The Banality of Ann Curry

NBC’s Ann Curry interviewed Iranian president Hassan Rouhani. I caught the tail end of the segment on the Today show this morning. She asks Rouhani whether he agrees with his predecessor that the Holocaust was a “myth.”

“I’m not a historian. I’m a politician,” Rouhani replied. “What is important for us is that the countries of the region and the people grow closer to each other, and that they are able to prevent aggression and injustice.”

Curry then moved on. Curry told Matt Lauer and the hosts of Today that that his “non-answer” will “likely raise a lot of eyebrows.”

It should raise eyebrows, but not necessarily about Rouhani. Why in the world would Curry leave it there? 

That answer isn’t a “non-answer”; it’s a form of Holocaust denial all its own. Rouhani is suggesting this is an open question, a reasonable debate, best left for the experts. It’s like asking a flat-earther if the world is round and he replies, “Look I’m no geologist . . .”

Rouhani is telegraphing one or all of several ideas. First, he’s suggesting this isn’t a particularly interesting or important question. Second, he’s implying the answer isn’t interesting or important either. And, third, he’s making it clear that he’s afraid to give a straight answer because there are vast constituencies in Iran that would not tolerate hearing the truth from him.

Given that, why on earth didn’t Curry push back or challenge him? What is the point of these kinds of interviews if they amount to a state media FAQ list? Even NBC’s headline for the story is boring: “Exclusive: Iran president blames Israel for ‘instability,’ calls for peace.” I could have saved NBC the airfare and told them that.

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