Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu tried to keep the NYC Iran media momentum going just a little more, but alas it seems there were far less takers than for Rouhani/Zarif.
Apparently public diplomacy is like comedy: it’s all about timing. There’s also something to be said for the media appeal of “man bites dog”: what’s Netanyahu “excoriating” Iran as compared with Rouhani calling for “tolerance” (even if that might actually mean “tolerance” for continuing the nuclear program)?
The headlines and reportage were basically straightforward; Netanyahu certainly did “excoriate” Rouhani, no need to sugar-coat this fact. But today’s media is much more than that, and this blog could not discern – not for want of trying – any social media reference to the content of Netanyahu’s speech (unlike for Rouhani).
Indeed, influentials (some quite respectable) ranging from the WP‘s Max Fischer to Carnegie’s Karim Sadjadpour preferred to focus on trivialities rather than substance. Others, such as the BBC‘s Bahman Kalbasi, responded by forwarding downright offensive material– and, of course, more Rouhani comments.
It’s perfectly legitimate for the media to critique a world leader (or anything, for that matter), especially if he makes factual errors. However, it is not legitimate for the media to conduct a PR campaign for one and a crusade against another. But this is precisely what seems to have transpired in NYC.
Pity, actually, because those who bother to cut through the media bias will find reminders in Netanyahu’s speech that just might cast doubt on Rouhani’s true intentions. But why confuse media consumers with such party spoilers?