Reports from foreign and independent media clash with the dominant media narrative that demonizes Russia and President Assad of Syria for crimes against Aleppo’s besieged civilians.
“Unlike the corporate mainstream media, I have been in East Aleppo for the last three days.” Vanessa Beeley, a British investigative journalist, has seen the carnage first hand. “Many of the testimonies…told us that they had been incarcerated for the last four years by the various U.S.-backed terrorist militant groups such as Al-Nusra Front, Ahrar al-Sham, Harakat Nour al-Din al-Zenki whom we know beheaded the 12 year old Palestinian child.” The child’s videotaped execution was discovered in July. “We were told stories about civilians who were trying to leave this imprisonment when the Russian and Syrian governments opened the humanitarian corridors.”
(Eva Bartlett, an independent Canadian journalist who has spent time in the war zones of Syria, including Aleppo. Speaking at a U.N. conference, she faces a hostile audience of mainstream reporters. Snopes points to two factual errors made in Bartlett’s nearly hour-long presentation. The popular fact-checking website ignores her many other allegations and likens her testimony, rated as “false,” to that of Sandy Hook conspiracy theorists.)
Mainstream media assert the exact opposite. “My strong advice to President Putin would be to follow John Kerry’s advice and end that carnage and killing spree right now. So should Assad, so should the Syrian army. It is a joke to treat them as liberators; they are mass-murdering civilians,” says Brent Budowski, columnist for the Hill. “We can witness day by day dead babies by dead babies. You can watch the CNN, the BBC, any other television station.”
Beeley doesn’t buy it. She points to the lack of electricity in Aleppo’s war zones, making Skype connections impossible. More importantly, she asks how mainstream media gets their facts without journalists on the ground. Sources are second hand, typically the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) or the White Helmets.
(Vanessa Beeley and Brent Budowski square off in a lively debate over the truth about Aleppo.)
Both groups have come under fire as fronts for the Syrian opposition. SOHR is a one-man operation run out of a modest house in Coventry, England, by Rami Abdulrahman. He claims to have over 200 activists in Syria, including six who were killed. All that is verified are Abdulrahman’s meetings with opposition forces and evasion of skeptical reporters. The White Helmets are glorified in the media and streamed on Netflix as a purely humanitarian force. “Yet they are embedded with Al Nusra Front, ISIS and affiliated with the majority of U.S. allied terrorist brigades infesting Syria,” says Beeley. She points out that the majority of Syrians she has met have never heard of the White Helmets, and how they were started and funded to the generous tune of $60 million by the US, UK and other states that back regime change in Syria.
The gulf between independent and mainstream reporting ties into the recent blitz against so-called “fake news” and “Russian infiltration” of news sites. The Washington Post shot the first salvo, naming 200 “fake” news sites connected to Russia. The Post now faces a lawsuit for using an unknown, unverifiable organization as its main source.
“This is the same media that lie(d) though its teeth about Iraq; that lied through its teeth about Benghazi, about the slaughters that were not happening there,” argues Daniel McAdams, executive director at the Ron Paul Institute. “There are no foreign media sources in East Aleppo right now. They are not on the ground. They are all using information that they are getting through rebel sources.”
I am a beat reporter here at The Daily Voice, and a writer and editor for DailyTwoCents.com and Writedge.com. My interests are wide ranging outside of the virtual newsroom, yet here I mainly focus on serious world news and commentary. I graduated from the University of Washington with a B.A. in history.