Thursday, December 30, 2010
BARRY RUBIN: THE SYRIANS DUPING OF A COUPLE OF DOPES
The trouble is, they keep making fools of themselves in their foreign policy making in spite of all the obvious evidence to the contrary. This happens to be one of the most ruinous, disaster prone administrations ever. Assad is laughing his chinless face off. KGS By Barry Rubin
Since I have written about how easily fooled Western politicians, officials, journalists, and academics are by Middle Eastern radicals, I’m going to try to provide examples in a regular feature called Dopes of the Day. This is a good starting point.
There is a newspaper in Lebanon called al-Akhbar. Curiously, while other newspapers are in decline or starved for funds, al-Akhbar is expanding. The New York Times reporter fell for the foolish notion that this newspaper is some model of independence and enterprise. In fact, it is not exactly a secret in Lebanon that it is a hard-line, Syrian backed newspaper that repeatedly slanders the moderate forces there as well as delivers propaganda for Hizballah. And that’s where the money comes from.
So the Times is cheering a Syrian propaganda operation just as, not long ago, the Guardian went into rhapsodies about a supposedly wonderful publication in Turkey that is a front for the Islamists and producing false material that enabled the regime there to throw innocent people into prison on trumped-up charges of conspiring to overthrow the government.
Any serious investigation should have shown the true nature of al-Akhbar but the reporter couldn’t even find anyone to quote on this point, apparently not even trying to produce a balanced article, much less an accurate one.
Instead here’s what we get:
“It was the latest coup for a five-year-old paper that has become the most dynamic and daring in Lebanon, and perhaps anywhere in the Arab world. In a region where the news media are still full of obsequious propaganda, Al Akhbar is now required reading, even for those who abhor its politics.”
But perhaps this free advertising for a Hizballah and Syrian parrot can be explained by the article’s lead:
“Ibrahim al-Amine, the hawk-eyed editorial chairman of Al Akhbar, describes his newspaper’s founding ambitions this way: `We wanted the U.S. ambassador to wake up in the morning, read it and get upset.’”
Read the rest here at Barry’s