Calling out the media coverage of Syria

Sometimes it takes a brief and concise summary of a complicated matter to get people’s attention and potentially change perceptions which have come to be regarded at true beyond challenge. In the case of the war in Syria, and especially the events which have led to the destruction of the city of Aleppo, the Western mainstream media’s version is so firmly anti-Assad and Russia that anyone reading a newspaper would regard it as a matter beyond dispute who is to blame for the way things have transpired. Many independent commentators, such as Scott Horton, have long been challenging the popular version of events, but now a short video clip has emerged where an independent reporter lays bare the lack of critical challenge to Western government’s propaganda in a way which is both easy to understand and short enough to keep people’s attention. The video, shared below, deserves to be widely seen as it may just force people to challenge their own perceptions and examine their faith in the mainstream media.

The clip stars Eva Bartlett, a Canadian freelance journalist who has persistently been critical of the way the war is portrayed in Western media. At a recent press conference arranged by the Syrian mission to the UN she blasted mainstream reporting on the war, calling it “compromised,” and denouncing their sources as “not credible.” Challenged by Kristoffer Rønneberg of Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten as to how she justifies her allegations in the face of “documentable” facts of atrocities perpetrated by the Assad regime, the clip shows Bartlett’s answer. She starts by listing the international organizations on the ground in Aleppo, sources of the “documentable” facts highlighted by Rønneberg:

“There are none. […] the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights [SOHR], which is based in Coventry, UK, which is one man. […] The White Helmets were founded in 2013 by a British ex-military officer, they have been funded to the tune of $100 million by the US, UK, Europe and other states. […] no one in Eastern Aleppo has heard of them; and I say “no one” bearing in mind that now 95% of these areas of Eastern Aleppo are liberated. “

Bartlett goes on to demonstrate the obvious bias in reporting by mainstream media like the New York Times and Democracy Now (“How can they maintain until this day that the protests were unarmed and non-violent until say 2012?”) and highlights the obvious inconsistencies in the one-dimensional media portrayal of the Syrian war as an uprising against an unpopular oppressor:

“[…] in terms of support of the government the point is they don’t see president Assad as the problem. They see the problem as terrorism, they see elements of problems in the system that they have there. But president Assad they don’t see as a problem. They actually overwhelmingly support him.”

The facts brought forward by Bartlett are not obscure and difficult to find, they are a quick Google search away. But the public can’t be expected to research the facts themselves. They rely on independent, unbiased journalism, and the general perception is that this is what we get when we open the papers or watch the news channels. It is time to thoroughly re-examine this assumption, and there is no better place to start than with this short clip of Eva Bartlett.

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