I’m glad to see reporting coming out of Iran (here and here, both by Nicholas Kristoff) that is based on a journalist’s first-hand encounters with ordinary Iranians. It’s not just that it’s important for readers in the United States to discover that–gasp!–Iranians are indeed ordinary people, essentially no different than we are; it’s also that this kind of coverage seems to me a fundamental sign of respect. I recognize that the Iranian government itself makes it nearly impossible for Western, and perhaps particularly American, journalists to gather the information that makes these kinds of columns possible, and so it is not journalists’ fault that they are, generally, unable to write them. At the same time, however, the media in the United States is at fault for presenting coverage on Iran that not only does not acknowledge the gaps in their coverage, and therefore in their knowledge, but that also allows those gaps to stand for something other than the absence they are: an assertion by omission that the coverage we are getting from our media is also, somehow, coverage of ordinary Iranians. Kristof’s columns are a necessary and long-overdue correction.
Cross-posted on Because It’s All Connected.