At the same time some very important real news was either ignored altogether — or given only the scantiest coverage.
Here are ten of the biggest under-reported news stories of 2016. I'll leave you to come to your own conclusions as to why they didn't get the coverage they should have.
The War in Yemen
While Syria made the front pages, the US-backed war in Yemen received nowhere near the same attention.
Documented atrocities carried out by the Saudi-led coalition have been largely ignored. British Blairite MPs, so keen to show their concern about a non-existent 'Holocaust' in Aleppo in December, failed to support a Labour motion — calling for an independent UN investigation into violations of international law in Yemen, in October.
And the 'Something Must be Done' media brigade weren't too interested either. "Since the rejection of the motion, 'Do something!' crusaders like Aaronovitch, Freedland and Cohen have printed not a word about 'our' 'responsibility to protect' civilian life in Yemen," noted Media Lens on 3rd November.
In early 2011, Libya was 'the' big news story as concerned 'liberal interventionists' urged NATO to enforce 'no-fly zones' to stop the "New Hitler Colonel Gaddafi."
The son of a retired Libyan academic who spoke out against Muammar Gaddafi's regime says he fears the worst for his father and three of his brothers after they were "killing his own people" and carrying out "a Srebrenica-style massacre in Benghazi."
Well, NATO did intervene and Libya was destroyed. And guess what? The 'Do Something' crusaders in the western media are silent. The transformation of the country which had the highest standards of living in Africa into a terrorist-ridden "failed state" is not deemed to be newsworthy. In the words of Leslie Nielsen in the film Naked Gun, it's a case of: "Nothing to see here- please disperse!"
Tunisia — failed state— Stephen Miller (@redsteeze) December 21, 2016
Libya — failed state
Yemen — failed state
Syria — failed state
Obama admin had a hand in shaping each one.
Reconciliation in Syria
Good news from Syria doesn't get much, if any coverage- particularly if it shows the Syrian authorities in a positive light. But the Syrian government has implemented truce and reconciliation programs in and around Homs and Damascus and in other parts of the country too.
In July, President Assad offered an amnesty to antigovernment 'rebels' laying down their arms — and this was repeated in October.
Many rebels have taken up the offer and resumed their lives as civilians. The fact that reconciliation was underway in Syria should have been a big news story in 2016, but — surprise, surprise — given the pro regime-change bias of much of the media, it wasn't.
#2017 could be beginning of end for #ISIS. But w/o political reconciliation in Iraq/Syria, another violent entity, or entities, will arise— Colin P. Clarke (@ColinPClarke) January 1, 2017
62 People Owning Half of the World's Wealth
Yes, that's right — 62. Surely this is something news channels should have been giving major coverage to in 2016?
Surely Oxfam's Davos report should have kicked off debates about how the world's economy needs to be restructured in order to make the distribution of wealth more equitable? But the story didn't have legs.
How very convenient for the 62 people!
The Exoneration of Slobodan Milosevic
In 2016, the man who neocons and Blairites labeled "the Butcher of the Balkans" and whose "genocidal crimes" were used to promote the globalist doctrine of "liberal interventionism" was effectively declared "not guilty," by the very court which tried him.
The exoneration of a man accused of genocide made no headlines this month. Neither the BBC nor CNN covered it… https://t.co/x2RIM1SAQe— John Pilger (@johnpilger) August 23, 2016
As I wrote in August:
"The ICTY's [International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia] conclusion, that one of the most demonized figures of the modern era was innocent of the most heinous crimes he was accused of, really should have made headlines across the world. But it hasn't. Even the ICTY buried it, deep in its 2,590 page verdict in the trial of Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic who was convicted in March of genocide (at Srebrenica), war crimes and crimes against humanity."
The exoneration of the western elite's number one bogeyman of the late 90s did make front page news in Serbia, but in the western MSM the news was ignored, and those, like Andy Wilcoxson, John Pilger and myself, who did dare to write about it, were subject to vicious personal attacks by Establishment gatekeepers.
Rather like Sherlock Holmes' dog that didn't bark in the night-time, the non-coverage of this very important story told us everything we needed to know.
Global Warming: Another Record-Breaking Year for Temperatures
2016, according to the UN, is "very likely" to be the warmest year on record — meaning that 16 of the 17 hottest years on record will have been in the 21st century. In July, NASA revealed that each month from January to June in 2016 had been the warmest respective month globally — since modern temperature records began in 1880.
Yet despite this, climate change barely figured in the televised US Presidential debates, with the topic receiving just 2% of the total time.
"Climate change would not have been mentioned at all if it hadn't been for one question in the second debate from a man in a red sweater named Ken Bone," noted the Guardian.
Clearly, there were far more important topics for the candidates — and western news channels — to discuss in 2016, than the threat posed to the planet by climate change.
Western Powers and Middle East Allies Supporting Daesh
The unsubstantiated allegations that Russia was behind the hacks conveniently helped turn attention from the most damning revelations in the so-called Podesta emails. And this was probably the most newsworthy: On 19th August 2014, Hillary Clinton, wrote, "We need to use our diplomatic and more traditional intelligence assets to bring pressure on the governments of Qatar and Saudi Arabia, which are providing clandestine financial and logistic support to ISIL [Daesh] and other radical Sunni groups in the region."
In December, Turkey's President Erdogan, claimed that he had proof that the West was backing Daesh.
Erdogan: "It doesn't matter what brand the terror is in our country, Kurds or ISIS, it's the same manufacturer behind it" < US and Europe— Fuat Kircaali (@FuatKircaali) December 12, 2016
But like Clinton's email to John Podesta, this story didn't get the coverage it warranted. I wonder why…
Economic Collapse in 'Democratic' Ukraine
Ukraine was a big news story in 2014, when anti-government protestors — cheered on by western leaders — gathered in the Maidan, but what's gone on since then in the country hasn't made too many news bulletins.
The reality is that living standards in Ukraine have plummeted, with over half the country's population now living below the poverty level.
And guess what, corruption has increased too. But let's not talk too much about the 'success story' of another western regime-op shall we?
Devastating Impact of UK Gov't Cuts
Hospitals in England are on the brink of collapse because of government under-funding of the National Health Service (NHS).
The number of urgent operations canceled has reached a record level.
Difficult to justify UK's £1bn foreign aid in CASH when underfunded NHS & elderly care service is seeing job cuts, pay cuts, budget cuts.— Nikhil Sapre (@FineLogic) January 3, 2017
Meanwhile, hundreds of public libraries have closed. Cuts are having an adverse impact on the lives of millions of Britons.
Yet, the UK government, which says there's no alternative to austerity at home, does have the money to pursue neo-con foreign policy objectives.
Austerity's record: UK debt doubled. Productivity 17% less than projected in 2008). 2/3 top economists against. Rich have doubled wealth.— Marcus Chown (@marcuschown) January 3, 2017
In October, it was announced that the UK was to resume training 'rebels' in Syria. How fortunate for the British government that their use — and misuse — of taxpayers' money was not subject to greater media scrutiny in 2016.
The Inherent Racism of 'Liberal Interventionism'
We've heard a lot about racism in 2016, but very little — if any — coverage of the racism that underpins western foreign policy.
It's taken as a given, that politicians and establishment journalists in the UK, US and France have the right to say who should or shouldn't be allowed to govern a country of the global south, even by those who campaign against racism.
Imagine the reaction, if Syrian or Iraqi politicians called for regime change in the UK!
Why do 'we' have the right to intervene in 'their' countries, but 'they' have no right to intervene in ours?
It's a question you didn't hear asked on BBC Newsnight or other western news programmes in 2016. The most deadly form of racism was not a news story.
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