Sunday, July 29, 2012

The uses of "news"

It's safe to assume that the big dogs in the world of news and commentary spend at least as much time perusing global news feeds as I do. One would like to think they spend even more.

That's why whenever some pip-squeak blogger has a "scoop" it's not because they've got a hyper-sensitive ear to the ground; it's because the BBC/Jazeera/Reuters universe has chosen to ignore the story.

Case in point; the Reuters "exclusive" the other day about the "nerve center" in Turkey from which the Syrian uprising is being managed. It is utterly inconceivable that the newsheads at Reuters just stumbled over that story this week.

You can be sure that along with anyone else who follows events they've been aware of that "secret" nerve center for the better part of the past year. Why do they choose to make it "news" at this time, and not before?

Not only is the supposedly secret nerve center not news, but the fact that American-sponsored advocacy groups have been busy on the ground in Syria for years fomenting this spontaneous rebellion isn't news either. That's a story that the big dogs haven't got around to telling much of yet.

I think that the reason some of this is coming out now is that almost a year and a half into this spontaneous uprising official circles have recognized that things aren't going according to the script. On the one hand, Assad has proven to be a lot more resilient than was expected. Not so much Assad personally, but the power structure around him.

We hear constantly about high-level defections. At various times entire armored units have supposedly defected, but for some reason we never see them turn their armor on the regime.

The other issue causing second thoughts is that our rebellion (and this is "our" rebellion, make no mistake) has to a large extent been hijacked, on the ground, by radical Islamists. That takes away the rationale for trying to replace Assad with a more US-friendly, Israel-friendly, and Exxon-friendly regime.

So we are seeing a shift in the reportage on the Syrian rebellion. Maybe Assad isn't such a bad apple after all...

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