December 14, 2012

Inflated Propaganda: The Dangers of A Black-And-White Discourse About Syria

Is reporting the facts and telling the truth equal to supporting a dictatorial government? Most level-headed people would say no and find the question confusing. It is the job of journalists to report the truth no matter who is strengthened by such coverage.

But according to many propagandists who want to push Assad out of power at all costs the answer is yes, if telling the truth benefits a dictator then it is the same thing as giving your full support to him.

To anti-Assad propagandists, the truth is unimportant and objectivity is old fashioned. Better to make up lies about Assad and accuse the debunkers of harboring sympathies for the Assad regime.

Here is one example. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights recently said that Shabiha, a pro-government Syrian militia, was responsible for a massacre of Alawites, the sect that Bashar al-Assad belongs to, without giving any evidence for its claims. Similar claims were made about the Houla massacre back in May by the same "human rights" group and its mindless supporters, which turned out to be wrong. In response to this new massacre story, the writer "b" of the website 'Moon of Alabama' wrote:
That story smelled and was full of holes. There was no plausible motive for the alleged massacre in it. It solely dependent on known biased outlets like the Syrian Observatory and "activists" which spread propaganda for Syrian insurgents and acknowledged terrorist groups like the Nusra front.
"b" later tweeted that the rights group responsible for making the claim against Shabiha is an outlet for terrorist propaganda to a writer from the Financial Times, who accused him of being a supporter of Shabiha. Read more about this story in this article, "Syria: FT Correspondent @Borzou - A Gullible Simpleton." Here is a longer excerpt:
It is Borzou Daragahi who fell for the story from rebel websites and "rights groups". It was me who correctly identified those "rights groups" as terrorist propaganda outlets. Is taking women and children as human shields, on a sectarian base, holding them for days without food and water and killing likely many of them not terrorism? Is spreading false stories about these, as the "rights group" Syrian Observatory does, not propaganda? And allowing for scrutiny and objecting to obvious falsehoods somehow makes me a "Shabiha supporter"? Please.

It is obviously that Mr. Daragahi has not much sense for the neutrality and careful evaluation of facts that a good journalist should have. Instead he has preconceived black and white mindset - four legs good, two legs better. Under that mindset he believes everything the rebel websites tell him even when such stories, like a Syrian government massacre of (Alawite) civilians, seem without motive and thereby implausible.
Accusing a government or a group of a massacre without presenting evidence is wildly irresponsible. It is not something that real journalists who have integrity do.

The Jihadist terrorist groups who are fighting the Syrian government with money, training, and arms provided by Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, France, England, and the United States, do not care about evidence and facts. They are only interested in seizing power, and they are willing to tell as many lies as it takes.

It is well documented that they have committed many massacres across Syria, but the mainstream propaganda machine has glossed over these provable massacres since protecting civilians from terrorists is the last thing that concerns them.

In order to hide their horrible record from the world, the Jihadist terrorists have created a massacre propaganda industry to paint Assad as a monstrous mass murderer in the international press. And irresponsible war propagandists have reported their stories as facts. 

Those of us who have a memory of the pre-Iraq war propaganda can see that the Jihadist terrorists in Syria are following the playbook of the neocons. They're using the same propaganda techniques to win Western public support for their war.

The fact that "mainstream" journalists and news organizations are spreading the lies of Jihadist terrorist groups is very, very disturbing. Al-Jazeera even goes so far as to openly do propaganda for Al-Qaeda. Truly bizarre. This is really sick television.

But pro-Jihadist media organizations who willingly spread propaganda for terrorists are not the bad guys according to Assad bashers. Rather, they believe that the bad guys are those who expose the crimes and lies of Jihadist terrorist groups who are taking Syrians hostage and slaughtering them if they rebel. Apparently, anti-Al-Qaeda truth-tellers are really evil pro-Assad propagandists.

This strange belief is expressed by writer Spencer Ackerman, who in his article called, "Meet the Assadosphere, the Online Defenders of Syria’s Butcher," takes a very negative view of the growing global alternative media that is holding the mainstream propaganda machine accountable for its lies and warmongering. An excerpt:
Assad doesn’t have many allies IRL — Iran and Russia are about the only ones remaining. But as the Syrian rebellion stretches into its 20th month, he’s found (and paid for) a whole heap of friends online, who warn of an impending NATO invasion to dominate Syria; secret CIA shipments of weapons to terrorist groups; and, of course, that Assad’s enemies are all really Jews. Welcome to the Assadosphere — on Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and the web.

Assad has maintained a robust propaganda presence for years: Remember the infamous Vogue profile of his wife Asma, which praised the “wildly democratic” Assad family right as it began its wave of bloodshed. Assad’s online buddies are the next wave of that propaganda: They’ve taken a defense of his regime viral, to the point where they don’t need to take their marching orders from Damascus. They’re contesting the web and social-media space that would otherwise be filled with recitations of Assad’s war crimes — and flooding the zone.
No one with an educated perspective of the situation in Syria and the history of Washington's machinations in the Middle East believes that Assad has committed war crimes. There is simply no evidence for such a claim. And evidence matters, especially when innocent lives are at stake. Facts may be considered old fashioned by bloodthirsty advocates of aggressive war and defenders of terrorist groups, but to rational, realistic, educated, normal, and honest people, facts come before ideology.

The anti-Assad stance is mostly based on ideology and propaganda. Assad is not the monster and butcher that he has been made out to be. I don't care if he holds on to power, but I do care about the truth and I view it as my responsibility to inform readers of the truth as I know it to be.

It is immature to hold rigid beliefs about someone or something and disregard the truth out of hand to avoid changing your position. A mature person does not spread inflated propaganda for either terrorist groups or the dictatorial governments they're fighting, but instead tells the truth about both sides and stays neutral for the sake of peace.