A dramatic video clip showing a young boy heroically rescuing a young girl amid a hail of gunfire in Syria has racked up millions of YouTube viewings and has been trending heavily on other social media platforms.
The mainstream media and US government jumped on the video as evidence of the absolute depravity of the Assad regime. What kind of monster purposely targets children?
Wrote the International Business Times:
The incident certainly is not the first time that Pro-Assad gunmen have targeted children in the nearly four years of the bloody civil war in Syria.
Liz Sly, the Washington Post Beirut bureau chief covering Syria, Lebanon, Iraq — and presumably an expert in the area? — promoted the video on her Twitter page, adding “wow” in her comments. Sly’s reporting consistently agitates for more US involvement in Syria on the side of the rebels, her anti-Assad bias is solidly established.
Then the “experts” chimed in. According to the London Daily Telegraph (article since consigned to the memory hole), the experts have “confirmed the authenticity” of the video.
Then the US State Department chimed in to magnify and focus the propaganda, tweeting that a boy “hero” rescued a girl from an Assad regime sniper firing on civilians.
— Think AgainTurn Away (@ThinkAgain_DOS) November 12, 2014
One problem: the whole thing was a fake. The Norweigan Film Institute, funded by the government of NATO-member Norway, chipped in $30,000 for the film to be produced in Malta and released publicly without informing viewers that it was not authentic footage.
The filmmakers made it clear to the Norwegian government in their funding application that they would not reveal that the footage was fake and authorities raised no objection to the operation.
The BBC wrote about how so many people were fooled by the film:
So once the film was made, how did it go viral? “It was posted to our YouTube account a few weeks ago but the algorithm told us it was not going to trend,” Klevberg said. “So we deleted that and re-posted it.” The filmmakers say they added the word “hero” to the new headline and tried to send it out to people on Twitter to start a conversation.
By the time its inauthenticity had been established, millions were outraged at the Assad government. Propaganda depends on framing the issue first. No one reads corrections once a false story is printed.
How convenient this is at a time when so many NATO member countries and the usual interventionist suspects are pushing hard for the US government to retool its Syria anti-ISIS campaign to first target the Assad government for destruction.
This episode should demonstrate how easily it is for governments to hide behind willing accomplices and the social media to produce and disseminate propaganda.
State Department Spokesperson Marie Harf recently drew some ridicule for stating that US evidence “proving” Russian involvement in the shoot-down of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 over Ukraine came from “social media” sources. Perhaps those “social media” sources she urges us to rely upon are similarly supported and funded by governments with an agenda to push.
They are lying to us.
Follow me on Twitter.6:00 pm on November 14, 2014 Email Daniel McAdams