The Guardian's Jonathan Steele cites the results of a recent poll as evidence that the majority of Syrians support Bashar al-Assad. So why, he wonders, are we not hearing about this? The answer, of course, is that it doesn't fit in with the West's propaganda war against the Syrian regime:
Suppose a respectable opinion poll found that most Syrians are in favour of Bashar al-Assad remaining as president, would that not be major news? Especially as the finding would go against the dominant narrative about the Syrian crisis, and the media considers the unexpected more newsworthy than the obvious.
Alas, not in every case. When coverage of an unfolding drama ceases to be fair and turns into a propaganda weapon, inconvenient facts get suppressed.
Guardian colleague Brian Whitaker responds:
The full poll results are here.
The total sample size, across the Middle East, was 1,012.
In five Levant countries (Syria, Jordan, Palestine, Lebanon and Iraq) the total sample was 211 people -- of whom 46% were in Syria. Therefore, by my reckoning, the total number of people interviewed in Syria was only 97. That is hardly a representative sample.
In addition, because of the fear factor, it is unsafe to assume that people in Syria necessarily gave a truthful answer.
In other words, it's scarcely surprising that the poll's findings have been widely ignored.
Oh dear. There'll be a tense atmosphere today in the canteen at Kings Place.
Steele's not finished though. He has more evidence of this outrageous Western bias:
No reporters have followed up on a significant recent article by Philip Giraldi, a former CIA officer who now writes for the American Conservative – a magazine that criticises the American military-industrial complex from a non-neocon position on the lines of Ron Paul, who came second in last week's New Hampshire Republican primary. Giraldi states that Turkey, a Nato member, has become Washington's proxy and that unmarked Nato warplanes have been arriving at Iskenderum, near the Syrian border, delivering Libyan volunteers and weapons seized from the late Muammar Gaddafi's arsenal. "French and British special forces trainers are on the ground," he writes, "assisting the Syrian rebels, while the CIA and US Spec Ops are providing communications equipment and intelligence to assist the rebel cause, enabling the fighters to avoid concentrations of Syrian soldiers …"
Another commenter sets him straight:
The reason no reporters have followed up on this article by Philip Giraldi is because Giraldi is no "conservative." He is an extreme right-wing fringe conspiracy fanatic with a viciously anti-Israel obsession who will inevitably blame a Zionist-neocon conspiracy for whatever goes wrong in Syria.
No mainstream journalist will touch anything Giraldi writes. Furthermore, any claim by Giraldi should be taken with a grain of salt.
Having said this, nobody denies that Assad has his supporters in Syria and I agree that there opinions should be listened to. But Saddam also had his supporters. So did Ghaddafi. So did Kim Jong Il.
The issue is not whether or not Assad has supporters. The issue is that his opponents are being tortured and killed. For this reason Assad is a pariah and nobody, save for Iran and Hezbollah and perhaps North Korea, want much to do with him these days.
Well, nobody outside the Guardian.
[And their comments links aren't working. And Brian Whitaker's link to the poll result just comes back to the Steele article. Useless bloody paper.]