The mainstream media often rushes ahead with its predetermined narrative, at the expense of the truth. When it comes to a place as controversial as Syria, it’s hard to tell which sources are trustworthy… and the gut-reaction of mainstream news producers has been to simply accept every photo or video that corroborates their narrative regardless.
While lapses of judgement and mistakes are to be expected, one must note that the mainstream media has dedicated fact checkers, and yet makes these “mistakes” far too often.
This was true when they perpetuated the narrative that several hospitals had been bombed by Russia- it turns out that this was a hoax. It matters not for the mainstream media, for they can always say that the “Syrian Observatory For Human Rights“( just Google “Syrian observatory credible” for yourself then suspend your disbelief as every mainstream source quotes it or an unnamed human rights group) or the “White Helmets” or some other obscure group with an official-sounding name made the claim- a claim that they chose to promote despite the lack of any real evidence provided by these sources, and despite the actions of these sources that prove that they are unreliable.
The starving people of Madaya, Syria, have become a new hot-button issue for people… and so it has also been a breeding-ground for the dispersion of false information. This is not to say that there are or aren’t any starving people in Madaya. However, the pictures and videos used to tug on people’s heart-strings and the real reason for their suffering have been viewed from only one perspective.
For example, Fox-backed VICE News had to retract photos of malnourished children which it claimed to have been taken in Madaya after receiving emails from watchful readers. The photos had really been taken elsewhere, and were recycled.
21st Century Wire notes that the BBC had recycled footage from Yarmouk, Palestine in 2014.
Al Jazeera has also tweeted several questionable images, one of which is portrayed below.
In fact, the picture had been taken much earlier- in 2007, and is of a regular homeless man. Funny how more people start caring when the starving man is located further away.
Interestingly, the background and his tissue packets were photo-shopped away and replaced with stormy weather so that it would specifically fit the narrative.
Then there’s the picture that went viral, allegedly showing a pretty young girl (dubbed the Mona Lisa of Syria) who becomes all skin and bones after starving in Madaya:
The mainstream news ran with the picture, but soon had to retract it. Even France 24 would report that it was faked. The image on the right was really that of a Lebanese girl who continues to be in good health. The image on the left was used to show that starvation was occurring in Ghouta, about a year earlier.
Then there’s talk of how cruel the Syrian government was to besiege the “rebel-held” city and starve the residents out; to play devil’s advocate, let’s see what RT found when they entered the area and interviewed residents:
Residents who were interviewed by RT and AP seem to believe that supplies and aid were stolen by the rebels, and that the rebels were the ones who were not allowing them to leave the territory.
Was Assad preventing civilians from leaving, or the rebels? Or both? Who knows, but RT seems to be the only mainstream media source willing to actually enter the area and find out- though the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights’ word seems to suffice for all the rest.
Then there’s the cases of starving pro-government civilians being surrounded by Islamist rebels, a story that has been largely ignored by the mainstream media: according to The Independent, Foua and Kefraya were surrounded by Islamist rebels for months as well. The Syrian government was in fact willing to lift the siege in exchange for similar concessions from the rebels there in prior negotiations. One wonders why the starving populace of these two towns have not received similar coverage.
Then, there is the fact that the rebels who are trapped in Madaya and who besieged the other two cities are largely from the Ahrar al-Sham faction. You might notice that the mainstream media has refrained from pointing this out in most cases, and this is because (as acknowledged by Foreign Policy) the faction works closely with al-Qaeda affiliate al-Nusra.
“They are very tight with al-Nusra,” said Joshua Landis, the director of the University of Oklahoma’s Center for Middle East Studies.
All this goes to show how many shades of grey there are in Syria- and that the mainstream media has been caught out surprisingly often for supporting the “moderate” rebels’ shade… even to the extent of twisting facts. Simply because, as was revealed by WikiLeak cables, it has long been in the US government’s interest to see Assad fall and Islamic extremists take over.
This Article (The Truth Behind The Starvation In Madaya, Syria) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to the author(CoNN) and AnonHQ.com.