Friday, April 7, 2017

Syria and the Propaganda War

We all know that propaganda plays a huge role in how governments mold the public's perception of war.  With the recent missile attacks on the Homs airfield in Syria in response to the regime's alleged use of chemical weapons, propaganda quickly became part of the picture.

Here is how Fox News reported the attack:

Here's the quote:

"The Syrian airfield targeted by United States airstrikes early Friday was “almost completely destroyed,” a human rights group in the country said.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the missile attack damaged over a dozen hangars, a fuel depot and an air defense base. About 60 U.S. Tomahawk missiles hit the Shayrat air base, southeast of Homs, a small installation with two runways.

At least six Syrian soldiers were killed and several wounded in the airstrike, the country's military said. The governor of Homs province said he did not believe the strikes caused a large number of “human casualties.” A Syrian official the attack caused deaths and a fire, but did not elaborate.

The U.S. missiles hit at 3:45 a.m. local time in Syria. Syrian state TV called the attack an "aggression" that lead to "losses."

Initial indications are that this strike has severely damaged or destroyed Syrian aircraft and support infrastructure and equipment at Shayrat Airfield, reducing the Syrian government's ability to deliver chemical weapons," Captain Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, said, according to Reuters."

That does sound like a rather decisive blow against the military capability of the Assad regime, doesn't it?

Now, in sharp contrast, here's how the attack was reported by Russia's Rossiya news channel through a report by Evgeny Poddubny, one of its correspondents who is actuaalyat the scene:

As you can see, while there has been significant damage, the Homs airfield has not been “completely destroyed”.  There are undamaged hangars containing undamaged fighter jets and at least one of the runways looks undamaged as shown here:

So, who is right?  Let's look at a quote from a Boston Globe article from 2016 about the issue of American journalism and Syria:

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.

Under intense financial pressure, most American newspapers, magazines, and broadcast networks have drastically reduced their corps of foreign correspondents. 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. Reporters who cover Syria check with the Pentagon, the State Department, the White House, and think tank “experts.” After a spin on that soiled carousel, they feel they have covered all sides of the story. This form of stenography produces the pabulum that passes for news about Syria.” (my bold)

Propaganda is alive and well.  The situation in Syria is proof of that.

1 comment:

  1. YouTube South Front & R&U videos for the best coverage of the war in Syria (in English)