Propaganda and Syria
A few weeks ago, it became clear that the governments of the West had decided they were going to attack Syria after years of delay. Unfortunately, the Western public were not keen on the idea, and were particularly sceptical of their governments after the lies that had been told in order to start the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Later, the governments changed their minds again, and decided that a political ‘solution’ was a better bet.
What interests me about this is what happened in the so-called “independent” media – here in the UK, the BBC and Channel 4 as I watch them the most, although the same was going on on Sky and the other channels too (I watched them too occasionally).
When William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, announced that Syria had suddenly gone too far with its (probable) use of chemical weapons, and (coincidentally? I think not) President Obama announced the same thing at much the same time in the USA, it was obvious that the general public were dead against any more foreign interventions.
So what happened? Almost immediately, we started seeing stories in the “news” programmes such as Channel 4 News, Sky News, and on the BBC, at least, about poor Syrian child refugees suffering and homeless, running from bombs and planes. Day after day we had more and more reports about the poor Syrian children, and it was both implied and occasionally clearly stated that they would continue to suffer if we didn’t intervene to prevent it.
The Western public, for a change, didn’t instantly change their minds in response to the propaganda – not because they’re suddenly developing a moral spine or anything, I think, but partly because the Western governments are becoming less and less credible generally, and partly because the propaganda stopped suddenly when the Russians came forward with a reasonable political compromise: Syria would join the UN convention on chemical weapons.
And what happened? The stories about the poor suffering Syrian children all but instantly vanished from our screens.
Independent media? I don’t think so.
And the Syrian children? Apparently nobody cares about them any more.