By amarkow

It was just a few weeks ago that the Iranian green revolution was lead story in every newspaper, on all the TV newscasts, and throughout the web.  But when you look at news sources today, you might think that Iran’s repressive regime had squashed the entire movement and that all was back to that nation’s version of normal.  A closer examination of the back pages of newspapers and far reaches of web sites shows that the revolution is alive and well.  We’ve just lost interest.

What’s happening in Iran is potentially one of the most consequential events of the year, if not the decade.  While all pundits agree that Iran’s opposition leader is no friend of America, they also see him as a better alternative to the hate-spewing Ahmadinejad, and a likely candidate for toning down Iran’s anti-Western rhetoric and its support for Hezbollah’s attacks on Israel.

But we’ve moved on in America – more wrapped up in presidential birth certificates and health care “death squads” than in anything going on outside our borders.  What’s with the short attention span?

It’s easy to argue that the fault lies in the media’s choices, rather than America’s fickle predilections.  There’s certainly some truth to the tendency of mainstream media to offer form over substance in trying to sell their wares, and to drop a topic when it gets beyond the new and sexy stage.  But the American public treats news as if it’s a series of romantic flings – preferring the unencumbered one-night stand over a lasting relationship with depth and real devotion.

Hence we leave the heroic Iranian protesters to their own devices at the time when they could use our moral support.  The governing clerics have decided to declare victory over the protesters, accept the results of a highly suspect election and prosecute anyone making loud noises about their desire for genuine freedom rather than manipulated reality.  Despite all of that, the protests continue.  Democracy is happening in Iran, and we’re ignoring it.

There are few news sites that give any time or space whatsoever to the continuing struggles of the Iranian dissidents (Andrew Sullivan’s Daily Dish blog is one of the exceptions – although its volume of coverage is greatly reduced from the immediate aftermath of the discredited June 12 election.  A lone tweet from Iran and a couple of insightful commentaries are all that appeared on the site on August 10).

In a free-market economy, numbers matter, which means it’s up to us as readers, viewers and surfers to make the smart choices and demand that the media cover truly important matters – even if they seem boring compared to Britney Spears’ latest mother-of-the-year exploits.

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