The Fox News Channel has been going after Iran pretty hard lately. In only the past few weeks, Fox has done at least two interviews promoting the settler propaganda movie “Iranium,” which, according to the host of a New York premiere, is aimed at promoting an attack on the Islamic Republic.
Now the conservative-leaning channel is zooming in on Iran at State Department briefings and reporting on an Israeli account of two Iranian warships about to pass through the Suez Canal. (I’m planning on addressing Fox‘s report on the apparently developing Suez incident in a piece for the wire, and I’ll post that when it’s up.)
At State, Fox‘s James Rosen honed in on the U.S.’s role in Iran during a briefing. Rosen quizzed a state adviser, Tomicah Tillemann, about how Iran fit into a meeting about the launch of an initiative to reach out to global civil society:
QUESTION: James Rosen, Fox News. Can you expound on how this effort is or isn’t affecting our ability to influence events in Iran?
MR. TILLEMANN: Again, I think that’s a question that we may want to leave to the briefing that will follow this immediately. But it’s a good question.
QUESTION: Is Iran not part of the efforts that you’re involved with?
MR. TILLEMANN: There was an Iranian activist who was present at the table with the Secretary this morning, and Iran is very much part of the discussion on civil society, and it’s a country with a rich history of civil society. As the Secretary spoke about in Krakow, Iran historically has had some of the strongest civil society in the Middle East, and we are eager to do what we can to strengthen that civil society. We think it’s very unfortunate the regime has turned its back on that rich tradition of civil society.
QUESTION: And how do you plan to advance it?
MR. TILLEMANN: We have a number of mechanisms, and we can talk specifics later if you’re interested.
QUESTION: Why is that not a fit subject for discussion with you? You’re the one in charge of the program.
MR. TILLEMANN: I’m – some of those programs are conducted, actually, through other bureaus, and we can talk with some colleagues in NEA and other partners within the Department who will be better equipped to give you specifics on those issues.
Moments later, responding to a reporter from Voice of America, Tillemann added that the Iranian was author Azar Nafisi, who holds some anti-regime views and has spoken before about the need for the West to understand (or at least know about) Iranian civil society.