Ah, the woes of deceptive editing.
On the home page of Tucker Carlson‘s Daily Caller right now is this grabby headline:
MSNBC Guest: Reagan Administration Is To Blame For Obama’s $400 Million Iran Ransom
What outrage! The conservative media has found another loopy leftist liberal nutbag making an absurd claim that tries to find fault with President Reagan instead of President Obama. And clicking on the article by the Caller’s Christian Datoc reveals that the guest — Hillary Mann Leverett — is simply identified as an “author.” Datoc’s opening paragraph reads:
During a Friday morning interview on MSNBC, author Hillary Mann Leverett stated that the late President Ronald Reagan was the man truly responsible for the $400 million ransom payment the Obama Administration just supplied to Iran.
Geez, what did this whackjob “author” write anyway? How To Forge Your Kenyan Birth Certificate?
The truth is that Leverett, who appeared alongside Stephanie Ruhle this morning, is the co-author of the book “Going to Tehran,” and was a chief negotiator to Iran under — get this — former President George W. Bush. Somehow, not only does the Caller’s article conveniently leave out this fact, but the embedded video of the interview mysteriously opens up after Leverett’s full introduction and credentials are provided by Ruhle. For the record, you can check out Leverett’s dizzying personal bio — including her, “more than 25 years of diplomatic, policy, academic, legal, and business experience working on Middle Eastern issues” — here.
And the Caller’s write-around of the cable news interview also leaves out a devastating amount of key information that puts the exchange in its proper context. On the topic of the recent $400 million that was handed over to the Iranians, Datoc simply mentions this part of Leverett’s argument:
“It was part of a settlement,” she continued. “It was a settlement in fact that the Reagan Administration really brought about by issuing an executive order.”
So, allow me to more fully present the opinion of a Bush administration negotiator regarding the recent actions of President Obama that are being derided on the right. She said Friday:
“In a lot of ways this was a brilliant, masterful feat of diplomacy. They peacefully resolved a crisis situation with a country with which we’ve been in a cold war, and sometimes a hot, war for 35 years. “
And remember how viciously conservatives chastised the administration when a small boat of our soldiers wandered into Iranian territory in January? Leverett also points to that as a significant sign of success — something the Caller somehow forget to mention — considering the soldiers were quickly released, “and not a dime was paid.”
But the Reagan botch job here is really the subject of the Daily Caller‘s ire, so what was Hillary Mann Leverett really referencing by invoking the Republican hero?
As it turns out, she was absolutely correct, though she never put “blame” on Reagan the way a casual reader of The Daily Caller might now think.
Leverett’s full quote on-air Friday was — when asked if the recent exchange was a ransom — was, “No. I would call it part of a settlement. It was a settlement in fact that the Reagan administration really brought about by issuing an executive order here to put this into the Hague.”
The Hague in the Netherlands was the location of the Iran–United States Claims Tribunal as part of the Algiers Accords to resolve the hostage crisis.
More specifically, while Daily Caller readers are prepared to burn 30 Rock to the ground for welcoming crackpot conspiracy theorists, Allen Weiner and Duncan Pickard of The Washington Post wrote last week that, “[t]he $400 million payment to Iran was American diplomacy at its finest.”
In reality, the payment represented continued adherence to a masterful feat of American diplomacy and to the peaceful resolution of disputes under international law. Ronald Reagan understood how important it is for us to keep our promises — which is why, as president, he upheld the agreement negotiated by the Carter administration that led to the recent payment.
Aww, and you thought it was Reagan’s firm American podium-slamming cowboy spirit who was responsible for freeing the hostages? Cute.
“The agreement also established a tribunal in The Hague to settle the outstanding disputes, including many claims for which American companies had already filed lawsuits in U.S. courts,” WaPo continues.
So, while a clickbaitey conservative news headline may lead you to think that a liberal was defending the shocking actions of Obama by randomly and inextricably blaming history’s greatest leader in Reagan, it’s worth it to understand the real story… instead of watching an edited video and reading an “article” that comprised only 128 words, 85 of which were quotes taken out of context.
Now that you know the seasoned history of Leverett, here are a few of the comments about the Harvard-educated Leverett that Daily Caller readers have left in response to Datoc’s piece:
One look at her foolish face tells me I don’t have time to watch or listen to her goofy yammerings.
So what is she trying to say??? That Reagan pushed a settlement in a different time and world that somehow got caught up in the world court and was just now settled? And Obama had this stroke of genius to without this payment that just now was about to be paid — to hold it hostage until Iran released prisoners? So by her narration it’s Reagan’s fault and Obama’s brilliance?
One Twitter user wrote in response to the misleading Caller headline, “The Left love Iran and hates Reagan. … what a country!” while another chimed in, “Yes, blame a dead President.”
Watch the above full interview with Hillary Mann Leverett above — unedited — from MSNBC.
J.D. Durkin (@jiveDurkey) is an editorial producer and columnist at Mediaite.
[image via screengrab]
This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.