Chuck Spinney: Syria Case Study of Mass Mind Numbing

Chuck Spinney

One of the ironies of the rise of the so-called information age is that the information content of the mainstream media has plummeted, while its practice of yellow journalism in the interest of warmongering has skyrocketed.  From the Arab-Israeli conflict to the non coverage of the murderous effects of sanctions in Iraq in the 1990s, to the distorted coverage of the Balkan wars culminating in Kosovo, to the hysteria fueling of the second Iraq war, Aghanistan, Libya, Iran, and now Syria, with a few exceptions, the mainstream press has been complicit in hyping conflicts — usually in Islamic regions — via oversimplified reporting and reliance on biased sources as opposed to making searching inquiries into the nuances shaping these conflicts.  These sound bytes of convenience and yellow journalism have overloaded and anesthetized critical faculties of the voting publics to such an extent that, today, the masses in the US and Europe (especially the UK) have become sheeplike in their passive acquiescence to perpetual war conducted in their name for alleged humanitarian reasons. [1]  

The attached report in Counterpunch by Professor Afshin Mehrpouya explores how shoddy reporting is now fomenting the Syrian crisis, and in so doing, he places the murderous implications of twin phenomena of overload and anesthetization into sharp relief.

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[1] One wonders if the governments of the West, especially in the US and UK, are now dependent on information overload, anesthetization of the mass mind, and perpetual war to distract their people from the crisis in capitalism that destroying the middle classes and increasing the income gap between a wealthy oligarchy and the other 99 percent.
Chuck Spinney
Barcelona


How One-Sided Reporting is Facilitating Escalation

Six Ways the Media Has Misreported Syria

by AFSHIN MEHRPOUYA, Counterpunch, 14 March 2012

As in the case of Libya, from NY Times to Fox News, from Guardian to National Post and from Le Monde to Le Figaro, the Western mainstream media’s coverage of the Syrian conflict has been mostly simplistic and black & white with a Hollywoodian good (opposition) and evil (Syrian government) story. The basic storyline reported is: “The dictatorial Syrian government is torturing and killing Syrian protestors and civilians including women and children and that the Western counties and the Arab League want to protect these Syrian civilians”. These outlets use any information that supports their stance regardless of its source and quality, and dismiss or ignore any information that brings it to question.

The bloody suppression of protestors by the Syrian government and also instability resulting from the armed insurgency aggravated by a complex set of foreign forces, each with its own set  of vested interests, have resulted in significant suffering for the people of Syria. Western media’s unquestioning, consensual, biased and melodramatic coverage of the Syrian events risks moving this conflict to a full blown war with grave consequences for the Syrian people and the region.

Here are the six ways that the Western media, across the board, have been uncritical and misleading in their coverage of the Syrian conflict:

1. What do the majority of Syrians want?

2. Is the Syrian National Council (SNC) and the militarized insurgency representative of the Syrian opposition?

3. How many casualties and killed by whom?

4. Are the information sources unbiased and credible?

5. What are the interests of countries pushing for regime change and foreign intervention?

6.    What are the “democratic credentials of the countries who want to take democracy to Syria?

Read full article (expands on all of the above).