Saturday, December 20, 2014

Yellow journalism mixed with crude propaganda: Sam Dagher in the Wall Street Journal

Let us face it. America's favorite armed gangs in Syria are not doing well at all. Your hero, Gen. Engineer Dr. Salim Idriss is nowhere to be found; the Syrian national coalition can't even meet because of dissent and divisions; what used to be called "rebels and activists" are now basically a variety of Bin Laden's children (Nusrah versus ISIS), and what is left of the Fee Syrian Army often defects in whole units to ISIS as happened in the north just recently.  And there are no more defections from the Syrian regime--not even clerks and photographers--to celebrate in the Western media. So what to do in such cases?  Well, the best thing is to cook a propaganda story and fabricate a fable that only those fabricated it can believe it. Sam Dagher has this article which adheres to the lowest standards of journalism that I have seen (and the standards of journalism on Syria in the Western press are the lowest I have seen in a long time). But look how Dagher documents his story: "Two dozen people, including past and current regime officials, opposition leaders, activists and rebels, and politicians in neighboring countries with ties to Mr. Assad told The Wall Street Journal".  But in fact the two dozen people he mentions are the same people: they are Syrian opposition people and their handlers in the Arab intelligence services.  It is really one source. But the favorite part of the story is that it relies mostly on the account of Munaf Tlas. Mr. Tlas sat on this explosive story for three years and just now remembered it? I mean, who not share it when the oil media were desperate for your stories and inside information although you provided none. And now when nobody talks about Tlasn and when it became clear that all factions of the Syrian rebels are not ready to work with him, he decided to pick a willing cheerleader for the Syrian rebels to tell his story.  Only now? And I like how the revelation came on the 3rd anniversary of the bombing.  But here is my favorite part of the anthology of lies:  "One opposition activist said Mr. Shawkat seemed to be the regime representative most interested in the discussion."  What? Most interested in discussion? All the time when the Syrian war started and up until the time when the bomb exploded and long after Shawkat died, the entire media of the Syrian opposition (armed and unarmed) were talking about Shawkat as the butcher of Damascus and as the worst man in the entire regime.  So Dagher wants us to now forget that we read all those accounts and believe that the Syrian opposition believed that he was a man of moderation and negotiations?  Finally, I need to add one last bit: among Dagher's sources for this article is...Walid Jumblat. Need I say more?