On The Listening Post this week: How the downing of a Ukrainian passenger aircraft flipped the narrative in Iran. Plus, the challenges of reporting race in Portuguese media.
From mourning Soleimani to protesting against the regime
When a US drone strike killed Iran's most important military figure, General Qassem Soleimani, two weeks ago, it provided Tehran with an opening to rally the Iranian people to back their Islamic leaders against the United States.
For a few days, that seemed to be the case.
Then a passenger plane was shot down over Tehran, and Iran's leaders chose to lie to the public, before finally admitting three days later that they had taken the plane down by mistake.
Iranians have since taken to the streets - not to mourn the loss of a fallen soldier, but because they are outraged after years of official lies, ineptitude and impunity.
That messaging opportunity is long gone. The Iranian government now has a PR nightmare on its hands.
Arash Azizi - Writer and historian, New York University
Ali Vaez - Director, Iran Project, International Crisis Group
Hosein Ghazian - Author, journalist and sociologist
Sanam Shantyaei - Senior Journalist and anchor, Middle East Matters, France 24
On our radar
Richard Gizbert speaks to producer Johanna Hoes about cracks appearing inside the Murdoch empire when it comes to reporting on Australia's bushfires; and about the restoration of the internet in Kashmir - with caveats.
Racism in Portugal: A blind spot for the media?
A few months ago, three women of African descent - Beatriz Gomes Dias, Romualda Fernandes and Joacine Katar Moreira - made history, becoming the first black women elected to parliament in Portugal.
They have faced all kinds of racial abuse on social media.
In the mainstream media, the hostility has been more subtle but no less direct: Portuguese commentators and news columnists have contested the idea that racism even exists there.
This is a story rooted in a rose-tinted view of the country's history - its colonial past.
The Listening Post's Daniel Turi reports from Portugal on a state of denial in the country's media when it comes to race.
Jose Manuel Fernandes - Publisher, Observador
Mamadou Ba - Director, SOS Racismo
Joana Gorjao Henriques - Columnist, Publico and author, Racism in Portuguese
Joacine Katar Moreira - Member of Parliament, Livre
Mike Florio interviews DT Neville Gallimore and recaps how he thrived in a significant culture change when he moved from Canada to the University of Oklahoma. Under pressure to act, U.S. President Donald Trump, Wednesday, March 11, suspended all travel from Europe to the United States for 30 days starting on Friday in order to fight the coronavirus.
Trump said the travel restrictions did not apply to the United Kingdom. He did not provide a list of countries but said simply the restrictions applied to all of Europe.
"We are marshaling the full power of the federal government and the private sector to protect the American people," he added.
"This is the most aggressive and comprehensive effort to confront a foreign virus in modern history."
As the U.S. stock market took another hit from the virus on Wednesday, Trump said he would take emergency action to provide financial relief for workers who are ill, quarantined or caring for others due to the illness.
He said he was instructing the Treasury Department to defer tax payments without interest or penalties for certain businesses and individuals affected.
Trump added he was also instructing the Small Business Administration to provide capital and liquidity to firms affected by the virus.
(Reuters) As scientists work to contain coronavirus, researchers are still trying to figure out where it came from. Early research suggests human picked up the virus from animals, possibly bats, but it is still unclear how the virus made that jump. Science journalist and author David Quammen explains a term called "zoonosis" and how the disease may have spread from animals to humans. A growing number of Iranian university students are coming to the United States for their education, only to hit major roadblocks.
More than a dozen students with valid visas and big dreams were turned back and deported just hours after arriving at U.S. airports in Boston, Detroit, Atlanta, to name a few.
Despite the deep vetting and approval by the U.S. government, students are getting pulled aside at U.S. airports and are being questioned by border agents. In some cases, they are held for hours and eventually deported with little explanation.