Montage: Media Mourn Loss of Iranian Terror Leader

‘He’s regarded as personally incredibly brave’

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News of the strike on the Iranian general Qassem Soleimani is being felt not just in Iran but also in U.S. newsrooms. 

Many in the major media are portraying the death of the terror leader as a grave loss to humanity. 

The morning Soleimani’s killing was first reported, CBS’s Holly Williams described him as a “revered figure” and a “war hero.” 

“He wasn’t well-known in the United States, but he was one of the most powerful figures in the Middle East, sometimes even touted as a possible future leader of Iran,” Williams said. “For America, though, General Soleimani was a problem.”

CNN’s Fareed Zakaria agreed with Williams that Soleimani is “revered” in Iran: “Imagine the French Foreign Legion, at the height of the French empire. This guy is regarded in Iran as a completely heroic figure, personally very brave.”

Picking up on the French theme, Zakaria’s CNN colleague, Anderson Cooper, likened him to the World War II leader, Charles DeGaulle, calling him “personally incredibly brave” and reporting that “the troops love him.”  

CBS’s National Security Contributor Michael Morell praised Soleimani’s military prowess, likening him to an “evil genius.”

Morell’s CBS colleague, Holly Williams, agreed: “Even many of Soleimani’s enemies admitted he was a military genius. He spearheaded Iran’s involvement in a Syrian Civil War hoping to shore up the Syrian regime’s grip on power. … By killing Qasem Soleimani, the U.S. has stripped Iran of an inspirational military leader. But it’s also further inflamed dangerously high tensions. Iran has already vowed to take, quote, harsh revenge.”

During Monday’s funeral for the dispatched Quds Force leader, ABC’s Martha Raddatz — reporting from Tehran in a headscarf — appeared awestruck at the display: “I have been in the midst of anti-America protests in Iran before, but nothing like this. A powerful combination of grief and anger with shouts of ‘death to America’ echoing through the streets around us. This morning, mourners filling the streets of Iran's capital of Tehran for the funeral of general Soleimani killed by that U.S. drone strike last week. Aerial images capturing the sea of Iranians packing the streets to pay tribute to a man revered by many here.” 

NBC’s Richard Engel, also reporting from the funeral procession, said the United States had elevated the terror mastermind into martyr status: “Now, after this killing, you saw people not only going out in the streets in millions, as Ali was describing, he was there, but throwing articles of their own clothing up onto the coffin so that attendants could rub it on the coffin so that they would have some sort of memento of an object that was close to Qasem Soleimani’s body. They turned him into a martyr, if not a saint. And we’re seeing now all around the region Shiite groups, allies of Iran speaking in one voice, and that is that U.S. troops have to leave the region, should be forced out of the region starting with Iraq.”

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