Lynch surmised that the administration went public “as part of a calculated effort to ratchet up the credibility of the threat of tough sanctions ahead of the October 1 meeting between Iran and the P5+1 in Geneva.” This enhanced threat of sanctions, he observed, would likely “lead the Iranians to make more concessions to avoid them.” So, Lynch concluded,

despite what I expect to see swarming the media in the next few days—wanna bet that John Bolton or John Bolton-equivalent oped is already in production over at the Washington TimesWashington Post (sorry, it’s hard to tell the difference on foreign policy issues sometimes)—I actually think that this public revelation makes war less rather than more likely.

Amid all the saber-rattling in mainstream outlets, this seemed an insightful and refreshing perspective. Lynch’s is the type of alternative (yet hard-headed) voice that seems so absent from the coverage of our top news organizations, with their Washington-centric mindset and sources. Why do Katie Couric and George Stephanopoulos so rarely seek out the views of regional experts like Lynch? It’s probably naive even to ask.

Michael Massing is a contributing editor to CJR and the author of Now They Tell Us: The American Press and Iraq.