The big, bad Iran nuclear threat is one of the American news media’s favorite evergreen stories. Year after year, it picks up where it left off: Enrichment, sanctions, red lines, the usual.
In November, the media circus on Iran exploded. From Foreign Affairs’ catastrophe “Time to attack Iran,” to The New York Times Magazine’s seemingly-million-word “Will Israel attack Iran?” (Conclusion: Yes, this year), to The Atlantic’s new “Iran War Clock” (It’s 10 minutes to midnight, by the way), the blockbuster stories that paint broad strokes of fear, panic, and war keep rolling out.
At a time when 71 percent of Americans incorrectly believe Iran has nuclear weapons and nearly 90 percent view the country unfavorably, fiction in the American press has grown so pervasive that it has become it’s own reality. A headline like “What Happens After Israel Attacks Iran?” normalizes the idea of war and assumes it as inevitable.