On Syria, Russia Today vs. BBC.

Below are two reports filed on February 4, 2012 on the conflict within Syria. One by Russia Today and the other by BBC. With President Obama saying “regime change,” I think it is clear if the U.N. resolution was passed, Syria would be attacked by NATO – like what happened recently to Libya. More striking than anything else, these two reports show journalism is not about journalism anymore. Is the BBC the liar? Is Russia Today the liar? I remember hearing the motto, “we report, you decide.” I think for today, it is “we must seek out many sources and then decide.”


Russia Today on Syria

BBC on Syria

22 thoughts on “On Syria, Russia Today vs. BBC.

  1. ppl don’t realise but both the BBC and RT receive state funding and therefore may function as foreign policy assets, not dissimilar to media barons like rupert murdoch/ted turner having close affiliations with political parties in the US.

    All of the above media stations have foreign policy agendas to fulfil, therefore their views should be taken with a massive grain of salt.

  2. This whole Syria thing is nothing but a repeat of Libya. The West exploited some race or faction within Syria to fight against the government (no less different like the West exploiting Uyghurs and Tibetans in China) and they got the ‘Free Syrian Army’ that is based on Turkey. It is a good thing that China and Russia intervene. Otherwise, we will see tens to hundreds of thousands of Syria die needlessly. Another thing, the West has less incentive to attack Syria because they don’t have as much oil as Libya.

  3. zack :ppl don’t realise but both the BBC and RT receive state funding and therefore may function as foreign policy assets, not dissimilar to media barons like rupert murdoch/ted turner having close affiliations with political parties in the US.
    All of the above media stations have foreign policy agendas to fulfil, therefore their views should be taken with a massive grain of salt.

    Media barons influence Politics.
    State funded media are controlled by politicans.
    BBC for all their supposily neutrality does have a poliitical leaning. like any other organization.
    to brand youself as neutral is laughable in this day and age.

  4. @dan

    If you look at the Libyan fiasco you would see a similar resolution was adopted before the one resolution that allowed “protect the civilians”. i.e. full intervention on behave of the rebels by an outside power. this resolution does not address that there is a civil war. If adopted and adhered to Syrian Government would have to basically give up fighting the armed rebels.
    essentially render them bounded. In another word, the regime would not be able to adhere to security council resoltion and survive. So it would not be adhere to. Once the security council finds they are in violation, step two will follow, as the “human rights” zealot known as Susan Rice would see to it.

    bottom line is Syria is in a state of civil war, and it is unfortunate that the government of Syria is seen by rest of arab league (i.e. Saudis) as an ally of Iran.

    I am after all an Humanitarian and I am sure, Dan, that you are one too.
    History has taught us that foreign intervention in civil wars rarely produce less human death and suffering in long term than a fully internalized civil war.

    Short term it may seems that less human death and suffering would result in an intervention. but Intervention itself would invaritablly add extra dimension and complexity to what already is an maddening complex problem.

    So It may sound cruel and inhumane but I want:
    more people die in short term but less people die in longer terms;
    rather than less people die in short terms but much more people die in long term.

    we here in west are accostomed to sit in comfort of our homes watching human tragedy half way around the world and wonder why can one just stop it. then you turn off your television and computer. and wonder about what’s for dinner. this is the typical attention span of the popular support for intervention. needless to say it is much less than what’s really required.
    The people who are making these decisions, I am sorry to say are idiots.

  5. Donna Changstein :
    Why do you so often link to sites which are blocked within China? Says a lot about where most of you are they you don’t see a problem with this…

    Actually the biggest problem I see with the Western perspective on China is the group of people (including many “journalists”) who view anything and everything which speak positively about the Chinese government to be bad. Of course, the same group of people cheer every time when a negative piece of news comes out of China because they think anything piece of news which puts Chinese government in a bad light is good.

    Censorship is definitely a problem in China, but how is that any worse than a biased Western media? In both environments citizens will not get the full picture to make informed decisions. Just because a site is censored by China doesn’t mean that the censored site posts any more accurate information than the Chinese government. If Donna is all for the truth, shouldn’t she be cheering at this site for exposing the errors made by Western media? Shouldn’t she be writing to BBC to urge for more accuracy and less bias?

  6. Donna Changstein :Why do you so often link to sites which are blocked within China? Says a lot about where most of you are they you don’t see a problem with this…

    which is sadder, a man who know he has a blinder in front of him, or a man who doesn’t realize he is blind?

    free speech has now become a convient cover for lack of free thinking.

  7. I agree with yinyang in that we must seek out as many sources as possible before we make up our minds about this issue – or any other, for that matter. The media is simply too opinionated to serve as objective reporting nowadays.

    Is Assad killing thousands or protesters, or is his government defending itself from rebels/insurgents/uprising? There’s just no way to tell at this point. For one thing, I don’t see how the Syrian regime can survive for as long as it had without serious supports among the populace. If it does, then this isn’t just about a government oppressing its people.

    The shooting needs to stop, but an UN resolution – even disregarding whether or not its laying groundwork for armed intervention – would simply make it harder for any discussion to take place since the uprising/opposition would be viewed as having the support of the UN. That makes it less likely the current Syrian regime would come to the table because the resolution puts them in a much weaker position in the negotiations.

    The Syrian matter reminds me of a slightly off topic comment section of the WSJ:

    “Jonah Thomas replied:

    You have a fundamental misunderstanding about US foreign policy. It’s important, so I will explain. I will explain the reasoning without arguing that it is correct — it is the way the USA behaves, completely apart from whether it is a good way to behave.

    Americans do not believe that different nations are equivalent. Americans believe that America is good, and nations that are friendly and subservient to America are good. Other nations are evil.When you say that what is good must be universal, it falls on deaf ears.

    We know that what is good is not universal because there are evil nations. What is good is USA and US allies. Obviously, we must not treat evil nations the same as good nations.Anything the USA does to evil nations is right and good and justified, because they are evil. If the USA had broken international treaties during WWII and the result was to destroy the Nazis faster, we believe it would have been a good thing. As it turned out we did not, because we believe the USA does not break treaties, but it would have been good. Since there is no equivalence between good nations and evil nations, anything we do to evil nations is right. But anything they do to us is wrong.

    Sometimes the USA makes treaties with evil nations. But when we do that we remember that we are
    compromising with evil. Naturally we feel it is right to break such treaties whenever we feel it is better to stop compromising with evil.The USA was created on the idea that all men are created equal. But in
    practice, we do not act as if policemen and judges are equal to other citizens. Some US citizens are good and others are equal. The police are supposed to be good and they are supposed to punish evil citizens. Similarly the USA acts as a global policeman, that punishes evil nations. Of course the rules for what police should do when they punish evil are different from the rules for what evil criminals should do when they commit evil.

    You say that China has the same right to collect information about the USA that the USA has to collect information about China. But the US belief is that China is run by evil communists. They have given up their principles because they know that communism does not work. They use capitalism to create great wealth but they mostly don’t share it with the workers they oppress. China probably wants to dominate
    the world. So anything the USA does to find out about their evil plans is good. But anything China does to find out how the USA plans to punish them for their evil, is bad.

    You could argue that this thinking is wrong. But Americans will not listen to your arguments. When you
    argue that good equals evil, they decide that you are proving you are evil.

    I must add a disclaimer. The USA has sophisticated foreign policy experts who do not think this way. They think more as you do. But mostly they behave as if the USA is good and any US opponents are evil. And when they give advice to US decision-makers, the decision-makers think this way and cannot be persuaded otherwise. “

  8. I remember a conversation on NPR not too long ago featuring Joshua Goldstein and Steven Pinker arguing that in our human history, today’s world is in fact less brutal. Yes, that takes into consideration of Iraqi deaths and other recent wars.

    In general, they argued, the death and destruction that we see today are in fact at their lowest levels in human history.

    They attributed this to UN peacekeepers placed in hotspots around the world. With UN’s presence, they are able to put a stop to blood feuds.

    This, as opposed to when external forces side with a particular faction (as in the case of NATO siding with rebels against the Libyan government), then it becomes an escalation of this blood feud.

    Goldstein and Pinker also pointed out, U.N. peacekeepers in fact shoot back when one party escalates the conflict.

    So, instead of trying to undermine U.N., the world in fact needs a stronger U.N. and have more peacekeepers. And it is as simple as that – if the world cannot come together to buttress for a stronger U.N., then, well, everyone should live with the consequences of might is right.

  9. Donna, nice Seinfeld reference. BTW VPNs are legal in China, and most high school kids at net bar will gladly show you how to use Proxy Hunter.

    The fact Forass stopped defending UN Resolution 1973 is pretty clear. Had Russia not stopped it, Syria too would’ve gone down the same road, with whatever resolution being abused for the sake of humanitarian imperialism, IMHO based on the pattern observed.

  10. The two-headed crone known as Shrillary – one ugly appendage is called Susie,the other rhymes with Billary – has been bitten back by the Russian bear; ending Shrillary’s “hysterical” calls of “disgusted” and “travesty” that have boomed through the West’s global propaganda machinery.

    Besides the sonic disinformation campaign to isolate the bear in its pit from the rest of the world, the media whores have also threatened dark consequences for China and its joint veto.

    Retaliation is threatened, with media-speak such as “complicating China’s testy relations with USA”, noting Xi Jinping’s upcoming trip to Washington. The leading propaganda rag known as New York Times even makes a comparison between China and the Arab spring.

    That’s really apples and oranges. The Arab protests were first sparked by a demand for the freedom from hunger, not freedom to vote. The background story is the demand for government that takes care of the people’s needs, not self-indulgent corrupt leaders who are beholden to foreign sponsorship.

    In China, protests have been against localized cases of misrule and inefficiency; not the policies of a government that has prospered the common man for the first time in 200 years. If foreign surveys such as Pew are credible, then approval for the “oppressive” Chinese government from the people is at an all-time high.
    Why fix the fountain of plenty – even if it doesn’t shower evenly on everyone – if it ain’t broke?

  11. @raffiaflower
    and meanwhile in the Land of Freedom, Occupy Wall Street protestors are brutalised and the mass media/government complex co-ordinate the marginalisation of the movement whilst ignoring the demands of the people: to fix underlying problems.

    really, it’s a bit of a pickle for the Establishment in the US; making motions to reform the system would be a tacit acknowledgement that the Washington Consensus has failed, even in Washington, therefore the propagandists are doing all they can to divert attention away from problems at home.

    isn’t anybody concerned about the USA’s growing military budget even in times of austerity? shouldn’t they explain themselves about why they need supercarriers, bases in the Phillipines and Australia if Washington is so broke?

  12. http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,2106257,00.html?iid=gs-author-mostpop2

    I thought this article is interesting, a la Libya. Here, the Free Syrian Army is portrayed as a bunch of rag tagged army but managed to fend off the Syrian government. But these guys managed to retreat back to some border town in Turkey to retrain, rearm and then return back to Syria. Not to mention that other countries like Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq was involved in this. Somehow this is already a kind of small regional war already.

  13. Now that everyone agrees that there is no point in the resolution which allows Nato military action in Syria I still have one question:
    “ In view of the concerns and stance of the Arab countries” China abstained and did not block the passing of the UN resolution on Libya.
    But now is was the Arab League itself that made the proposal on Syria and this time China used its veto ???

  14. pug_ster :http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,2106257,00.html?iid=gs-author-mostpop2
    I thought this article is interesting, a la Libya. Here, the Free Syrian Army is portrayed as a bunch of rag tagged army but managed to fend off the Syrian government. But these guys managed to retreat back to some border town in Turkey to retrain, rearm and then return back to Syria. Not to mention that other countries like Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq was involved in this. Somehow this is already a kind of small regional war already.

    … and Clinton and Rice still has the galls to condemn China and Russia for Vetoing what essentially a one sided intervention.

    here are some stuff from the atlantic
    http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2012/02/why-the-syrian-rebels-should-put-down-their-guns/252731/

    Essentially many in the western media even acknowledges that this is not a clear cut case of unarmed protesters vs Tanks of the regime.

    Yet they still carry about like if the insane formula of “duty to protect” is a god-given-cover to military intervention and installing a friendly regime.

    The leaders (both in Media, Politics, and Industry) in the western world are either mad that they have no compunction to kill more people to achieve a ultimate political goal; or that they have less intellectual capability to foresee the eventualities.

    They are either evil or idiots!

    And this is the bunch of people who rule the world. this world has no future. I;ll take china’s cautious non-interventionism any time thank you very much!

  15. Western Propaganda on overdrive!

    http://www.startribune.com/world/139008544.html

    According to this, Syrian’s security headquarters was targeted by 2 blasts killing 25 people in Aleppo, Syria. Of course, Syrian blame on the terrorists (Free Syrian Army.)

    http://www.france24.com/en/20120210-free-syrian-army-denies-deadly-bombing-aleppo-assad-un

    Of course, Free Syrian Army denies this, and blames on Assad on doing this. According to French propaganda, the security headquarters blew up after Free Syrian Army withdrew. Now why would Assad blow up its own security headquarters?

  16. http://worldnews.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/02/12/10389185-arab-league-wants-un-peacekeepers-in-syria

    Now even the Western propaganda admits that al-Qaida is helping to overthrow Assad.

    Late Saturday, al-Qaida chief Ayman al-Zawahri threw the terror network’s support behind Syrian rebels trying to topple President Bashar Assad, raising fears that Islamic extremists are exploiting the uprising that began peacefully but is quickly transforming into an armed insurgency.

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