Sputnik Italy interviewed Roberto Vivaldelli, author of the book “Fake news. Manipolazione e propaganda mediatica, dalla guerra in Siria al Russiagate" (“Fake news. Manipulations and media propaganda, from war in Syria to Russiagate”), to discover how Western media perceive reports on Syria.
Sputnik: Why did Western media ignore the testimony by a Syrian boy who had been documented in a video from Douma?
Vivaldelli: They ignored it because it conflicts with the official information on Syria that we have obtained until now. Italian and Western media believe that everything reported by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, or the White Helmets is the truth. Any testimony that differs from their views is automatically regarded as Russian propaganda.
Western media suppress these facts, although the situation is extremely grave: they trust any footage and report by the White Helmets, which reveals how “unbiased” they are. Their reports can be published, but they should not tell their readers who they really are. They are not impartial. Nevertheless, the “evidence” provided by the group was enough to fire missiles on Syria, thus violating international law.
Sputnik: How could a video, provided by a non-transparent NGO, the White Helmets, become the rationale for a strike against Syria? How would you explain it from a journalist’s point of view?
Vivaldelli: It is wrong, but it doesn’t surprise me. We’ve heard the same story since 2011; at first there were moderate rebels, then they noticed that they were not so moderate; then there is this undoubtedly controversial organization. Italian and Western media, however, prefer not to notice its “dark sides;” the fact that the group was founded by an ex-intelligence agent should have raised doubts on its objectivity.
Russia was claimed to have been against an independent investigation at the UN, but, to my mind, it was the rebels that shot at the OPCW inspectors upon their arrival in Douma. Someone doesn’t want this probe to be launched, while Russia and Syria have demonstrated a total readiness to participate in the independent investigation. Someone decided to attack Syria without obtaining the results of the investigation at first and rushed to conclusions, having made a big mistake.
Sputnik: Journalists don’t get much time on air to cover their reports live, while TV channels compete in rhetorical debates, not knowing the facts. Can we regard the situation in Syria as a graphic illustration of how information becomes a tool, that’s being excessively used?
Vivaldelli: Some journalists still visited Syria. For instance, expert on the Middles East, Robert Fisk from The Independent, made a wonderful report on Syria, but, the same media certainly considered him a pro-government journalist. The problem is that no one else traveled there. Until proven otherwise, Robert Fisk’s opinion inspires more respect than the views of those who haven’t even been to Syria and remain satisfied with claims made by biased organizations. It is more convenient and it doesn’t take much time, but it can hardly be called high-quality journalism.
The views expressed in this article are solely those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.
The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.