Media misleading on Syria

Syrian Observatory

“COVERAGE OF the Syrian war will be remembered as one of the most shameful episodes in the history of the American press. Reporting about carnage in the ancient city of Aleppo is the latest reason why.”

That is according to a recent Op-ed by Stephen Kinzer in the Boston Globe. The article is The media are misleading the public on Syria.

This article is a sight for sore eyes – a “mouse” roaring against the “lion” of misinformation on the Syrian war. I am fed up with the biased reporting of the Syrian conflict and the surrounding political aspects. Information coming from people outside the country – even blatantly so as in TV news reports from Turkey. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (reporting from Coventry in the UK) is often used as sources for reports of bombings., civilian casualties, etc. yet who the hell considers that an objective source.

Aleppo – liberation?

Kinzer writes about recent reporting of the fighting in and around Allepo – which was once Syria’s largest city:

“For three years, violent militants have run Aleppo. Their rule began with a wave of repression.  . . . Militants, true to form, are wreaking havoc as they are pushed out of the city by Russian and Syrian Army forces. “Turkish-Saudi backed ‘moderate rebels’ showered the residential neighborhoods of Aleppo with unguided rockets and gas jars,” one Aleppo resident wrote on social media.”

“This does not fit with Washington’s narrative. As a result, much of the American press is reporting the opposite of what is actually happening. Many news reports suggest that Aleppo has been a “liberated zone” for three years but is now being pulled back into misery.

“Americans are being told that the virtuous course in Syria is to fight the Assad regime and its Russian and Iranian partners. We are supposed to hope that a righteous coalition of Americans, Turks, Saudis, Kurds, and the “moderate opposition” will win.

“This is convoluted nonsense, but Americans cannot be blamed for believing it. We have almost no real information about the combatants, their goals, or their tactics. Much blame for this lies with our media.”

And this “convoluted nonsense” is largely the story delivered by our own media. One has to search very hard to find alternative information – to get a real idea of what is happening in Syria.

Flags in Aleppo

Syrian armed forces placing the Syrian flag on Aleppo thermal power plant after capturing it from Daesh. This completed the eviction of Jihadists from Aleppo. Photo Credit:  Chris Tchaikovsky

Kinzer complains:

“Much important news about the world now comes from reporters based in Washington. In that environment, access and credibility depend on acceptance of official paradigms.”

And that is what is passed on to us by the “approved” or “official” news media.

Genuine reporting lost “in the cacophony”

Yet:

“Astonishingly brave correspondents in the war zone, including Americans, seek to counteract Washington-based reporting. At great risk to their own safety, these reporters are pushing to find the truth about the Syrian war. Their reporting often illuminates the darkness of groupthink. Yet for many consumers of news, their voices are lost in the cacophony. Reporting from the ground is often overwhelmed by the Washington consensus.”

He goes on to complain that our media portrays al-Nusra as “made up of ‘rebels’ or ‘moderates'” whereas “it is the “local al-Qaeda franchise.”  Saudi Arabia and Turkey are portrayed as aiding freedom fighters when they actually sponsor Daesh, finance and supply and other jihadist groups. However:

“Everything Russia and Iran do in Syria is described as negative and destabilizing, simply because it is they who are doing it — and because that is the official line in Washington.”

We should expect far more from journalists:

“Politicians may be forgiven for distorting their past actions. Governments may also be excused for promoting whatever narrative they believe best suits them. Journalism, however, is supposed to remain apart from the power elite and its inbred mendacity. In this crisis it has failed miserably.”

And this media inspired ignorance is dangerous, for us, for regional peace and for the Syrian people:

” In Syria, it is: “Fight Assad, Russia, and Iran! Join with our Turkish, Saudi, and Kurdish friends to support peace!” This is appallingly distant from reality. It is also likely to prolong the war and condemn more Syrians to suffering and death.”

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