I Accept Allahpundit’s Apology in Advance

Over at Hot Air, some righty troll has posted the news that I was 100% correct in my assessment of Robert Gibbs’ comments on Iran yesterday.  Your plate of crow awaits, Mr. Pundit.

I Didn’t Think Green Avatars Were a Left/Right Phenomenon

It was a nice kum ba yah moment while it lasted.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs made a remark at today’s briefing that has even the normally reasonable right-wingers in an insane froth.  The key passage is Gibbs’ last line of this clip:

Q But does the administration recognize Ahmadinejad as the legitimate President in Iran?

MR. GIBBS: He’s the elected leader.

Now, Gibbs may or may not deserve some ire for his execution, but he was obviously trying to parse the difference between formally recognizing Ahmadinejad as President, and acknowledging the fact that he has been awarded the election.  “He was awarded the election” might have been a better word choice, but as the last in a series of follow-ups, there wasn’t opportunity for much clarification.

What it is not is this: (from Hot Air)

Instead, so desperate are these tools to get Iran to the bargaining table and show Americans some sort of dividend from Hopenchange diplomacy that Gibbs actually acknowledges Ahmadinejad as the “elected leader” — the same lie the regime’s been telling the world and the same lie Iranians have been dying in the streets to challenge. As a de facto — and entirely gratuitous — endorsement of their corruption, it’s the lowest moment of The One’s presidency so far.

However, while I find this overreaching attempt to score political points on the backs of Iran’s protesters distasteful and disappointing, I’m absolutely shocked by this presumption of bad faith:

And the only thing that’ll take the sting out of it is watching all the dumb liberals who painted their Twitter avatars green two months ago in solidarity with Mousavi’s supporters hemming and hawing now over how our lord and savior really had no choice but to kiss ass here.

This is a sickening violation of an unspoken armistice that rose up between the left and the right during the Iranian unrest.

When this whole thing started, when conservatives on Twitter took the lead in supporting protesters of the Iranian election, there was a suspicion voiced among some liberals that this was pure opportunism, that the concern was feigned as an excuse to criticize President Obama.  Indeed, this was true of some GOP politicians, but in the Twitter community, the Iranian election developed into a moment of surprising unity.

At times, liberals would, privately, evince feelings of superiority at their late-arriving conservative counterparts’ seemingly new-found concern for Iranian citizens, but I wouldn’t entertain that.  A sincere change of heart is to be welcomed, not scorned.  You would have to think pretty poorly of your fellow man to think he wasn’t moved to the core by events such as the killing of Neda.

Alas, the right seems unable to extend that same benefit of the doubt.  Now, we either agree with Allahpundit, or we’re trendspotting dilletantes who could give 2 shits about the Iranian people.  This, from the same guy who cheered when John McCain cracked wise about bombing those same Iranian people:

It’s obvious that this is less an example of Maverick’s vaunted “straight talk” than him just being playful on the spur of the moment. Even if so, joking about bombing Iran certainly won’t hurt his standing with the base, to whom he needs to feed a lot more red meat if he wants the nomination. He’s already starting to do that; the trick is to not alienate the centrists and leftists who admire him in the process.

Here’s that ruddy, meaty crowd-pleaser now:

The accomplishments of the Twitter community (right, left, up, down, and center) during the Iranian unrest were remarkable.  Here’s hoping that the desire to score cheap political points doesn’t overshadow them completely.

As for Gibbs, you could argue that he deserves some measured criticism here, but I don’t think this statement alone warrants it.

Statement from the President on Iran

THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the Press Secretary

_____________________________________________________________________________________

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE June 20, 2009

Statement from the President on Iran

The Iranian government must understand that the world is watching. We mourn each and every innocent life that is lost. We call on the Iranian government to stop all violent and unjust actions against its own people. The universal rights to assembly and free speech must be respected, and the United States stands with all who seek to exercise those rights.

As I said in Cairo, suppressing ideas never succeeds in making them go away. The Iranian people will ultimately judge the actions of their own government. If the Iranian government seeks the respect of the international community, it must respect the dignity of its own people and govern through consent, not coercion.

Martin Luther King once said – “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” I believe that. The international community believes that. And right now, we are bearing witness to the Iranian peoples’ belief in that truth, and we will continue to bear witness.

Before You Even Start With the Fake #Iranianelection Re-Tweets

I wrote a little love letter, yesterday,  to the old media types who are telling Twitter to get off their lawns.  Today, Jake Tapper has a post about a bump in the road for Iranian election tweeters that’s sure to make the dinosaurs shout “A-HA!”

ABC’s Chief Foreign Correspondent Jim Sciutto has just left Iran.  His visa, which allowed him to report from the streets of Tehran during the election demonstrations, has expired, requiring him to depart.  He reports now from Dubai:

The government is now trying to turn technology against the protesters. Officials have started a number of fake opposition pages on Twitter, which are tweeting propaganda and misleading information. I became an unwitting victim when a user named ‘persian_guy’ retweeted several things under my name which I didn’t write. Here are a couple:

As I said yesterday, this is no reason to throw out the only tool available to the Iranian opposition.  It’s like saying, “I got a phone call from someone pretending to be X, and they stole my identity!  No more phone calls for me!  That dang thing’ll steal your soul, anyway!”

The fake re-tweets, in this case, were rather clumsy, and were sure to raise the suspicion of anyone with an ounce of intelligence.

The Iranian opposition has shown outstanding resourcefulness and tenacity.  I doubt very much that they’ll be foiled by the Twitter equivalent of the Jerky Boys.

#Iran-Twitter Revolution Poo-Pooer Jack Shafer Doesn’t Get it

Update: Andrew Sullivan somehow agrees with both of us.

I was probably one of many journalists who sat up and took notice of Twitter’s amazing role in the Iranian election twitteraftermath.  Of course, you can’t give anyone credit for anything without some naysayer coming along to say “Nay,” and Slate’s Jack Shafer fills the “beat the backlash” opening in this case:

Doubting Twitter: Let’s not get carried away about its role in Iran’s demonstrations.

OK, before I get started, let me re-print my own Twitter in Iran article at the end of this one, so you can see who’s getting carried where. This will save me some time, anyway. Continue: Continue reading

President Obama’s Full Remarks on Iranian Election

THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the Press Secretary

_______________________________________________________________________________________________

For Immediate Release June 15, 2009

REMARKS BY PRESIDENT OBAMA

AND PRIME MINISTER BERLUSCONI OF ITALY

IN PRESS AVAILABILITY

Oval Office

5:48 P.M. EDT
Continue reading

Twitter Comes of Age in Iran

legit

Update: Score a big victory for Tweeps everywhere, who have succeeded in getting Twitter to delay maintenance that would have shut down communication out of Iran for at least an hour.

Almost 2 years ago, political innovator Joe Trippi tried to explain to me what the hell Twitter was, and why it was going to be “the new MySpace.”  Although I had no frakkin’ idea what he was talking about, I signed up anyway.  The guy never steered me wrong before.

Almost a year after that, I began to see the possibilities, and now, I routinely sign off of Twitter with a mock prayer in memory of MySpace.  Twitter as a viral watercooler (that sounds gross) has, indeed, revolutionized social media with the unlikely combination of old-school elements like the telegraph and the party line.

Now, it looks like Twitter has revolutionized journalism. Continue reading