The Slatest

Who Needs to Make Anti-American Propaganda? Iran Is Just Broadcasting These Horrific Debates.

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump during the second presidential debate at Washington University in St. Louis on Oct. 9.

Tasos Katopodis/AFP/Getty Images

Once upon a time, anti-Western regimes produced propaganda depicting U.S. leaders as amoral, greedy, and violent. Now, the real thing is available for streaming.

The second presidential debate on Oct. 9, featuring Donald Trump denying allegations of sexual assault and threatening to jail Hillary Clinton, was the first U.S. debate ever broadcast live on television in Iran. Evidently, they were so happy with that demonstration of the virtues of liberal democracy that they’re going big for Wednesday night’s showdown in Vegas: airing the debate on three channels so it will be available in Persian, Arabic, and English.

Iran’s media tends to enforce an official line depicting Washington as corrupt and aggressive. Bloomberg notes that in addition to the debate broadcast, House of Cards has been a big recent hit on Iranian TV. The Netflix show depicting the machinations of power-hungry and murderous Washington insider Frank Underwood has also been massively popular in China, including among senior party leaders. I guess The West Wing just doesn’t seem realistic enough these days.

Read more Slate coverage of the 2016 campaign. 

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