U.S. rushed to Twitter to protest what they saw as a lack of coverage of Iran on CNN.

Their complaints caused an explosion in the use of a new Twitter hashtag,
#CNNfail, which became one of the top ten trends on Twitter on Saturday and continued on Sunday. Snarky tweets included, “Dear CNN, Please Check Twitter for News About Iran,” “The revolution started on the weekend, people! Give them a break. ,” and “Howie Kurtz:’It was middle of the night in Iran, and even journalists have to rest sometimes.’ Oh waaaa.”

The Atlantic’s Andrew Sullivan noted in his blog that, as Internet and mobile networks in Iran were cut during the hours that coincided with supporters of candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi protesting the win of incumbent president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, accounts of violence against the protesters by Ahmadinejad’s forces prevailed on Twitter, keeping the world informed of what was happening on the ground.

But on Saturday, CNN was strangely silent on the issue according to Twitterers, with
ReadWriteWeb noting of the #CNNfail phenomenon: “It’s really strange that the network is absent from this story. CNN anchor and mega-Tweeter Rick Sanchez defensively Tweeted hours ago that he covered Iran throughout the afternoon on TV, so perhaps it’s just the CNN.com web team that’s incurring the wrath of news consumers. CNN’s official Twitter account has been silent for four hours.”

I know I tend to be a bit of a conspiracyphile, but I honestly have to wonder if the Obama administration requested that the networks not play the story up until they had a better understanding of what was happening in Iran. So shoot me. We have plenty of evidence that the media will hold of on stories when asked. Just look at how the New York times held back on the illegal spying story. The fact is, CNN mostly ignored what was happening in Iran on Saturday, and on Sunday, after all the complaints, they covered the story extensively. I don’t buy that that is simply coincidence.

I do want to point out that the traditional TV networks have reportedly (I don’t watch them) had some good coverage of the Iran situation. ABC, in particular, had excellent coverage on-line with very good photos. This is something I became aware of through Twitter, actually; because many mainstream reporters post regular updates to their Twitter accounts. For example, Jim Sciutto, ABC’s foreign correspondent posted on his Twitter page that Iranian police were confiscating their cameras. They continued filming using cell phones.

I’m very excited about what is happening with Citizen journalism these days. It really gives me some hope for the future of democracy. Even in our current environment of corporate control of media outlets and government, the people will find a way to be heard.

UPDATE: More media links on “Twittering the Revolution”:

Time Magazine

Another Time article

Mother Jones


Howard Kurtz’s on-line chat at Washington Post

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177 Responses

  1. Excellent roundup of the various news channels performances.

    I, too, hope we will continue to get factual information out in the open, from and to the people.

  2. hmmmm i wonder if acorn has an office in iran

  3. yea boston i agree its good that some word is getting out of iran … but how many are listening ?

    • CNN’s Amanpour on Mousavi Rally

      No chanting, because it has been BANNED by the Government?!?

    • Well, around the world, I’d say it’s in the millions. There have been times when Twitter has been too busy and you can’t even get on. I think CNN realized that yesterday and tried to put as good a face on it as they could. If it hadn’t been for the complaints on Twitter and the blogs, I honestly don’t think CNN would have changed their Sunday coverage that much.

  4. the BBC reported this morning that Ahmadinejad came in 3rd

    • No. BBC reported this morning that someone on Twitter said Ahmadinejad came in 3rd.

      Not the same thing.

      Read the Washington Post article titled “The Iranian People Speak” from this morning.

      It’ll help you focus on facts.

      • Actually those reports came from Voice of America and were reported on Twitter. The story came from someone with contacts inside the Iranian government. The truth is that we really still don’t know what actually happened–whether it is a coup or a purge, as Gary Sick wrote. The Iran experts I cite in my post all say there is no doubt the results were rigged.

        • Too bad no-one twittered about election fraud here in the U.S. in 2008. Seems we (not Conflucians, but the U.S. in general) are awfully good at monitoring the elections of others, but not so good at keeping our own elections clean. Maybe we should send Dean, Brazille, and Company over to Iran to fix things up.

          I woke up cynical today.

        • Did you read the Washington Post article showing Ahmadinejad with a 2 to 1 lead a week before the election?

          • Mary,

            This blog post is about the media coverage of massive social unrest in Iran. Each of the candidates in the Iranian election has serious problems in his past history, including Amadinejad. You might want to look into his biography too. For me this isn’t about cheering for any candidate in the election. It’s about listening to what Iranians have to say.

          • That’s nice, boston, but you’re NOT listening to the Iranians who supported Ahmadinejad.

            And you’re condoning gasoline pipe bombs, bus burnings, and window breaking.

            This is Mousavi’s tribe, boston.

            And the Washington Post article was posted by Dakini, not by me. You’re not dismissing me by claiming you’re standing for some lofty wunderbar; you’re dismissing Dakini.

            So get off your high horse, please.

            A week before the election, WAPO’s independent poll showed Ahmadinejad ahead by a 2 to 1 margin. That means the MAJORITY of Iranians did not want the very violent, bloody Mousavi to lead them.


          • Mary,

            I am not condoning anything from anyone, and you have no idea who I am listening to. Please do not personally insult me again or claim to be able to read my mind. I hope I’m being clear. Furthermore, I do not have a position on what should happen. This is the last time I will tell you that. I am simply observing events. Your input is welcomed as long as you can be polite. I again ask that you post links to articles to back up your points. I am not dismissing you or anyone else.

            I. do. not. care. who. wins. the. Iranian. election.

            Get it?

      • There is no need to be rude to other commenters. Please make your arguments in a civil way and post links for back up.

  5. Iran protests continue despite ban (BBC June 15th, 2009)

  6. 15 June 2009 Iranians protest against election results – TABRIZ

    Citizen Video of Protests despite the BAN.

  7. AP photographer reports militia has fired on protestors. (via CNN Twitterer Steve Brusk)

    • Trying to find a photo or a video to confirm.

      • Steve Brusk is a CNN reporter – he doesn’t usually Twitter unless he’s sure. I’m watching his feed for more info.

    • OMG! I heard that was happening last night too–shots fired into crowds.

      • Last night was because the demonstrators were throwing home-made gasoline pipe bombs at the cops.

        What would our cops have done?

        • I don’t know, Mary. It may depend on what part of the country you live in. I have personally been in violent situations in the ’60s and ’70s and have not seen the police fire randomly into crowds. Have you experienced that in the U.S.? Have you experienced martial law and violent repression in any country? If so, your insights would be helpful here.

        • Mayr, there are no nice guys here, okay? However bad Mousavi is or was, Ahmadinajad is a at least as as nasty. It looks to me as though what we may have here is a popular uprising comparable to 1979 that may result in a complete shift of power.

          IF that’s what’s going on, you bet I condone it. Unfortunately, violence is usually necessary to dislodge a dictatorship.

  8. It certainly does not bode well for Obama’s government should Americans GET IT what real protests look like, does it?

    God forbid Americans get inspired to REALLY protest our own government’s failure to:

    1) Respect the will of the people

    2) Be accountable to the voters

    3) Protect our freedoms

    4) Keep the lies it promises to keep when running for office

    Stuck on Stupid for 9 years

    President(s) Bush, Obama, Ahmadinejad — throw a dart — it’s only a matter of degree.

    • Yep. And that is my theory for why the Administration did not want the media to cover the Iran protests wall-to-wall.

      • My exact theory bb

        Our own medias censoring the People of Iran fighting for Democracy? WTF?

        It only makes sense if one considers the Bush-Obama modus operandi of keeping the truth from the American People.

        We are all supposed to be blind followers of our U.S. government now, right?

        The Iranian People protesting AND circumventing CNN, MSNBC, ABC, AP at the risk of facing death?

        What a message! And, the kind of Change I can certainly believe in!

        • i agree with you both . this would not be good news for the O-admin to see protesting on this scale.

        • For some reason, my computer is not loading any of these videos. Can folks post links, too?

  9. BBC reporter Lyne said “this is not thousands or 10s of thousands, we are looking at 1 to 2 million people”

  10. BBC Persia is doing a pretty good job covering, but it’s all in Farsi. A lot of Iranian twitterers are coming on telling everyone what BBC Persia is saying.

  11. FWIW, persiankiwi, who has been twittering from the beginning from Tehran U, says this:

    people are running in streets outside. There is panic in streets.people going ino houses to hide. #Iranelection
    2 minutes ago from web

    confirmed – there is shooting in Azadi sq. protesters wounded and shot, no numbers yet, still hearing gunfire. #Iranelection
    5 minutes ago from web

    We have heard what sounds like gunshots in distance. still have people on streets we have not heard from. #iranelection

  12. habibsaher
    murder at Azadi square, they are shooting at people, 3 dead, please help! #IranElection

    via Iran TwassUp

  13. CNN international supposedly just said on air that at least 1 dead.

  14. I’m going to update the post with media links as I see them.

  15. I don’t know if anyone posted this one BBC persia:

    Looks like millions:

  16. Reuters: Witness says “many” people have been wounded after the shootings in Tehran.

  17. FWIW, a twitterer is saying that the protestors attacked the shooter:

    @mohamadrezaIcon_lock Confirmed, a basiji shoot 4 ppl at azadi sq, then ppl hit him till death! #iranelection

    • Yes. Burning pipe bombs thrown at the cops.

      • And that was BEFORE the shooting.

        • Mary,

          You need ot start posting links to your back-up information. And particularly we would love it if you would post your source for the Iranian voter demographic data.

          Please post links from now on.

  18. Cannonfire posted a fascinating take on Mousavi and the Iran election:


    I do not know enough about Iranian history to opine. I do know that the layers and turns of political machinations are complicated and often are not what they seem at first glance.

    Thousands of Iranians are angry about a flawed election.

    How in the world could they have counted millions of votes in 3-4 hours after the polls closed?

    • It seems clear that Mousavi has a brutal history. On the other hand, if he were installed, he would have to respond to the people who supported him.

      • The people who supported him were the young, wealthy college students who don’t remember that he slaughtered 30,000 “dissidents” on behalf of the regime when he was in office.

        The older Iranians DO remember. They voted for Ahmadinejad.

        • How do you know the voter demographic details?

        • How do you know this? Are you saying that the elderly people who are posting on Twitter about events are lying about their identities? When they discuss the previous revolution what is their motive then?

        • Are you aware of Amadinejad’s brutal history in the Republican Guard? Perhaps you need to get a litte more information, since you are the one taking sides? I don’t claim to be able to read the minds of Iranians myself.

          • To be fair, lots of people here are taking sides. Most people here seem convinced that Ahmedinejad stole the election and that his attempted coup is being challenged by the will of the people, as represented by the tweating community. As you say, no one here has good demographic beakdowns, but I do think we should give a little more consideration to voices like this one (from the comments section of Juan Cole’s blog, in resp0nse to Cole’s point-by-point evidence for voter fraud:

            As an Iranian student living in Tehran, I’m still not convinced that ‘election fraud’ is so evident. Let me elaborate:

            1. At least to me it seems that Ahmadinejad is quite popular in rural areas and small cities. Consider that tehran constitutes 12% of the voters, large cities 21%, small cities 34% and rural areas 33%. So Tehran and large cities constitute less than one-third of the eligible voters.

            2. It’s often said that Iranian polls are not reliable. I passed by a poll done by an American institute named “Terror Free Tomorrow” which is affiliated to “New America Foundation” and was done before the elections. While many of the respondents were undecided, the decideds support Ahmadinejad by a large margin.

            The other surprising result of this poll is that most Azeris would vote for Ahmadinejad, despite Mousavi being an Azeri himself. Again, this is consistent with the official results.

            2. I’m not sure that the constant relation argument holds. The ratios were 69% to 28% at first, and they ended at 63% to 33%. Considering that the numbers were being announced in aggregate (i.e. added to previous counts), the course of the numbers seem reasonable to me.

            Also I have seen arguments against this ’statistical evidence of fraud’, e.g. here. It shows that this was the case in the US election too!

            3. The invalid ballots were not included in the numbers at the beginning, but they were announced later. These kinds of errors happen everyday in Iran. I understand the sensitivity of the issue, but I don’t see any ‘hard evidence’ of fraud here; it could be that at first they didn’t announce it since they didn’t consider it as important as candidates’ votes. If you live in Iran, you don’t expect that everything goes perfect. But that doesn’t necessarily mean fraud. It could be, but it’s not a ‘convincing’ evidence.

            4. I don’t know exactly about the election and the voting process. But I think the speedy count is not an issue in itself: in average, each voting box hosts less than 1,000 votes. Ofcourse there are many boxes with more than that, but there are many more with less than that. They can be counted in less than two hours easily.

            5. It’s true that some candidates had the most votes in their native provinces in 2005 elections. But (other than the poll I mentioned above) I think you should compare this election with 2001 or 1993 elections, when the incumbent president had a ‘natural’ advantage over the others. The poor, uneducated average Iranian has a tendency to vote for the candidate whom he/she knows more, and the incumbent president has been in the TV and mass media for more than 4 years, which a mere 20 days of campaigning won’t change that much. So you should compare this with Tavakkoli’s (and the other losing candidates) votes in 2001 in his hometown: Was he more popular in his hometown than Khatami?
            5. It would be revealing to compare the results with the results of previous elections, and weigh the arguments for and against the fraud. Didn’t such ‘irregularities’ (e.g. the hometown argument, the constant ratio of votes argument, the complaints of closing voting staions or absense of candidates’ representatives in the voting process) happen in the previous elections?

            6. I think the massive rallies of Mousavi’s supporters contributed to the illusion that they are the majority. 50,000 people gathering in the streets could make Tehran look like a Mousavi supporting stronghold while that is just 1% of Tehrani eligible voters! They attracted media attention so much and successfully made the atmosphere pro-Mousavi. Ahmadinejad’s campaign gatherings (such as the 600,000 gathered at Mosalla in Monday) were often overlooked.
            Let me elaborate on my personal experience. I neither supported Ahmadinejad nor Mousavi, and in my close friends (who were all students) there were 3 Ahmadinejad supporters and 2 Mousavi supporters. But the atmosphere in the university was so pro-Mousavi that the Ahmadinejad supporters were ridiculed and laughed at as soon as they tried to defend him. As a result, they were more silent and shy than the loud Mousavi supporters and didn’t express themselves much, while they weren’t necessarily the minority, even in an engineering university in Tehran.

            7. Mousavi and Karroubi have protested against the results and demanded the cancellation of the elections results. Since they had representatives at the polling stations and the election committee, they might be right. But as the Persian news site Alef, puts it, it could be because of the atmosphere the candidates and their campaigners were in. It states that the same thing happened to Tavakkoli’s campaigners in the 2001 election. It has been called ‘illusion of victory before vote syndrome’.

            8. Before the elections, some analysts (here and here) speculated that we’re witnessing a class conflict in Iran, between the lower-middle-class and the upper-middle-class who have completely different desires and needs. What we’re seeing could be a sign of that conflict.

            9. Don’t forget Ahmadinejad’s PR tactics, especially his fierce verbal attacks against Hashemi Rafsanjani, which made him quite popular in the lower-middle-class and even some upper-class people who dislike Hashemi heavily. He did well in the TV debates and successfully painted himself a ‘lonely candidate who only relied on people and God and was facing unfair attacks orchestrated by Hashemi and his wealthy cronies’. If you’re familiar with Iranian people, you know that how this appeals to them.

            Again, I don’t know if the elections were fair or not. I’m just saying that there’s no convincing evidence that suggests such a mass manipulation of votes.
            The Islamic Republic is terrified by the protests and the prospect of a so-called ‘velvet revolution’, and hastily tried to crack down on them. I think this was a non-constructive move, but it could happen even if the elections were fair. So this is not an evidence of fraud either.

            Sorry for my lengthy comment, as I don’t have a weblog to post all these!

            The problem with following Twitter to get a sense of what is going on in Iran (as addictive and exciting and real-time as it is) is that only the wealthy (and typically wealthy, cosmopolitan college students) in Iran have access to this technology, and in an election as divided along class lines as the Iranian one, the coverage provided by Twitter as bound to one-sded on behalf of Mousavi’s faction.

            That’s why I wish we would all be a little more circumspect in our pronouncements–especially since delegitimizing the results of the election in the absence of solid evidence plays right into the hands of the neo-cons and warmongers who have had Iran in their crosshairs for quite a while.

          • We’re not taking sides so much as saying the way this has been handled seems a little suspicious and we’re concerned about the use of force. We’re open to more information, which is why we’re asking the MSM to step up.

      • I don’t know about that, bb. B0 is not being responsive to the people who supported him, or at least, not to his expressed constituencies.

        • Well, I said what I did based on Joseph Cannon’s article. The previous President that Cannon wrote about was forced to be somewhat responsive to followers. That is the only reason I said that. Besides, we haven’t risen up in the way the Iranians have. Obama isn’t afraid of us, because we just sit here and take it.

          • “Obama isn’t afraid of us, because we just sit here and take it.”

            Yes, there is that.

            I am really sickened by his and his admin’s support of DOMA and DADT. Though I cannot say I am what bit surprised. I just made a donation to the National Ctr. for Lebian Rights after going to their big dinner in San Francisco. But I only made it after hearing enough to convince me that they are not giving B0 a free pass and will hold his feet to the fire. As for my lesbian friends–sadly, still infatuated mostly.

            Sorry for the OT meandering. I just got thinking about not taking it anymore, and how to fight back.

      • How’s that working out for the Obama supporters?

        At this point I’m hesitant to draw any conclusions on the Iranian election. Not without more information.

  19. @octavianasrCNN this is what this protest election was all about please watch http://bit.ly/u7TZJ
    about 1 hour ago from web in reply to octavianasrCNN

  20. we estimate marchers today were 1 million ++. #Iranelection
    3 minutes ago from web

  21. I like this young woman’s attitude!

    @2hamed: Ahmadinejad called us Dust, we showed him a sandstorm

  22. @lotfan: Unconfirmed messages: Basij Militia and Riot police have invaded Tehran University Dorm Complex again #iranelection

    Some of the students were twittering last night, and posting pics and video of taser burns, kicked-in doors, bruises and blood, etc.

  23. The students at Tehran University were demonstrating by burning cars and breaking windows there.

    • Really? Some were, I suppose, and some of that was done by the POLICE – I saw cell video of uniformed policemen walking around smashing car windows, etc.

      The students were twittering that they were trying to do it and blame it on the students.

      Most of the students demonstrated quite peaceably, from all the video footage I saw.

      • Have you seen the pictures on MSNBC of the students throwing pipe bombs at the cops and attacking them using billy clubs and baseball bats?

        Maybe you should.

        • Mary,

          What is your point? Why not just come out with it? No one here is taking a position on what should happen in the election, as far as I know. I am the author of the post, and I’m certainly not taking a position. I’m simply following the events and reading what I can from people who understand the situation, such as Gary Sick and Juan Cole.

          BTW, I was in the Harvard Square riots during the Vietnam War. There were protesters who burned police cars at that time and windows in businesses up and down Mass Ave. from Central Sq. to Harvard Sq. were smashed. There was looting. Things get out of hand in riots. Does that mean that those of us who peacefully protested the war should have been punished with more war?

          • You go BB. I agree.

          • the point is mary doesn’t seem to be on the side of the uprising. she also is very sympathetic to the palestine cause at least at no quarter. i apologize for inserting info regarding something different here. i just pointing out Mary has views about which is she is quite passionate. maybe if she states her views openly that might help.

      • I thought most of them were trapped in the dorms actually. Change for Iran tweeted last night that one of his friends went outside and everyone was afraid for him. He also tweeted that he couldn’t get out of his room.

  24. This is rather confusing, particularly for someone like me – who remembers all too well that college kids (devoid of the knowledge of history, or the experience to tell their arrrssse from their elbow) were in part responsible for O’s early primary and caucus victories.

    Does anyone know what the truth is? I don’t doubt that there are protests but are the the Bush team sponsored protests of Florida 2000, whipped up on a massive scale via e-means and propaganda?

    I have no particular love for Ahmadinawhatever, but I don’t know…I’m not Iranian, I don’t know the dynamics, I didn’t follow the election…I was also under the impression that it matters not who their President is, because it is the religious leader that truely rules.

    So right now – color me totally confused.

    • If you read the three links to articles by Iran experts that I linked in the post, you will see that they believe the election was rigged. However, none of them know for sure what is happening.

      One possibility is there has been a coup by Amadinejad and his supporters in the Republican Guard. If that happened, the Ayatollas could be pushed into the background.

      A second possibility is that the regime could just want to use the riots in order to have excuses to purge dissenters.

      I think that is why Obama and Clinton haven’t said anything yet. They are waiting until they can find out what is really going on.

    • It would be very difficult for the CIA to whip up riots on the scale we are seeing the past few days.

    • If you read the Washington Post article posted in Dakinikat’s thread, you’ll see that their own independent poll showed Ahmadinejad ahead by a 2 to 1 margin a week before the election.

      And of course, we all have to be careful about the motivations of “Iran experts” when they’re sending interpretations of what happened.

      And of course, as an American, you must know that our Special Forces have been inside Iran for over 2 years, passing out loads of money to dissenters and fomenting trouble.

      One can clearly see how the older Iranians would deeply resent that, and suspect Moussavi et al as a “new American puppet.”

      And dissenters throwing pipe bombs at cops and burning cars and buses and breaking windows (clearly Moussavi’s crowd) must also make the Ahmadinejad voters see them as out of control.

      Moussavi COULD call his supporters to behave differently, to protest peacefully.

      Why do you think he hasn’t?

      • Polls are always accurate and can never be manipulated?

        I thought this was a tread that discussed the lack of coverage of Iran by the MSM and how new technology is circumventing them?

      • Mary,

        Why should I trust your viewpoint over Gary Sick’s or Juan Cole’s? You’ll need to provide some information about your background and your expertise. But I can’t even get you to provide links to articles. You are highjacking this thread and if you continue to do so, I’ll have to moderate your comments. I don’t want to do that, because I’m interested in your input. I would like you to provide more back up information.

        You also don’t seem to know that Amadinijad has a very brutal history. He isn’t a good guy while Mousavi is a bad guy. They are both bad guys.

      • He has. He’s reiterated that repeatedly. No one’s saying he’s a saint, either.

      • I’ve seen some tweets from Iran saying that he has asked his people to not be violent.

        And I’ve read things that none of these candidates are angels. I think the point, though, is whether the election was fair or not…..?

      • Actually, Mousavi has. He has called repeatedly that the protests be peaceful.

        *shrug* The guy may be a creep. Very few even get to the point of being able to run for office in Iran unless they are. But the vote counting stunk to high heaven, and millions are justifiably outraged.

      • Why in the world would she be aware of what the Special Forces are doing? They operate covertly. Anyone who says they have been there 2 years and throwing around lots of money is spreading conjecture. The truth is that if there was actual proof of people doing such things our government would deny it. The activities of special forces are often not “government sanctioned” and thusly these folks don’t even have military ids that identify them as such.

  25. ABC’s Steve Sciutto is tweeting that he would like to talk to any witnesses by phone.

  26. Pics here, alot from the university yesterday, some graphic.

    Thanks TC for providing excellent blogging and commentary about this.


    Have a great day all.

  27. Why hasn’t the State Dept. made any sort of statement on the Iran situation?
    Where is Hillary?

    • I don’t know, of course, but my guess is they are trying to find out what is really happening in the Iranian government before taking a position. I wish Obama would at least make a statement about the violence. Despite what Mary thinks, the government always has a firepower advantage over the people.

      • Exactly. The people sending the tanks always say they’re not the aggressors and it’s some guy with a rock who’s really causing the violence. If they want people to believe that, they better have evidence to back it up.

      • I agree- at minimum, there should be a statement about the violence.

        After Biden’s Sunday blubbering everyone clammed up.

    • Don’t know, but the violence is being confirmed via the networks. 😦

      Hopefully the ‘Chants’ of “We Want Freedom” by the young people, will be listened too and that the oppressive government will change.

    • I think they’re right to not say much. They can certainly say they hope any possible corruption is weeded out and that things are done fairly. But they can’t really jump into the mix and take sides. So they’re waiting and seeing what the protesters do and how far they go, and waiting to see if the religious leaders step in. The need to improve the relationship with who ever comes out on top, no matter who it is. For better or worse.

      • I agree. I think they are probabably doing the right thing.

        • I agree. Also, if the US makes very bold statements while the unrest is going on, it could delegitimize the protests by making it appear a US-fomented thing, or giving the Iranian govt a reason to call it such, anyway. It’s not – this is definitely grassroots Iranians, whether you agree with them or not.

  28. Poll loser Mousavi at Iran rally

    Huge crowds greeted defeated Iranian presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousav as he joined an opposition rally in Tehran.

  29. Very interesting read at Der Spiegel:

    Many in Iran and the West assume that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s re-election was the product of fraud. American Iran expert Flynt Leverett told SPIEGEL ONLINE that the irregularities likely weren’t as bad as in Florida in 2000. Now, the US has to make the regime an offer.

    • Interesting thing is that the networks are saying Mir Mousav appeared so as to calm the crowds.

    • That is an interesting article. I never knew that Flynt Leverett was an Iran expert. I knew he worked closely with Powell at State. I also didn’t know that American media expected Amadijad to lose. Shows what I know. I assumed all along that he would win.

      • They expected him to lose, and the meme was that B0s Cairo speech had turned the tide and would result in a new Iranian president. They were literally all lined up to give B0 credit.

  30. As others have mentioned, it seems to be the religious leaders who have the actual power. So what exactly will the winner of this election be in charge of doing? This election seems very important to the people – so the winner must have some influence….?

    • I addressed that in a previous comment. There is a definite possiblity that Amadinejad could have arranged a coup against the Ayatollas with help from the Republican Guard. We don’t know yet. Amadinejad was in the Republican Guard and probably has a lot of influence there.

      • Well, that’s scary.

        But in terms of “normal” governance, I was wondering what they do. But I just heard on the news that the person in this elected position is in charge of the economy. The religious people are in charge of everything else, including nuclear policy.

        But, yeah, if there’s a possibility of a coup, the future looks pretty scary…

  31. Obama admin…”concerned…deeply troubled..” according to Fox.. but US has “no info” on the voting irregularities..to comment further..

    Fox Newsroom Live

  32. Really interesting dialog between all you commenting today on this.

    It is impossible to figure out what is actually happening in Iran. They don’t share their truths with us even on a good day.

    As for the election being rigged. Can anyone name which was the last election anywhere in the world they remember was 100% clean?

  33. Is anyone tweeting about removing to ruling clerics?

    • What do you mean? My reference to a coup came from the article by Gary Sick linked in the first paragraph of the post.

      • Until now I have been reading a hardcopy printout of the blog rather than reading from my computer. Now that I am online will actually check the links. I will go back and click the link. My printout was missing about the last 20 minutes of posts and I see you guys started talking about the Ayatollahs.

        It just seems to me that if the theocracy collapses, all bets are off.

  34. “Barack Obama’s Cowardly Silence”

    As blood flows on the streets of Tehran, the United States government remains as silent as a Trappist Monk. It is highly embarrassing when even the German government is showing more backbone than the White House. In contrast, the Germans, who shamefully happen to be Europe’s biggest exporters to Iran, strongly denounced the crackdown on protestors, as have a number of European governments. Foreign Minister Frank Walter Steinmeier condemned the “brutal actions” against demonstrators, and summoned the Iranian Ambassador to Berlin in protest.

    Fortunately there are some U.S. politicians speaking out against the White House’s position, including former presidential candidate Mitt Romney and Senator Joe Lieberman. As Romney put it on ABC’s This Week, “what has occurred is that the election is a fraud, the results are inaccurate, and you’re seeing a brutal repression of the people as they protest.” Lieberman didn’t mince his words when he declared “through intimidation, violence, manipulation and outright fraud, the Iranian regime has once again made a mockery of democracy and confirmed its repressive and dictatorial character.”

    It’s about time the Obama administration dropped this ludicrous policy of “engagement” with Tehran, and started focusing on halting the rise of a nuclear-armed Iran, as well as building up America’s defences in the face of a highly dangerous rogue regime. That includes moving forward with a global missile defence system as well as actually increasing defence spending instead of cutting it. It would also be wise for this administration to actually stand up for human rights rather than brushing them under the carpet when Iran, North Korea or China pops up.

    Obama’s deafening silence over the Iranian election is a disgrace. According to The New York Times, the president “did not even convene any high-level White House meetings or conference calls on Sunday”. That’s not the mark of a leader but a clear display of weakness. It’s a sad day when the greatest power in the world withholds criticism of a brutal, tyrannical and illegitimate regime for fear of upsetting its rulers.



    • boomer the Romney/Lieberman love is kinda yucky-please feel free to edit , we don’t need them!

    • We can’t even assure the integrity of our own voting process, for god’s sake.

    • If it’s true that he didn’t even have any meetings, I’m stunned. Maybe he had them on Saturday? I do know he played golf all day yesterday.

  35. There are also multiple reports coming in from Tweeters that non-uniformed govt thugs are causing trouble, so as to blame the protestors:

    Rasht; Plaincloth Basijis broke windows n set fire 2 have reason to beat ppl,claiming ppl did it #IranElection
    2 minutes ago from Seesmic Desktop

    Rasht; 2day it was mostly Basijis (plainclothed) that were beating ppl on streets, not police #IranElection
    6 minutes ago from Seesmic Desktop

  36. were attacked in streets by mob on motorbikes with batons – firing guns into air – streetfires all over town – roads closed; #Iranelection
    9 minutes ago from web

  37. has the white house come out with a statement yet or any postion ?

  38. confirmed – homeowners in Rasht are giving refuge to people running from Baseej attacks. #Iranelection
    8 minutes ago from web

    3 of our group missing from afternoon – we have no news from them; #Iranelection

  39. Just talked to my Iranian friend and (*) says there really isn’t that much difference, but that the feeling is that the election was stolen, with thousands of votes stolen in certain cities. The feeling is that it is similar to the 2000 election in the US by Bush II (they apparently are aware of that), but that most of the young people are not aware of the history of the Mir Mousav, but have hopes of more Freedom.

    The Iranian community is also aware of the lack of news coming from the networks here. 😯 Some news is trickling out and most are aware of what is going on, despite the lack of reporting over the weekend.

  40. These are some really great photos from today. I love the first young woman:


    • There’s a great one of several women running to help a man down in the street who’s being beaten by the security thugs. Brava!

    • There’s also an interesting one, where protesters are trying to help an injured policeman off to get help.

      I don’t know why, in the midst of all those photos of violence, but for some reason it occurred to me that not many Iranians seem to need glasses. Of course, most of them are younger, but even still, it seemed odd. Weird the things you notice…

  41. IMHO – His Royal Preciousness makes up his own reality and so far the public has been more than happy to eat it up.

    If Ahmadinejad falls Obama will say, “That is a win for us and by the way I caused it.”

    If Ahmadinejad survives, Obama will say, my Supergroovilistic Best Speech Evah really shook them up. “That is a win for us, and by the way I caused it.”

    Of course there are bigger issues at play here than Obama but I think he is waiting to see what happens so he can declare victory for himself and I will be very surprised if he doesn’t get away with it.

    • Your statements are pretty much in line with what the Morning Joe said today. Obama may have inspired with his speech in Egypt. Turned station after listening to this interpretation.

  42. Q?

    What are they doing with the proxies?

    • Their internet connections keep shutting down (presumably by the govt), so others are giving them new free server addresses to log on to.

      Basically, most of those twittering and blogging now from inside Iran are jumping from server to server, because they are getting shut down quickly after a few posts.

  43. Tehran Fired Up

  44. Live from Tehran, it’s the Twitter revolution.

    In the crackdown following the disputed Iranian presidential election results this weekend, the authorities shut down text messaging, blocked Facebook and YouTube and cut off the BBC Persian-language service — but they forgot about Twitter.

    Are any of you having trouble accessing youtube?

  45. Video up of the shooting. Doesn’t look to me like the protestors exactly provoked it. The militia was on the roof, perfectly safe, and some protesters threw rocks. They shot down into the crowd.

    I don’t agree with the rock throwing, but the response was ridiculous. Probably whoever they hit weren’t even the ones who threw the damn rocks.


  46. Ericaleigh,

    Election fraud here in 2008? Just because your candidate lost doesn’t mean there was fraud in 2008. You watch Fox too much if you really think it is true. Obama won by a landslide.

    Now 2000 is another story.

    Do some research.


    • You must have slept thru the primaries last year.

      Go do some research and come back with an apology.

    • Ahhh, I love the smell of utter ignorance in the evening…

    • Is winning by caucus fraud and disenfranchising millions of voters in Michigan and Flordia your definition of a “landslide”?

    • Need some remedial math? Even talking about the general election, when is about 2% a “landslide”?

    • I worked the Texas primaries. I SAW FRAUD. I ATTESTED to fraud. Nothing was done about any of it just as nothing was done about the 2000 election fraud. The parties don’t care as long as they get through who they want.

      I witnessed actual, multiple accounts of fraud at two Texas Caucuses.

  47. Persian Kiwi:

    more than 100 students missing from Tehran Uni dorms – reports of several dead from last night #Iranelection
    7 minutes ago from web

  48. Revolution Square, Tehran: A Sea of Green

    • “Monday’s event was packed with women..”

      Hurray! Go Women Go!

      • Yep. I grinned when I heard that. I agree with the reporter, that it really isn’t just about Mousavi at this point.

        • It sure would be good to let these women have some freedom, and fair elections too. The young people don’t seem at all bothered with the women protesting, and it is clearly a generational thing at this point.

          Go Women Go!

  49. Iran: Hundreds of thousands defy rally ban

  50. Protesters have hit critical mass according to the reporter in the last video. And Twitter is going to do ‘maintenance’?!?

    BB, what do you think? Hemmm….

    • WTF? Twitter down for maintenance? How often does that usually happen?

      • If we believe that we should all buy some lottery tickets. They are also keeping track of ‘others’…oh, there goes my Iranian vacation.

    • I saw that. It will be for 90 minutes. I’ve barely even had a chance to get on Twitter today. I’d better get busy and feed my addiction before it’s too late.

  51. elocio RT @Ramin89: STOP TWITTER MAINTANCE (9:45 pm Pacific) ! #iranelection need Twitter! #NoMaintenance

    OMG! Twitter blackout??????

  52. ALL: When Reporting from Iran sources, please set up a system of ID’s such as IS1 (Iran Source-1) and relay information rather than quotes.
    When Twitter Fail go to:
    for further news.

  53. #IranElection IS (Iran Source) Reports Iranian Intelligence monitoring this hashtag and searching IP addresses of those reporting.

    Gee Golly it’s getting to be weird around twitter world and word press wanted my password?!? I refreshed…

    • WordPress asks for my password every once in awhile. I don’t know why that happens.

      • Maybe I am getting too cautious since they said they had the Iranian CIA…I didn’t even know there was such a thing. 😯 No more Iranian stop overs for us here…

  54. Howard Kurtz has decided the Twitter revolution is the real thing.


  55. Who was really cheated in Iran’s vote? Women.


    Iran’s feminists found a voice in the popular opposition candidate, Mir Hossein Mousavi, a former prime minister. He promised to disband the morality police, reform the many laws that treat women unequally, and appoint women to high posts. He campaigned with his wife, Zahra Rahnavard, a prominent academic and author of 15 books. The two appear to be a loving couple, displaying a modern equality to Iranian women. But he “lost” the vote – even in his hometown, which was yet another sign that the fix was in.

    • The women in Iran have been working very hard for their RIGHTS and Freedom and I hope they get it. I saw a woman on youtube via a Human Rights org and she was so sad in the interview and sadder even for her own daughter.

      Go Women Go! My hat’s off to them for putting it on the line and going after their Rights and a chance at Freedom. Go Women Go!

      • Yeah!

        • Too many parallels! The obsession with youth vote, the fear of women, women treated the worst:

          Who was really cheated in Iran’s vote? Women.

          The West shouldn’t cozy up to a regime that rigs elections against feminist candidates.

          What is striking about the Iranians protesting fraud in the June 10 “election” is the number of women on the front lines. Among all those cheated at the polls, they may feel the most denied.

          For the first time in one of the Islamic Republic’s controlled presidential campaigns, the women’s movement was able to raise its demands clearly and independently – even though the unelected, 12-member, all-male Guardian Council did not allow any female candidates to run.

          The movement’s courage to confront the patriarchal theocracy (in which “morality police” still roam the streets looking for women with make-up) may have been a big reason why the regime rigged the vote count – and why supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was forced to make a show of ordering a probe of the fraud.

          • “”morality police’ still roam the streets”

            With all the blather in Cairo about the hajib as if he were in France…

          • Obama is not saying anything because he knows he’s continuing the cluster***k American Mideast foreign policy that started all the problems in Iran. The former USSR, Britain and US wanted oil from the Mideast to run steamships, the CIA toppled Mossadegh in 1953, installed the Shah and this incited Islamic extremism lead by Khomeini.

  56. Ahmadinejad is a result of this cluster***k, the people obviously rise up.

    Honestly, I don’t think Obama knows which side he’s on.

  57. moderator: please check last comment on Morning Coffee thread.

  58. […] however, is that even with all the stuff consuming the news and the PUMAsphere, such as, the Twitter Revolution, the Obama/DOMA/DADT brouhaha, his firing of Inspector General Gerald Walpin, and the Letterman not […]

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