Ignoring facts to fit the propaganda model

The Guardian is as guilty as almost every other mainstream news outlet in the UK with regards to its heavily biased coverage of the Libyan & Syrian conflicts. If picking sides in a civil war was classed as a crime then the Guardians online editorial team would be found guilty on several counts.

This propaganda technique is one of the most effective ways of ‘managing consent’ and shaping a narrative whilst at the same time being one of the hardest to highlight to those who do not see a problem. Outright lies and misinformation can easily be brought to the attention of people with the use of source material but when uncomfortable facts/incidents are blatantly ignored it can be harder to illustrate. Facts that are ominously omitted by media outlets can be simply excused as either not news worthy or the omission put down to human error. This propaganda technique is especially effective in the early days of a conflict (see Libya & Syria) as readers opinions are usually formed in the opening days and weeks of following a story.

Please bear in mind that this blog is not trying to support or berate any particular side in the conflicts mentioned. This is about propaganda and media bias.

Using the reporting on Syria as an example of the propaganda technique mentioned above I have highlighted 3 key points;

1. Video footage and reports of Syrian rebels committing war crimes do not paint the opposition in a good light and there have been many documented occasions when certain incidents have gone unreported. Here is an extract from “The Angry Arab” blog which highlights one specific case;

“Al-Quds Al-`Arabi, which is a Qatari-funded newspaper that staunchly supports the opposition to the Asad regime had a front page article yesterday an IN PASSING reference to a “armed men” storming into a housing complex in rural Homs and shooting at Christians and `Alawites, and killing 16 and injuring others. Even the Syrian Observatory for Qatari Human Rights acknowledged the massacre but tried to obfuscate by adding that some Sunnis were also hit. Did any Western media report on this massacre? Any? At all?”

2. Interviews with Syrian residents who do not support the Syrian rebels offer readers an alternative viewpoint to a very complex situation. Despite hundreds of these people voicing their opinions online (YouTube/Twitter) mainstream media very rarely (if ever) gives these people a platform by talking to them and in turn helps paint a simplified, black and white/good vs bad narrative.

3. Influx of foreign fighters and Al Jazeera bias: Very early on in the conflict, staff members of Al Jazeera decided to resign in protest at the stations biased coverage. One ex employee of the Qatari owned news network called Ali Hashem, also went on record as seeing foreign fighters entering Syria only weeks after the conflict began. The claims of media bias at Al Jazeera and the eye-witness accounts of foreign fighters was completely ignored by The Guardian. Once again it was left to independent media to investigate the story by interviewing Ali Hashem.

I’ll add more links which back up these claims in the near future. To conclude this blog post I’ll leave you with a comment from a regular Guardian reader that was left in response to a Guardian contributor;

24 January 2013 12:31pm (link to comment)
@PaulOwen: “Come on Paul, thats a shocking rebuttal, i think what upsets most people, including me is that this newspaper is given the title of “the flagship of liberal media” around the world. Whatever that means.

In all honesty i dont think for one minute either you, Chulov, Borger or anyone else cannot see the skewed and one sided narrative the Guardian has been following since the Syrian conflict started, granted the tone has changed somewhat since the now unmissable emergence of large numbers of undersirable groups have swelled the ranks of the opposition but this newspapers lack of ability or willingness to look at this conflict from an objective point of view has been obvious to say the least.

In reality when it comes to foreign policy you follow the government line, that is a fact, you have controlled dissidence and debate but it goes no further than that. Your undeniable support and stenography of the opposition in the Syrian conflict and constant attempts to portray one side as the “goodies” and the other as the “baddies” is just a symptom of this newspapers unwillingness or inability to go against govt foreign policy”


Dehumanizing the enemy

It was Wednesday the 26th of September 2012 and The Guardian were running a live blog about the UN general assembly. By the end of the day one of their numerous headlines/subheadings read “Ahmadinejad avoids controversy in low-key speech”. So why, given this headline, did the Guardian treat Ahmadinejad’s speech with such contempt whilst dealing with all other aspects of that day in a reasonably fair and balanced manner?

Here is a link to the blog

As you can see – from the 4:08pm update until the 4:47pm  update – the entire blog is dedicated to childishly mocking the Iranian president and his speech. Using a combination of random tweets from pundits and the Guardians own writers they have all contributed to what some analysts call “dehumanizing the enemy”.

Looking at the comments section below the blog/article it is apparent that many Guardian readers have their own opinions on what is trying to be passed off as mature, modern, liberal journalism. Below I have highlighted some choice comments;

meffisto:“When did the Guardian sell its soul? It is so sad to see a newspaper that was held in such high esteem transformed into a crass propaganda tool. So very, very sad.”

arlcf01: “Can we have some balanced reporting from the Guardian please? We get the point- you don’t take Ahmadinejad seriously but this is meant to be a news site, so can you stick to reporting what is actually being said? If we wanted your personal opinions we would follow you on twitter”

Icarusty: “Very interesting to read the western media and readership’s response to his speech, how they are automatically dismissive and cynical, and how the US and Israeli delegates didn’t even bother to listen…. just when Obama made his speech about “doing what we must” to stop Iran having nuclear power, his Iranian counterpart talks about peace. We talk about other parts of the world being brainwashed…. what about us?”

Nivedita: “Irresponsible reporting. Sheer propaganda. Some credible evidence to back up baseless allegations will be helpful”

Screen grabs:

mocking1 mocking2 mocking3

False flag terrorism inside Syria?

When a bomb goes off in the heart of a Government controlled area in Syria there are usually many suspects and two main trains of thought as to who committed the crime. One group of people accuse the Government of false flag terrorism to help stir sectarian hatred and fear among minorities whilst another group of people believe it to be the work of terrorist organisations who have previously admitted to carrying out similar acts in the past. One thing is for certain… When the bomb explodes almost everybody involved in this guesswork cannot have any way of knowing who is to blame. Without any hard evidence and conflicting reports from within Syria itself – the Guardian feels that within hours of the blast it has the authority to insinuate to its readers that the Syrian government has been involved in false flag terrorism.


Syria conflict: Damascus car bombs – Wednesday 28 November 2012

The link above will send you to the Guardians live blog for the events on that day. It is reported that car bombs have exploded in Damascus around 6:40am, with around 25 to 40 people killed. If you scroll down to the Guardians update at 10:39am GMT the “reporters” have highlighted 3 tweets from random people – all of which unequivocally blame the Syrian Government for the explosions whilst providing zero evidence. This is the Guardians attempt at drip feeding the narrative by using other people’s tweets in an attempt to keep its own hands clean. If this was a one-off then maybe you could excuse the unbalanced and narrative driven reporting as a mere mistake but unfortunately this kind of propaganda is being used over and over again by the Guardian.

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