In Syria coverage, BBC proves to be fairest source

It’s no secret that part of the reason there was overwhelming public support (or at least compliance) for the invasion of Iraq was due to the media’s coverage of the topic in the months and weeks leading up to the war. Fox News obviously backed the Bush administration throughout his presidency, but “liberal” media like MSNBC and The New York Times interviewed mostly pro-invasion “experts.” Even NPR was guilty of this.

Once again, the media seems to be in the business of warmongering. Even though every single poll indicates that Americans are against a bomb strike on Syria, a recent Pew study indicates that every single major news outlet has given voice to pro-strike advocates far more than to those who are against a strike.

MSNBC, which has long had close corporate ties with nuclear weapons manufacturers, was the most pro-strike channel. According to the study, 64 percent of the stories aired about US intervention in Syria “(conveyed) a message that America should get involved.” MSNBC also devoted less coverage to Syria than any other cable news outlet.

Fox News, which usually plays the anti-MSNBC role, didn’t quite match the pro-war messaging sent out by their rival station. They can’t. They have to be against whatever the President does. Even still, their coverage of Syria was still pro-strike 45 percent to 20 percent.

CNN was just about even with Fox News.

What was most surprising about the study was the fact that Al Jazeera, once known for being the most outspokenly opposed news organization to American intervention in the world, was only a couple points below Fox News and CNN in their pro-strike coverage. Messages opposing a strike on Syria did not even make up a quarter of the total coverage.

The only news organization studied that seemed to have fair coverage of American intervention in Syria was BBC America, which aired opinions for and against a strike almost equally.

BBC America also relied much less on information given directly by the Obama administration, Congress and the military, and performed their duty as journalists by citing Syrian voices alongside American ones.

While BBC America devoted as much time to Syria as MSNBC, the cable news outlet that spent the least amount of time on it, it’s important to remember that BBC America airs significantly fewer news programs than the other organizations. And its coverage toward non-Syrian issues went toward noble topics like Fukushima and new voter ID laws. MSNBC’s went to Miley Cyrus.

Jonny Moran can be reached by email at [email protected]