Drowning in fake news on Syria

We are witnessing an unprecedented level of fake news and propaganda regarding the war on Syria.1 The level and pitch of fake stories has increased as the Syrian army overruns the rebels occupying East Aleppo. This likely reflects last ditch attempts from the rebels (and their State supporters) of eliciting the protection of the “international community” through shocking it into action.

It is obvious Western media is biased in this regard, unquestioningly repeating those and similar claims and disregarding reports from Syrian and Russian officials, even dismissing those as propaganda.2

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Show 2 footnotes

  1. Recent examples of fake news and propaganda include exaggerated levels of civilian population trapped in East Aleppo, massacres committed by the Syrian army, and women committing suicide to avoid being raped.
  2. For more examples see http://thefreethoughtproject.com/10-aleppo-syrian-media-lies/

Dismantling the sectarian narrative

In recent years the media tend to portray conflicts in the Middle East along sectarian lines, Sunni vs Shia. Some examples:

  • Syria is explained by Sunni being sick of the ruling Alawi (which they portray as Shia)
  • Iraq as Sunni being fed up with the Shia government
  • The rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran as religious conflict, Sunni vs Shia

When highlighting this apparent cause of conflict, the media often points to its origin, citing the early Muslims’ disagreement over Muhammad’s successor and the battle of Karbala. According to the narrative, the conflict started 1400 years ago and has been going ever since (it’s no wonder the Middle East is such a mess!). This portrayal is simplistic and ignores many other factors, including national/political, class, and neo- and post-colonialism.

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The ideology of the American media is that it believes that it doesn’t have any ideology

By William Blum

After Brian Williams’ fall from grace, his former boss at NBC, Bob Wright, defended Williams by pointing to his favorable coverage of the military, saying: “He has been the strongest supporter of the military of any of the news players. He never comes back with negative stories, he wouldn’t question if we’re spending too much.”

This is a failure of today’s journalism. This is the exact type of question they should be asking. If journalists are not asking these questions, who is?

If nobody is, then the elite are allowed to do as they please.

http://www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/2015/02/27/the-ideology-of-the-american-media-is-that-it-believes-that-it-doesnt-have-any-ideology/

The real problem of ‘getting to yes’ with Iran

by Gareth Porter

[Obama asked] “Does Iran have the political will and desire to get a deal done?”… The premise of Obama’s remark was that US demands are purely rational and technical in nature…[but] Iran is acting irrationally in refusing to accept that US demand.

Gareth Porter examines and dispels these assumptions.

http://www.middleeasteye.net/columns/real-reason-nuclear-talks-stalemate-297894422

The emergence of ‘Shiaphobia’ and anti-Shia bias in the media

by HR

Groups who claim to be Sunni Muslims, such as ISIS and Al Qaeda are not labelled as Sunni Militants (even though they actually do claim their cause to be sectarian) – so why the double standard in reporting Shia Muslim news stories?

HR draws attention to the negative media reporting regarding Shia Muslims.

http://www.digital-resistance.com/analysis/emergence-shiaphobia-anti-shia-bias-media/

The Mockingjay of Palestine: “If we burn, you burn with us”

by Ramzy Baroud

“I want to tell the people that if you think for one second [they] will treat us fairly if there’s a cease-fire, you’re deluding yourself. Because you know who they are and what they do.”

Ramzy Baroud draws parallels between the latest Hunger Games movie, Mockinjay, and the occupation of Palestine.

Does [Mockinjay author] Collins know that Katniss, who didn’t choose such a fate, but had to step up in defense of her people, is represented in thousands of men, women, and yes, children of Gaza? Does she know that her stories were already written and enacted by real people, who may never have heard of her franchise and may never live to watch her movies? Does she know that criminal leaders such as President Snow are not something of fantasy, but they actually exist, here today in the persons of Benjamin Netanyahu and countless other Israeli leaders who call for the absolute annihilation of Gazans at a whim?

http://www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/2014/12/08/the-mockingjay-of-palestine-if-we-burn-you-burn-with-us/

Why foreign military intervention usually fails in the 21st century

by Richard Falk

Given the way elites think and militarism is structured into the bloodstream of major states, foreign military intervention is intrinsic to the war system. We must work now as hard to eliminate war as earlier centuries worked to eliminate slavery. Nothing less will suffice to rescue the planet from free fall to disaster.

http://richardfalk.wordpress.com/2014/11/01/why-foreign-military-intervention-usually-fails-in-the-21st-century/