Accuracy in Media

The New York Times’ coverage of the Trump administration declaring the Iran Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization offered a misleading analysis of the designation’s impact, positing that the move was highly negative and would backfire or have limited impact and was simply motivated by Israel’s domestic politics.

The Times quoted Wendy Sherman, a former top State Department official under both the Clinton and Obama administrations, who said, “there would be no practical payoff given the risks to Americans and the fact the group was already under other sanctions.”

The Times quoted another former Obama administration official, who offered his opinion without any backup results or evidence.

“‘The potential blowback vastly outweighs the benefits’ said Jeffrey Prescott, a senior Middle East director under President Barack Obama,” the Times wrote.

The Times also cited no on-the-record official, claiming via anonymous sources that “The designation was opposed by some top Trump administration national security officials who said it could incite retaliation by Tehran against American troops and intelligence officers.”

It wasn’t until the very end of the article that the Times admitted “There are signs that Trump-era sanctions on Iran are undermining its budget for foreign military activities, meaning less money for Hezbollah and other Iranian allies. The new terrorism designation could expand on this by further undermining the Revolutionary Guards’ finances.”

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