A Tale of Two Crackdowns

English: President Bashar al-Assad of Syria . ...

President Bashar al-Assad of Syria. Things would go better for his opponents if he looked at least slightly menacing. Original background. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today I’ve been reading Western media coverage of a U.S.-backed military offensive by the government of Yemen that has killed hundreds of people. This effort has included U.S. Special Forces and drone flights. Literally every news article used terms like “militants,” “terrorists,” and “Al Quada terrorists” to describe the dead. Keep in mind this military offensive is taking place largely in civilian areas, regular cities and towns. Yet everyone killed was a “bad guy.”

Virtually every time the U.S. fires a missile from a drone and ends the lives of Muslims, American media outlets dutifully trumpet in headlines that the dead were “militants” – even though those media outlets literally do not have the slightest idea of who was actually killed. They simply cite always-unnamed “officials” claiming that the dead were “militants.” It’s the most obvious and inexcusable form of rank propaganda: media outlets continuously propagating a vital claim without having the slightest idea if it’s true.

I can’t help but notice how Syrian government offensives in its cities and towns are almost invariably described as “massacres” of “civilians.” (Guess which regime the U.S. supports.) Likewise, imagine if the current Vice President of Syria ran unopposed and was elected Syrian President. Western leaders would call it a sham election and an outrage. When it happened recently in Yemen, however, President Obama hailed it as a peaceful political transition on Yemen’s road to democracy.

To be clear, I believe the Assad regime has indeed killed or tortured many of its citizens and is despicable. I also have no doubt there are a bunch of guys in Yemen who violently oppose U.S. interests in the region. I just wish the mainstream media would provide objective coverage once in a while, and not simply parrot the latest press release from Washington.

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