FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Washington, D.C. – New Tolerance Campaign is mobilizing concerned citizens to call on Time Magazine to rewrite an article that badly mischaracterizes the situation with Soleimani and Iran. The article by Time for Kids’ executive editor, Jaime Joyce, called “How to Talk to Your Kids About the Situation with Iran” has received negative attention for its truly terrible job explaining the facts and the one-sided picture it paints. In the name of responsible journalism that presents the full picture truthfully, especially when it comes from a noteworthy magazine that aims to shape young American minds, Time for Kids must rewrite the article from the perspective of a genuine desire to educate.
Should Qasem Soleimani have been killed by American action? Joyce seems to believe the answer is “no” and has written an article for parents on how they can explain this to their kids. President Trump’s decision is falsely portrayed as poorly received by anyone who matters, and a reasonably adequate explanation of why Soleimani is considered a terrorist is avoided altogether.
Instead, Joyce has written a bogusly even-handed article that gives parents a one-sided playbook for casting doubt on an event that many around the world, including many in Iran, have reacted to as historically positive.
Joyce points out that the death of Soleimani “is a difficult topic to explain to kids.” Problem is, it’s harder if one avoids details, as she does. Whether one believes that the assassination was justified, making that judgment requires knowing the objective and well-known facts which Joyce chose not to include: Soleimani was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians, and over 600 American military members.
The problems begin right away with Joyce’s description of Soleimani, who was far more than “a top military leader in Iran,” as she oversimplifies it. He was the man who had been directing military action in Iraq, Syria, Gaza, and elsewhere for more than a decade, representing conflicts in which hundreds of thousands have been killed, including Americans, with no end in sight.
Soleimani wrote to then US General David Petraeus in 2008, informing him that “you should know that I, Qasem Soleimani, control the policy for Iran with respect to Iraq, Lebanon, Gaza, and Afghanistan.” The Washington Post recently noted that “According to the Defense Department under both Trump and Barack Obama, Iran’s activity in Iraq included the provision of and training on several weapons systems deployed against Americans and Iraqis.” Regarding American deaths, the US government’s most recent estimate is 608.
Further, Soleimani was more than just a crusader against the West. His role in fomenting the Syrian civil war has also been well reported, with many attributing Bashar al-Assad’s hard-earned and horrific success to Soleimani’s support and direct, routine intervention. The current death toll estimate of the conflict is 400,000. Yet the word “Syria” does not appear in Joyce’s article even once.
It is easy to notice that Joyce likely disagrees with the decision to assassinate Soleimani. She presents the decision by President Trump in the light of how some people have reacted negatively to it but has left out any of the many examples of agreement that followed the event. Joyce also avoids pointing to the significant evidence of support among Iranians for Soleimani’s death that immediately followed it, and proactively perpetuated the myth that Iran is a country in collective morning.
Maybe Joyce believes that America’s children can’t handle the truth. But at NTC, we believe our kids are resilient, and must not be coddled by being told the blandest version of a semi-truth, as Joyce has done. Time for Kids and Joyce must immediately revise their explainer to include some of the ample evidence of Soleimani’s character and a representative description of the reactions in Iran and around the world. They owe it to America as journalists to be responsible and present the full picture, especially when dealing with such an important issue.