In a recent “Public Editor” column, the New York Times’ Margaret Sullivan examined the paper’s level of skepticism on the Administration’s Syria policy. This got us thinking (again): what would Sullivan’s conclusions be if she examined the NYT’s Iran policy in the Syria context? We think we have the answer.
The paper ran several pieces in its “Room for Debate” feature in early September, the most prominent of which by Rouhani confidante Seyed Hossein Mousavian. Mousavian cautioned Obama against attacking Syria, saying Rouhani’s election had opened a window for rapprochement with Iran that could be spoiled with a military strike on its ally.
The feature also hosted opeds by Mark Katz and Farideh Farhi which praised Rouhani’s pragmatism, concluding it was high time Washington engaged with Tehran on the Syrian issue. An opinion piece by Elizabeth Cobbs Hoffman in the same space also leaned toward engaging Iran.
Earlier opeds reflected the same tendency. For instance, the paper published an editorial by Anatol Leven on September 1 urging Washington to reengage with Tehran (under Moscow’s tutelage) in order to find a diplomatic solution to the Syrian crisis.
On August 30, an op-ed by Roger Cohen suggested “the West should also put out feelers to the new Iranian president” in order to solve the Syrian crisis after Rouhani spoke out on Twitter against the use of chemical weapons.
Ms. Sullivan, we sense a pattern here. Perhaps you should look into it.