Saturday, June 15, 2013

War Journalism by Omission

Obama and Harper agree that there is evidence that the Syrian Government used chemical weapons against the rebels. CBC dutifully reports this. That's fine.

Harper agrees Syrian regime used chemical weapons

Canadian PM's comments come day after White House announced it has conclusive proof

However it is obvious to even the most simple-minded observer that Obama is looking for an excuse to increase US military aggression against yet-another Muslim, Middle Eastern country, so the credibility of Obama's claim should immediately be suspect.

But even if CBC does not want to call Obama a liar, and Harper a sycophant, the article should have been balanced with a number of other facts that would have undermined the war-mongering potential of the Obama/Harper claims. Just echoing these claims, without providing the balancing information, constitutes war journalism. They are weaponized words. Peace journalism would require CBC to at least note the following balancing points:

- there is evidence, noted by the UN, that the rebels used poison gas against government forces
- there is evidence that the majority of rebels are not even Syrians, but are foreign extremists
- there is evidence that the rebels have committed terrible atrocities against Syrian civilians
- there is evidence that the rebels actually massacred women, and children in a Syrian Christian village, just because of their religion
- there is evidence that the Syrian Government has turned the tide of the fighting and has the rebels on the run (which is strong evidence that the government has significant support from both the Syrian military establishment and the general population).
- there is evidence that a rebel victory in Syria would at best create a divided, chaotic country, and at worst turn Syria into a Taliban-style extremist country.

Obama and Harper's hypocritical concerns about the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian Government (which probably did not happen) are designed to justify the killing and maiming of thousands of Syrians due to military actions to be carried out and supported by the US, Canada and others. Sending more weapons to the rebels, or establishing a no-fly zone over Syria would be crimes against the Syrian people.

If CBC were not so keen to support Israel, a country that wants to see Syria crippled and divided, and has no reservations about seeing Syrian civilians dying in droves, maybe CBC would then not be so committed to war journalism, and tell the whole story. Canadians, who pay their bills, deserve a lot more balance and honesty from CBC than they are getting.

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