THE REVOLUTIONARY COUNCIL, which is more or less the government of Iran, has ordered all American journalists to leave the country. For self-evident reasons, we wish it hadn't gone through with this threat people here and everywhere that the American journalists' product appears have been better informed about the Iranian mess because of that product -- better informed, and better off for that. But somehow, it seems a kind of silly howling in the wind to denounce the journalists' expulsion in classic, conventional free-press terms. The First Amendment never had a fighting chance in Terran, and appeals to journalistic values or even elementary rules of fairness seem almost frivolous in a political place where those who claim to be the government in power countenance the kidnapping of a foreign embassy.

The grounds for the expulsion are wonderful: purported bias on the part of the pressfolk and an unfortunte and incorrigible insistence on dwelling on the hostages as an issue. Imagine that. Actually, the main complaint seems to be that the American public has remained obdurate in all this itself and that, presumably, qualities as further testimony to the damage done by the obduracy of those "biased," hostage-minded journalists.

So the Americans overseas are ordered out of Iran because they have resolutely refused to play the Iranian authorities' propaganda game, and they are blamed, as a consequence of this, for the refusal of the American public to swallow the outrageous line or submit to the outrageous demands of those responsible for what has happened to Iran. As much as we regret the Americans' being kicked out, we can't help observing that it is no embarrassment to them -- on the contrary. As is so generally the case in these situations where tantrum-throwing governments give reporters the boot, it is only further evidence that they have done a good and fair-minded job.