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Navigating War: Has the War in Syria also Destroyed Journalism?


Navigating War: Has the War in Syria also Destroyed Journalism?

Ramzy Baroud

When a veteran war reporter like Robert Fisk constructs his argument regarding the siege of Aleppo based on 'watching' video footage, then one can truly comprehend the near impossibility of adequate media coverage on the war in Syria.


Many thanks to the author!
When journalism, our critical Fourth Estate, charged with informing the public to the whole truth, is allowed to be bought-out, corrupted, coerced, or journalists denied access by any rationale, or forcibly "embedded", the public and truth become victims as sure as those slaughtered in whatever conflict - no free state can remain such without that critical component.

It may be accurately said, I believe, that the graphic visuals and reporting of lies, slaughter and war crimes, journalists exposed during the Vietnam War set the stage for repression and control over such truths - embarrassment of the military or those who sent them into war could not be allowed then and cannot be allowed now by TPTB in the ME/NA especially - Israeli propaganda and control over journalists (or targeting them) the evil model.

Propaganda must be given a free hand to mold public opinion and malleable minds; images of war and its brutality, its atrocities - war crimes - must be hidden to assure continued public support, domestic or foreign, military careers, and blood-soaked profits for the war-machine - almost nothing we see or hear from the MSM can be believed - today's talking heads lackeys and mouthpieces for lies - bootlickers all (with almost no exceptions).


Journalism was largely pre-destroyed, at least commercial journalism. The response of WaPo, the NYT, CNN, et al has been to cling to government and corporate allies as the audience that is their raison d'etre wanders to more useful sources. Few acts could be more shrill or blatant in this regard than their call for the oppression of alternate sources as "false news," even including the jailing of some of their own sources that one imagines that they must have been forced to publish to avoid getting scooped to badly and too obviously.

Their coverage becomes worse as their dependence on beltway clients increases, and their collusion becomes more obvious as outside sources become stronger, more available, and better known.

Still, something unusual is happening or has happened around Syria, something that reminds one of the Spanish Civil War, and ominously so. The major players are mostly not Syrian, and there appears to be little knowledge on the ground about who is working for or with whom.

We have some tendency to regard entities like the MIC or the banking cartels or the US government or the Republicans or the Democrats or CIA black ops as being relatively integrated units mostly operating within some relatively unitary vision of self-benefit. That does not give us much to explain the business of Russians and Americans (both largely beholden to the same banking systems) shooting at each other or various US intelligence agencies shooting at each other--and under orders, not by the usual chaos of war. Clearly the situation has become complex, rife with not only collusions and deceit, but betrayals and counter-deceit within collusions.

We are left with a corporate sort of structure in a violent situation, and a corporate structure dealing with violence operates in the ways we popularly associate with mafia groups. This is clearly a petrol and gas-related conflict, but it seems likely that the combatants are ill defined corporate and personal entities with loyalties that cross both national and corporate lines and involve very sharp divergences of perceived self-interest.

This resembles the sort of situation that has happened around rebellion in mafia-led Latin-American countries, probably not accidentally so. It is not stable.


Truth is the first casualty of war

Its riddled corpse a prop for all sides


Concerning the Syrian conflict, I would like to add to Baroud's list of courageous journalists Vanessa Beeley and Eva Bartlett, who, unlike the stenographers penning the propaganda we see on that war in the MSM, have actually spent a lot of time on the ground in Syria, and paint a very different picture of what has happened. I recommend to one and all that they read and hear what these two brave women have to say. Unlike Baroud, who seems to hedge his bets by saying that "both sides lie in war," Beeley and Bartlett point their fingers predominantly at Western journalism for its outright lies. I am reminded of a conversation I had recently with a Russophobic friend who characterized Vladimir Putin as the "world leader in anti-American propaganda." "Anti-American propaganda?" I said. "There's no need for him to engage in anti-American propaganda. American actions speak for themselves."