Western media has been getting its stories from a clandestine British government propaganda plant paying out salaries of up to $17,000
Darn! Don't you just hate it when a major "Syrian opposition" media outfit that is a frequent source of information for Western media turns out to be a western government front?
A story in Alternet yesterday exposes the media offices of something called the "Revolutionary Forces of Syria" is actually run by westerners based in Turkey and paid for by the British government.
The outfit gave itself away when it tried to recruit a managing editor. The guy in question turned down the job despite the eye-watering offer of $17,000 a month and blew the whistle on them instead:
“I would have been talking to opposition people on the ground and writing news pieces based on statements from media activists who are affiliated with the armed groups in places like Aleppo,” the reporter later explained.
The salary offered for this task was an eye-popping $17,000 a month.
The reporter ultimately decided not to pursue the RFS position because he felt it would be journalistically unethical.
“The idea that I would work for the government of a country that’s intimately involved in the Syrian conflict is one that’s incomprehensible for me as a journalist,” he told AlterNet.
“This was far beyond working for state-owned media in my opinion. It was to actually be a mouthpiece for specific armed groups that are backed by a Western regime with a long history of disastrous interference in this region. That doesn’t mean I don’t have sympathy for people who are against the Syrian government. I am not pro-regime. At the same time, I am a journalist and would like to maintain my integrity at that level.”
The reporter declined to recommend others for the job, saying, “I’m not going to facilitate some dubious relationship between a reporter and what is obviously a propaganda outlet,” he said.
This clandestine propaganda operation is only one of many undertaken by the British government which has pumped $3 million into into pro-rebel propaganda outfits based out of Istanbul alone.
"Revolutionary Forces of Syria" has been the go-to source for the western media:
RFS’s videos and hashtags are regularly picked up by major Western media outlets. One of its videos has even been cited by human rights groups as evidence of Russian war crimes.
Among its most viral campaigns is #AvengersInAleppo, which featured photos of children living in East Aleppo holding up signs calling on Marvel comic book superheroes to save them. (East Aleppo is controlled by a number of extremist groups led by Al Qaeda’s renamed offshoot, Jabhat Fatah al-Sham.)
Prior to that, RFS capitalized on the popularity of Pokémon Go to sell a pro-interventionist message to Western audiences with photos of children in opposition-controlled areas of Syria holding up photos of Pokémon characters with messages calling for intervention.
The campaign garnered favorable media coverage from major outlets, including the Guardian, the Washington Post, CNN, the Independent, Reuters, and the BBC, none of which have bothered to question the origins of RFS or similar pro-opposition outlets.
— إعلام قوى الثورة (@RFS_mediaoffice)July 22, 2016
The biggest peddlers of "fake news" by far are western governments and the big media allied to them. Governments are doing anything to try and set the narrative:
After the political defeat [of the push for war in 2013], the U.K. Foreign Office embarked on a clandestine propaganda campaign to suppress the public’s anti-war sensibility, hiring private contractors to “produce videos, photos, military reports, radio broadcasts, print products and social media posts branded with the logos of fighting groups, and effectively run a press office for opposition fighters,” according to the Guardian.
The purpose of the propaganda, euphemistically referred to as “strategic communications” by the Foreign Office, is to clandestinely “influence the course of the war by shaping perceptions of opposition fighters” and provide “strategic communications and media operations support to the Syrian moderate armed opposition.”
And the media is doing a very fine job of going along and amplifying the message:
The warped picture of Syria that has been provided to Western media consumers is not the fault of the Syrian opposition, which is merely advancing its own most immediate public relations needs without regard for the objective truth, as combatants in war often do. It is, however, a damning indictment of a media establishment that has failed to scrutinize convenient pro-war narratives that serve their own governments’ geopolitical interests.
Your government is planting lies into your press and you're paying for it! (As you would pay for the war they want.)