The central facts the western corporate media have given us about the situation in Syria have been overwhelmingly false from the start of the conflict and unrest in 2011 to the civil war that is on going today in 2016. Journalist Daniel Espinosa Winder discovered through his review of news coverage of Syria that the discourse promoted by the western corporate media—including in his own country of Peru—had created a false image of US involvement in Syria, the composition of the Syrian opposition, and the Assad government. This mapping out of the past and current misinformation surrounding Syria allows us to accurately understand future developments and refute the accompanying corporate media propaganda about the globally significant events occurring in Syria.
The first critique made of the corporate media’s coverage is that it did not properly review the recent history of Syria prior to 2011, especially in regards to US foreign policy. US embassy cables uncovered by WikiLeaks revealed US designs to exacerbate economic, religious, and ethnic tensions as far back as 2006. Fast-forwarding to 2011, western corporate media contended the catalyst of all this was the Assad government shooting people who were non-violently protesting the imprisonment of graffiti artists. Corporate media failed to mention that not all witnesses on the ground corroborated the non-violent nature of the protests. Likewise, the corporate media failed to accurately assess the composition of the Syrian opposition. Evidence existed that from the start of these events a significant proportion of the Syrian opposition included Sunni Islamic fundamentalists, many of which were foreign in origin. Furthermore, the western corporate media falsely characterized the anti-Assad forces as simply being Sunni Syrians. Those who supported the government were Shia, as Assad was an Alawite Shi’ite. This irresponsible sectarian characterization left out an important fact that would have put a lie to this framing of the war. The fact is that the Assad government’s army happened to be overwhelmingly made up of the same Sunni Syrians that the western corporate media had claimed opposed him. The apparently chimerical nature of the anti-Assad forces has continued with the coverage of Aleppo, where the corporate media has ceased emphasizing the Islamic fundamentalism of the Syrian opposition in the city now that the US has thrown their support behind them. This miraculous transformation has been left unexplained as well as countless other contradictions in corporate news coverage of Syria in the last five years.
Unsurprisingly, there has been sparse coverage in the corporate media of the corporate media’s erroneous and sub-par journalism about Syria. Nowhere in the corporate media has a story been put out that has systematically addressed the fundamental falsehoods of the corporate media’s coverage of Syria. However, there have been numerous instances of corporate media journalism doing the exact things in their coverage of Syria that journalist Daniel Espinosa Winder criticized. For example, a 2012 New York Times article reported, “Al Qaeda and other Islamic extremists are doing their best to hijack the Syrian revolution.” The idea that Islamic fundamentalist groups weren’t a part of the Syrian opposition from the start is taken as fact despite the lack of evidence for this claim.
Daniel Espinosa Winder, “Debunking the Western Media’s Coverage of the War on Syria,” Global Research, October 16, 2016, http://www.globalresearch.ca/debunking-the-western-medias-coverage-of-the-war-on-syria/5551325.
Editor’s note: For previous coverage of corporate media failures to adequately cover conflict in Syria, see Censored 2017, Story #8, “Syria’s War Spurred by Contest for Gas Delivery to Europe, not Muslim Sectarianism.”
Student Researcher: Jordan Steger (Sonoma State University)
Faculty Evaluator: Peter Phillips (Sonoma State University)