The state of play

At the time of writing I’ve noticed a significant decrease in reporting on Syria. This coincides with David Cameron giving a clear indication that Britain will not be supplying arms to the Syrian rebels. It also coincides with Obama’s plan to arm the rebels being challenged by Congress – with General Martin Dempsey, the top military officer in the United States, warning senators that each option under consideration would be “costly and uncertain”.

On Friday the 19th of July the Guardian also posted the following editorial;

Middle East: a wall of difficulties
Military solutions, whether arming the rebels in Syria or deterring the Iranians would, it is now more widely agreed, be madness

Many editorials during the Libya and Syria conflicts have been overtly aggressive – as noted in a previous blog post entitled “Editorials For War” – however this latest piece is the polar opposite.

What I find interesting about this obvious change in tone is that it coincides perfectly with UK foreign policy on the situation. As many Western leaders publicly step back from armed confrontation the media seemingly follows suit.

Also worth noting is this article in The Sunday Times. It was actually written in July 2012 but with recent developments regarding Lynton Crosby and the lobbying scandal I think it’s worth another look;

HE WON the nickname “the Wizard of Oz” for helping Boris Johnson to become mayor of London. Now Lynton Crosby, the political spin doctor, has turned his attention to lending the Syrian rebels a hand to win the propaganda war against President Bashar al-Assad.

A leaked document seen by The Sunday Times shows how CTF Partners, Crosby’s consultancy firm, offered to run a six-month public relations campaign for the Syrian National Council (SNC) — the biggest single coalition of anti-Assad groups — for a fee of £180,000.

It proposed opening an office in London to co-ordinate the “public image and statements” of the SNC.

“We believe that the SNC is not winning the important public relations and public affairs battle against the Assad regime in the international media,” the document states.

Another aspect worth baring in mind is the recent reporting on Egypt since the 2013 revolution/coup/unrest. Some readers (myself included) noticed a slight pro Morsi/pro Muslim Brotherhood slant to some of the articles. It’s something that I may write about in the near future. There also seems to be a real lack of criticism with regards to the Qatari and Saudi dictatorships fueling sectarian war in Syria. When one considers the Guardians stance on Libya, Syria and Egypt – and takes into account the lack of critical reporting on Qatar/Saudi foreign policy – it may raise the question of funding. Is the news organisation accepting money from either of these states? I have noticed several positive pieces highlighting the slow and minimal steps to reform that the Gulf States are taking. This would also add weight to my theory of partiality.

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