I had to laugh listening to the audio of the NY Times Tehran Bureau Chief explaining away the intensified and widespread chants of Death to America on the streets of Tehran as not really meaning “Death to America” (h/t Althouse):

On this 34th anniversary of the takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, thousands of Iranians gathered outside that building to once again chant “Death to America.”

But New York Times Bureau Chief Thomas Erdbrink told NPR’s Steve Inskeep on Monday that though the shouts were the same as they’ve been since 1979 and the demonstration was larger than in recent years, the people he interviewed there were not virulently anti-American.

“All the people I spoke with,” Erbrink said, “didn’t really mind Iran talking to the United States … [and they] admitted they want to see some sort of solution” to three-plus decades of fractured relations.

I laughed not because the subject is funny, but because it reminded me of left-wing guru Professor Juan Cole from March 2009, insisting that when they chant Death to American in Iran, they really mean “could you get me a visa, I’d really like to visit Disneyland” (video below, at 3:08):

Cole: Even the ones who are chanting “Death to America,” if you get them to the side, they say well you know “could you get me a visa. I’d really like to visit Disneyland.”

Colbert: So you say, they’re chanting “Death to America” in the streets, but we’re being hasty in our judgment of them.

Cole: Yes were are.

Colbert: It’s really our fault here.

Cole: Yes.”

(Featured Image via YouTube)