Western media’s whitewashing of its own propaganda

Ensuring Socio-economic Justice

Crescent International

Jumada' al-Akhirah 22, 1444 2023-01-15

Daily News Analysis

by Crescent International

Propaganda and disinformation are a common topic these days among many western media outlets.

The topic is not the only commonality but the narrative as well.

In-depth examination of the propaganda topic reveals that it is mainly the geopolitical adversaries of the west who allegedly engage in propaganda.

Western media loves to point out the propaganda maneuvers of others but soft peddles its own devious ways as ‘mistaken reporting’.

Prior to delving deeper, let us make clear that all media outlets engage in some form of propaganda.

Every media organization has a worldview and holds certain philosophical presuppositions which it holds as valid and those opposing it as invalid.

Through this prism, media outlets prioritize a certain outlook on events.

The western media presents the war in Ukraine through the angle of the violation of its sovereignty.

Syria, Yemen, Libya, and Palestine do not merit such consideration.

There is not even a hint that Russia might have some valid reasons for taking such drastic steps and that the US-NATO combine may have contributed to this sorry development.

The global information field is dominated by mainly western media institutions or organizations where Western trained media technocrats hold significant sway.

Thus, readers need to be made aware of some notorious propaganda maneuvers conducted by western media organizations which rarely get highlighted.

In recent years the most misrepresented war reporting has related to Syria.

As soon as violence broke out in Syria in early 2011, western media outlets began painting a simplistic black and white narrative of the war.

The government in Damascus was all bad and the rebels comprising mostly mercenaries from other countries were presented as good.

In projecting this narrative, for four months, western media outlets cited the ‘Gay Girl in Damascus’ blog as a prominent voice of the “Syrian revolution.”

However, it soon became known that no such person existed.

It was the ploy of a 40-year-old American student named Tom MacMaster.

Since MacMaster’s stunt aided in pushing the western narrative, the so-called leading western media outlets quoted him regularly without even minimal due diligence of checking the validity of the source.

Once the hoax was exposed, the damage caused by such misinformation about Syria was already done.

It would be reasonable to assume that after such an embarrassing exposure, the western media would be more careful in checking its sources.

Perish the thought.

There emerged the so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) soon after the McMaster hoax.

Western newsrooms attributed immense credibility to this outfit about developments in Syria.

It turned out that the so-called observatory was a one man show, as reported by Süddeutsche Zeitung in 2012, run by Rami Abdulrahman from a clothing store in Coventry, UK.

He had left Syria years before the proxy war began and was in the opposition camp to the Syrian government.

Medialens, an independent web-based news outlet in the UK, said that journalist Ian Sinclair confirmed “in communication with the Foreign Office” that “the UK funded a project worth £194,769.60 to provide the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights with communications equipment and cameras.”

In April 2013, the New York Times reported that Rami Abdulrahman had “received small subsidies from the European Union and one European country”.

Surely, £194,769.60 do not constitute a small subsidy.

Despite such revelations even in western media outlets, even if in hushed tones to not shine too bright a light on its backers, the SOHR continued to be a go-to source for many western media outlets.

When NATO began bombing Libya in May 2011, western media outlets began projecting the Viagra rape story of Libyan soldiers.

The myth of Muammar Qaddafi distributing Viagra to his soldiers to have people raped was even “confirmed” by Luis Moreno-Ocampo, Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court.

Except that it was completely false.

But by “confirming” such fake news publicized by western news outlets gave them an aura of credibility.

In the war in Ukraine, propaganda is regularly referenced as a Russian disinformation campaign.

One rarely hears western media outlets discussing propaganda in relation to the Ukrainian side.

When a prominent Danish journalist Matilde Kimer recently announced that the Kiev regime tried to pressure her to engage in pro-Ukrainian propaganda, this received little or no coverage in the western media.

Instead, it was confined to a niche news source, the Interecept.

Compared to unrefined propaganda, western news organizations are quite experienced at manipulating information.

They have a lot of experience in projecting falsehoods and have become quite sophisticated.

Most of their non-western competitors are no match for them.

In his book, Manufacturing Consent, Professor Noam Chomsky has explained this concept fully.

The positive news on the propaganda front is that as the west’s geopolitical hegemony declines, western news sources are forced to resort to crude propaganda techniques.

Thus, involuntarily they are unmasking themselves.

Examples from their recent coverage of Syria, Ukraine, Libya, Palestine, and Iran clearly show the decline in sophistication of western propaganda.

Additionally, the rise of non-west-centric professional journalists and journalism is also leveling the information playing field.

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