Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
April 19, 2012

AP's Poor Reporting On Syria

Which news agency is doing the better in reporting from Syria? Which one is most near to the action? Which one has better sources? Here is an answer.

The Associated Press reports from Beirut, Lebanon: UN Monitors Flee Syrian Protest After Gunfire

Syrian security forces opened fire Wednesday on anti-regime demonstrators surrounding the cars of a U.N. team meant to monitor a shaky cease-fire, sending the observers speeding off and protesters dashing for cover, according to activists and amateur videos.

Xinhua reports from Damascus, Syria: Head of UN observers denies coming under fire in Damascus' suburb

Head of the UN advance observer team to Syria denied that his team came under fire in one of the hotspot suburbs of Syria's capital Damascus on Wednesday.

Speaking to reporters after finishing a tour in the Damascus suburb of Arbeen, Moroccan Col. Ahmed Himmiche said that his team didn't come under fire there, ...

So while Xinhua has reporters and photographers on the ground in Syria, AP's reporter used Skype to talk to some activists allegedly in Syrian and, sitting in his Beirut office, watched some Youtube clips. Obviously the AP reporting here is inadequate and thereby unreliable. One should keep that in mind when reading other AP stories.

Posted by b on April 19, 2012 at 6:03 UTC | Permalink


Ahmad El Khalaf the new "Danny"?

Posted by: Rod | Apr 19 2012 8:54 utc | 1

Sometimes you do get glimpses on what is going on on the ground, you get they neither from Beirut nor Damascus, you do not have to sneak into Syria dangerously either. Just ask some questions in Turkey.
Though the two journalists have published in western media, they seem to only have found Asia Times for this one

"Similarly, Orwa told us the Syrian National Council (SNC), the main opposition umbrella group based in Turkey, visited Yayladagi this week and met with the camp committee that is made up of almost entirely of Muslim Brotherhood members selected by the Turkish government. While the Brotherhood isn't a major force in Syria, what it has is money - lots of it. And it's using that clout to build stronger ties with the Turkish government and to develop more support from needy refugees. "


"Political and religious factionalism among Turkish human-rights groups in Antakya has also stifled efforts to adequately aid refugees in the nearby camps. Hatay province was, prior to 1939, part of Syria and is home to a large Alawite population, many of whom support the Assad regime. The majority of the refugees in the camps, however, are anti-Assad Sunnis, creating extreme tension in the region.

A conversation with Mithat Can - one of the most prominent human-rights activists in Antakya and a man with the power to affect aid flowing into the camps - drove home just how much old enmities are affecting the way supposed advocates are dealing with needy refugees.

Can, an Alawite, bluntly told us: "There is no war in Syria. The conflict in Syria," he said, "is not between the government and the people." According to him, there is an international imperialist plot by "Western gods" to remake the Middle East. He also claimed that the Syrian army was not targeting citizens at all, stating that the turmoil in the country stemmed from the fact that the Syrian government would not allow foreign intervention alter the political and economic landscape of the region."

Posted by: somebody | Apr 19 2012 10:03 utc | 2

The pattern seems to be that Muslim observers who do not issue reports which support the West's ambitions for regime change in Syria are, well, simply not reported on or reported only in non-Western based media. And the "cannot be independently corroborated" reports from the Western backed "activists" get all the coverage.

Which is making Western MCM (Mainstream Corporate Media) more and more worthless. Acting as the governmental outlets, serving the Powers That be may be a short term means to the all-prized "access," but it also leads to irrelevance. Soon that irrelevance will be irrevocable..

Not for nothing are the WaPo and NYTimes referred to as Pravda on the Potomac and Isvestia on the Hudson.

Posted by: jawbone | Apr 19 2012 13:24 utc | 3

Last year someone started a blog called AP Deconstructed.
It got off to a promising start but petered out before the end of the year.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Apr 19 2012 14:34 utc | 4

"Not for nothing are the WaPo and NYTimes referred to as Pravda on the Potomac and Isvestia on the Hudson."

I can't speak about Izvestia but Pravda is far more amusing, interesting and truthful than the Washington Post.

Posted by: blowback | Apr 19 2012 15:06 utc | 5

This is not strictly reporting, but media in gen:

The wives of the UN ambassadors of GB and Germany have sent a letter and produced a video clip addressed to Asma al-Assad, wife of Bashar.

by Sheila Lyall Grant and Huberta von Voss-Wittig - super! double barrel names. ;)

It shames Asma, castigates, is cruel, and makes an appeal.

Its projected audience is not Asma but the larger public.

It resembles teen mocking cruel vid clips, sorority hate, and authoritarian ‘family interventions.’

I’m amazed this stuff saw the light of day.

the site is in F, the vid is in English.

( link = Le Monde, F respectable newspaper)

Ppl undersestimate, I think, the impact of this kind of stuff.

Posted by: Noirette | Apr 19 2012 15:20 utc | 6

@Noirette, 6

Le Monde is no longer a 'respectable' newspaper since it was bought by Lagardère, French arms magnate, and infiltrated by corporate interests with Alain Minc, a long time ago. Le Monde has become a carpet to these interests. Actually there is no respectable newspaper now in France. I only read Marianne2 but with a grain of salt...

Posted by: Sophia | Apr 19 2012 16:14 utc | 7

@ Noirette, 6 But one has to make a difference between Le Monde and le Monde Diplomatique which appears only once a month. They are completely different entities.

Posted by: Sophia | Apr 19 2012 16:15 utc | 8

well it is newsworthy as the video is more or less official

"U.S. Embassy Syria ‏ @USEmbassySyria

The U.S. Embassy in Damascus did not produced this video, but we fully support its effort..."

I think they are trying to get at her because she comes across as very sympathetic to Western audiences. They are trying to undo her very effective image campaign. (they say as much openly in the video)

I don't think it works, it is too obvious, and "stand by your man" probably is what most people sympathize with.

Posted by: somebody | Apr 19 2012 18:20 utc | 9

The only reason for an occasional look at AP, WaPo, NYT, etc. on a particular issue is that the reportage or lack of it, and the slant of the distortion, can sometimes provide clues on the imperial hidden agenda with respect to that issue. B's analysis on the Syrian "reportage" lets us know that there is no plan for peace in that region. It's like how the Russians read Pravada and Izvestia back in Soviet times.

Posted by: JohnE | Apr 19 2012 18:44 utc | 10

@#9 More likely they are wondering if she gets a special rate at Chanel.

Posted by: dh | Apr 19 2012 18:48 utc | 11

well, somehow the US always seems to end up with the worst of allies ...

"The secular Syrian liberals and leftist groups that have most in common in Western values don't want NATO intervention, while it's exactly the kind of people who don't much like us -- the aging remains of the Muslim Brotherhood, as well as the newer, more radical Sunni salafists -- who are begging for our help.

Who knows: If the unthinking drift toward creating neo-mujahideen in Syria and Iran (a strategy advocated by Foreign Policy's own James Traub) continues, following a decade in which radical Sunnis became America's Public Enemy No. 1, Osama bin Laden might have to be posthumously converted back into the freedom fighter America saw him as in the 1980s, marching into battle to drive out one of the last vestiges of godlessness in the Middle East."

Posted by: somebody | Apr 19 2012 19:22 utc | 12

Here's some good behind-the-scenes reporting on Syria.
Peter Lee (Asia Times) on Turkey's Syria stance.
Turkey: The odd man in

Here's the punchline...
"The fact is, Turkey is very far out on a limb on Syria and, at this point, can only be grateful that the international community has not sawn it off."

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Apr 20 2012 15:49 utc | 13

When are we going to see such programs on American or British TV?
In 100 years maybe...

Posted by: Amar | Apr 20 2012 16:26 utc | 14

Syria's foreign minister Al-Moallem said a couple of days ago : "There is a lack of objective media coverage of the events [about Syria in the foreign media]. More than 70 international and Arab channels are distorting facts, and this biased media is part of the conspiracy against Syria."

The Western and most Arab media reports about Syria are built on a foundation of bigotry and prejudice. The key reason why Syria and Russia, and other real friends of Syria, want a UN observer mission to be in Syria today, and why they wanted the Arab League observer mission in Syria last December, is that the Western and most Arab news media have failed to see and report the objective reality. The mission of the UN observers is to observe the reality, objectively. At least that's the Syrian government's definition of what their mission is.

There is such as thing as objective reality.

Posted by: Parviziyi | Apr 20 2012 17:56 utc | 15

Sophia, when I said Le Monde is a respectable newspaper, I meant the link will not lead to a porn site / a strange video site or the like. It is considered a respectable newspaper, as is the NYT or the Guardian.

As for the Le Monde Diplomatique, that is, as you say, a different paper.

Asma was previous a tremendous hit in the W:

The Only Remaining Online Copy of Vogue's Asma al-Assad Profile

see also:

Syria’s ‘Rose In The Desert’ Calls Herself The ‘Real Dictator’ As Syria Breaks

Posted by: Noirette | Apr 20 2012 19:23 utc | 16

Re: the video pressuring Asma Assad to "tell her husband" what to do --

I'd love to see Michelle Obama telling Obama to break with the Big Banksters and support the needs of the poor and the unemployed. Or to take public stand against her husband that she should stop the drone attacks, stop developing a system of law in the US which is used primarily against Muslims, stop harassing states which have legalized medical marijuana and stop harassing small businesses and non-profits which supply marijuana for medical prescriptions. Michelle was a lawyer and she should be telling Barry to stop trampling on civil liberties and Constitutionally guaranteed rights.

Shouldn't be too difficult to put together a shaming video....

Same things are needed for the wives of Sarkozy and Cameron -- or for any spouses/significant others of EU and other nations going after Syria. Definitely videos are sorely needed for shaming spouses and significan others of any nations practicing lethal austerity when stimulus is what's needed.

Posted by: jawbone | Apr 20 2012 23:03 utc | 17

lack of objective media coverage by MSM is making RT more popular alternative:

Russia Today or post-Aljazeera era
I have no evidence and no survey to base this on, but I am gathering more anecdotal evidence that the Russian Arabic TV, RT, is gaining more viewership in the Arab world. I receive it on one of my satellite dishes here at home but never bothered to watch. I should. Even its website is gaining popularity. I think that this is part of the post-Aljazeera era that we have entered.
Posted by As'ad AbuKhalil

Posted by: brian | Apr 21 2012 2:23 utc | 18

‎#Syrian "opposition" sprawls the gore websites, finding Mexican executions and pinning it on the army:!/syriancommando/status/193601096739069952/photo/1
so turkey and israel and US can use force against insurgents but not Syria?

Posted by: brian | Apr 21 2012 12:48 utc | 19

SyriaNewsENG ‏ @SyriaNewsENG2 Reply Retweet Favorite · Open
I posted 4 photos on Facebook in the album "#Syria #RealSyria│Destruction in Inshaat neighborhood, Homs"
Retweeted by ✩ Syrian Commando ✩

Posted by: brian | Apr 21 2012 14:16 utc | 20

Latest from penny on Syria:

Posted by: ben | Apr 21 2012 15:09 utc | 21

"Do you have proof ...." oddly, this type of questioning is not the norm for the BBC of late nor most media "outlets" ... I wonder what the difference can be?

Posted by: Rod | Apr 22 2012 10:20 utc | 22

Substitute "Syria" for "Bahrain' in the article about the Gran Prix race and imagine the hue and cry in the Western MCM and from the Regime Change backers....

Posted by: jawbone | Apr 22 2012 16:40 utc | 23

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