As Iranian missiles rained down on U.S. military targets in Iraq Tuesday night, two cable news outlets, MSNBC and CNN, spread fake news that suggested that the damage was worse than it was.
The Pentagon confirmed that Tehran fired more than 12 ballistic missiles targeting two military bases used by US and coalition forces in Iraq.
During a broadcast of Hardball on MSNBC, NBC News Tehran bureau chief Ali Arouzi parroted Iranian state media propaganda claiming erroneously that Iranian rockets had killed 30 American soldiers.
“The IRGC [Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps] was saying that Ayatollah Khamenei, the supreme leader of this country, was in the control center coordinating these attacks,” Arouzi told anchor Chris Matthews. “This bit I’m not sure about but Iran state media says 30 U.S. soldiers have been killed in this attack. This is not confirmed, it’s just coming from Iranian media.”
“This is drawing people from all sides into this what is potentially the beginning of a war, Chris,” Arouzi added. “I don’t know how this is going to go in the coming hours, but it’s not looking good from the rhetoric that came out from President Trump earlier today saying that he will retaliate against any retaliation from Iran. I think we can expect an attack on Iran imminently.”
MSNBC aired Iran state media’s false claim that 30 U.S. soldiers had been killed tonight pic.twitter.com/DnEkMq3x7f
— JERRY DUNLEAVY (@JerryDunleavy) January 8, 2020
In truth, there were no American casualties, and Middle East experts are speculating that the attack may have been a symbolic strike designed to allow Iran to save face.
Iran’s Revolutionary Guards said Tuesday night that the rockets were launched in retaliation for the killing of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani.
“This morning, courageous fighters of the IRGC’s air force launched a successful operation called Operation Martyr Soleimani,” the IRGC said in a statement. “The fierce revenge by the Revolutionary Guards has begun.”
On Twitter, Iran’s foreign minister, Javad Zarif, added: “Iran took & concluded proportionate measures in self-defence under Article 51 of UN Charter targeting base from which cowardly armed attack against our citizens & senior officials were launched. We do not seek escalation or war, but will defend ourselves against any aggression.”
While the attack was ongoing, CNN reported falsely that a presidential address from the Oval Office was imminent.
“Aides are making urgent preparations at this hour for Trump to address the nation,” CNN White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins reported, suggesting the situation was grave and required an immediate response from the president. The false report prompted a quick rebuke from White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham.
“This is not true – was never true – & no one even attempted to confirm with the press office before tweeting,” Grisham wrote, going on to call CNN’s reporting “irresponsible.
This is not true – was never true – & no one even attempted to confirm with the press office before tweeting. In a race to be first to break news, the public once again falls victim to irresponsible “reporting” by @CNN @jeffzeleny @kaitlancollins https://t.co/7NdGlevoCO
— Stephanie Grisham (@PressSec) January 8, 2020
President Trump took to Twitter late Tuesday night to reassure the nation that “all is well.”
All is well! Missiles launched from Iran at two military bases located in Iraq. Assessment of casualties & damages taking place now. So far, so good! We have the most powerful and well equipped military anywhere in the world, by far! I will be making a statement tomorrow morning.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 8, 2020
Bizarrely, NY Times Columnist Maggie Haberman accused the president of making light of the situation by using a phrase “all is well”—which was featured in the movie “Animal House.”
Tweets the Animal House meme words in a conflict statement. https://t.co/sYdMzy9dkI
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) January 8, 2020
ABC also beclowned itself Tuesday evening as World News Tonight anchor David Muir repeatedly characterized the Iranian regime’s attempt to kill Americans as a promise kept.
“For those of you joining us for World News Tonight at this hour, we have just learned, U.S. officials telling ABC News that Iran has kept its promise to retaliate after that deadly drone strike on Iran’s top commander,” Muir announced after speaking with foreign correspondent Ian Pannell.
A few minutes later, Muir would again speak of Iran’s attempt to kill U.S. troops in a positive tone while introducing ABC military analyst Colonel Stephen Ganyard. “And Colonel Ganyard, we’ve been saying for days now that U.S. military bases could very well be the likely targets. Iran had signified that could actually happen and it would appear they’ve kept their promise tonight,” he said.
In a surreal move Tuesday night in the wake of the missile attacks, NBC chose to cover Iranian terror kingpin Soleimani’s burial live, as if he were a great statesman worthy of international respect.
Watch live coverage as Gen. Qassem Soleimani is buried in his hometown of Kerman, Iran. https://t.co/CUsh8osifL
— NBC News (@NBCNews) January 8, 2020
A recurring theme among the Resistance media since the U.S. military offed Soleimani is that the action was Trump’s “Wag the Dog” moment designed to take attention away from the Democrats’ impeachment efforts (even though the president’s approval numbers actually improved during the Democrats’ ludicrous, months-long impeachment efforts).
Before the possibility of American casualties had been ruled out, MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell tweeted the following “sick burn.”
Trump wagged the dog.
Now the dog is wagging Trump.
— Lawrence O'Donnell (@Lawrence) January 8, 2020
A Pentagon spokesman said Tuesday night that the U.S. military was working on an assessment of the damage from the strikes.