DEMOCRACY TEST FOR WESTERN MEDIA

Beside the reproach against the Western mainstream media, I am not generalising that. We did not fail to notice the respectable comments of the journalists such as David Hearst and Glenn Greenwald.

DEMOCRACY TEST FOR WESTERN MEDIA

Deniz BARAN - Turkey

I have been watching the Western media intensively since July 15th, when the coup plotters hit the start button for their cruel plan, I was given this task by the newspaper I work for.  I am especially focused on the mainstream media, from the moment they announced the coup attempt in Turkey as breaking news.  Additionally, many columns, comments, opinions we could see in newspapers and other journals since the weekend (July 16th). If I were to summarize the kind of impression those pieces left on me, I would say: Huge effort in order not to emphasize that the coup plotters, who are pure daemons in our eyes, were too cruel but someone else… Twisted truth syndrome…

If I wanted to count each and every one of the examples of this behavior, I would have enough materials for a long article. Even if I limit myself with only 5 media organs and pick them randomly from the US and the UK, I would still have enough material to proove my claim. The actual problem is exactly here… Today, making “this problem” clear is really important. Because we are talking about a chronic disease, of which the results are worse than we predicted and a problem, which aggravates ideological disengagment of Western people from our people. Furthermore, this virus sometimes spreads within the body involuntarily.

Before explaining the problem of the Western media, I want to note something. I am not trying to prove that the Western media is completely malovelent, liar, or an enemy to Muslims. I do not base my claims on any assumptions like that. Also, I am maintainging a calm mood while evulating their behavior even though we are furious and in pain regarding this crueal coup attempt.  I understand that the Western mainstream media takes a side against President Erdogan which makes it more difficult for them to acknowledge some facts. There is a huge ideological seperation between them and Erdogan. Nobody has to act friendly… But what about fairness?

Can we define what the Western mainstream media is trying to do as plain “lack of comprehension”? Or can they whitewash their unfairness by saying “they have different ideological priorities”? No. Definetly not! That is because their perceptual selectivity regarding this cruel attempt hit the peak. Many of those mainstream media organs and their authors, columnists, and analysts are executing obvious manipulation. They are manipulating the trepidation of their own people against us, who stood against coup plotters in dignity. Are they doing this because they have a political agenda about Turkey? We do not know, yet. Let us suppose we do not know…

At the night of coup attempt, American and British mainstream media organs have reported what is going on without any comment. They were updating their newsfeed frequently. Yet, just after it was understood that the coup attemp was failing, somehow, they took the path of attacking Erdogan directly. They emphasized the question: “What will happen next?” Beside that emphasis, they did not even underline the real question “What happened? Who attempted this against an elected government?” The only times they actually asked these questions, it was merely for “the sake of journalism” –at a minimal level…  Moreover they have obviously been trying to lay the guilt at Erdogan’s door. Unfairly… With over-sceptism… Or over-cynicism…

But they could not comprehend, it was not only Erdogan’s case. The path they took must not have been the path of the media organs that actually care about reporting what was actually happening and and accurately reporting news – it is a shame to see this, considering Poulitzer’s, the hero of journalism, motto was “Accuracy! Terseness! Accuracy!” Especially when it comes to the question “Who is behind the coup plot? Is it the Gulen movement?” They have been inflicting ignorance. They are intentionally acting dumb and insulting our intelligence.  

 

The Examples of Their Perceptual Selectivity and Manipulation

Officially, many of the prominent media organs in the US and Europe did not support the coup but they did their best to look down on the people defending their democracy on the streets, impeach those resisters and spread the pessimism despite the unprecedented glory of the people. The more professional ones did it slyly by emphasis games. I mean, they seemed to be reporting news precisely but actually they twisted the truth by emphasizing only some points and making them look bigger than they were and trivialising some other important facts. 

On FOX News, one of the biggest media organs in the US, one former American colonel, Ralph Peters, picked a title for his article which was kind of signal flare for the editorial policy of the Western mainstream media: “Turkey’s Last Hope Dies” Really? Ok, we know your neo-con mindset and so you hate the current Turkish government but how do you explain the “last hope?” Was that the coup? No need to comment even. Pure remorselessness…

//www.foxnews.com/opinion/2016/07/16/turkeys-last-hope-dies.html

BBC preferred this title for the piece they published on July 17th (by the way it is not by an author but editorial board and now they published it again on July 21st as if it is new piece): Recep Tayyip Erdoğan: Turkey’s Ruthless President…
Attention! This is a piece which has been published regarding coup attempt. The priority target of the coup attempt was Erdogan and the ones who had targeted him were the putschists who killed hundreds of people and dropped bombs over their own people. Not even 48 hours had passed after that attempt but BBC was portraying that as if the perpetrator was Erdogan.  There is almost no sentence about the coup attempt in the text. It is as if they would feel ashamed if they mentioned the word “coup.” They did not approve the portrayal of putschist leaders as ruthless. Furthermore, they kept emphasizing Erdogan’s Islamic tendencies in the text. It was a sly method, a masterpiece of manipulation.

//www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-13746679

In fact, even by jusy looking at BBC, we could gather enough evidence to see the unfair approach of the Western mainstream media. They took the path of contemptibleness. Not only were they too far from objectivity which fits a media organ globally as well-known and prestigious such as BBC, and also they acted blind too many facts as if they were serving an agenda. Of course BBC Turkey did not refrain from following their headquarters and made us feel deep sorrow by their too unjust journalism…  

One of the most famous political journals, Foreign Policy got involved in this game too. All of these media organs are sly when using the current antipathy for Erdoğan and prejudice against Muslims while discrediting the epic reaction of the Turkish society. However, this instance seems to be beyond ideological obsessions and ultra-biasness: Michael Rubin, the man known as pure neo-con and who is probably serving an agenda while discrediting Turkish government and the people on the street. Actually, a few months ago he had mentioned a possibility for a coup d’etat in Turkey and his article had caused debates at that time.  Now, in Foreign Policy, this “dark” man tried to tell us that we are going towards darkness, solely because we opposed the coup… He was really “daring” he did not need to hide his word: Erdoğan Has Nobody To Blame For The Coup But Himself…Erdogan, who could escape from the raid of the pro-coup commandos with only 15 minutes to spare, must have blamed it on himself – nobody else!
And Rubin is going on and on… While reading his article one starts to expect that he will soon mention Erdogan’s name as the coup leader. Meanwhile, for Fethullah Gülen, the real leader of the coup attempt, very gentle discourse is being used: 

According to Rubin, Erdogan turns on the friendships very quickly. He did same to Fethullah Gulen, “the theolog who suggests peace and tolerance” by having used his followers and then oppressed them when he did not need them anymore. 
And Rubin adds: “Whereas both of them sufferd a lot by coups.” The secret message is: “Gulen suffered by the coups, how could he possibly do this!?” Is it possible that the US and Rubin do not know the thing that everybody else knows? Not. But we know what Rubin is seeking…   

//foreignpolicy.com/2016/07/15/erdogan-has-nobody-to-blame-for-the-coup-but-himself/

The American mainstream daily journal New York Times was slightly better than BBC. I am repeating whatever I claimed for BBC for NYT as well. Horrible manipulations… As such, they could call the unprecedented resistance of civilians against the armed putshcists as “the counter-coup.” Have a heart!

//www.nytimes.com/2016/07/16/opinion/the-counter-coup-in-turkey.html

But something more saddening, one of the writers of the following manipulative and ill-minded articles in NYT was a Turk. No need to mention her name. I will add my note about the people like her bu not here, in the end. Let me just give an instance:

//www.nytimes.com/2016/07/19/world/europe/turkey-erdogan-crackdown.html

After the harsh reactions, the headline of this article has been changed. Maybe they thought that they could not give suck a dishonorable and inhumane headline.  Because at the first version they described the people, who made the supreme sacrifice on the streets so as to protect their rights, as “the sheep of Erdogan.” They must feel really ashamed because they used a photo of the people carrying a coffin under that heedless headline, while those people were still feeling pain and anger against the cruel putschists. I am almost sure that if it were somewhere else, they would call those people the guardians of democracy. Yet one cannot expect them to show mercy for “the Islamists dancing on the street.” Yes!, they said that too!

Have a heart.

As I generally do not read The Guardian, I myself could not check their editorial policy. But I heard that that was disastrous too… I only read a couple of articles and one in particular, written by an Alev Scott, was too biased and unfair. According to its headline, the coup was over but the mobs were on the street. Even some people in Turkey, unfortunately, adopted this discourse but it is deeply unfair.

While thousands of people were on the streets everywhere in the world, there might be some groups rampaging, going too far – it is not unusual. Trying to discredit all of the resisting people by focusing on a strict minority is crafty! Plus what happened here was not like any other demonstrations, people were resisting to the armed putschists. Though, the level of vandalism and extremism was remarkably low compared to much smaller demonstrations in Turkey and all around the world. Even in some cases when people tried to lynch the soldiers, one can find it too much or dislike it or condemn it. Those scenes annoyed all of us but it is a controversial topic. We should keepsomething in our minds, those people were in burst of anger since they witnessed the killing of the resisters – maybe even their families – around them by gunshots and military helicopters’ fire the whole night. Being under fire without any arms for hours and hours… Just because we condemn some of those people’s extreme reactions or just because some of those scenes broke our hearts we cannot assume those people to be ISIS-like-mobs. We cannot embrace this unfair image. Whoever is embracing this imputation for those people is, at the same time, whipping up Islamophobic sentiments in a crafty fashion. Like Scott did… I do not even attempt to refute the fake stories that were spread on social media such as the “beheaded soldier” (we even believed that story at the beginning because even if this disgusting and unacceptable incident happened, it would not change the logic of my argument.)

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/jul/17/turkey-defeated-coup-military-turkish-army

What was suprising for me was the the attitude of The Independent which was considered as a righteous newspaper. I do not mean the articles like Robert Fisk’s article. Some of the worries he was expressing were true yet still I find his perspective too biased. There are numerous articles like that in Turkey so I see that as understanble. But what about Patrick Cockburn’s – who is Middle East correspondent of The Independent and used to do same job for the “chief manipulator” Financial Times – despicable article?

Just on July 17th, when the government had not taken action and responded to coup plotters yet he even used this headline: “Erdogan is using this failed coup to get rid of the last vestiges of secular Turkey.” But in his article there was no vestige of any evidence to prove his claim. He could not have actually because there was no sign of it yet. But he malevolently wrote that headline although no argument about that exists in his article and he purely performed manipulation.

Obviously he does not have even a tiny bit of ethics. It is almost sure, as Middle East correspondent, he must know very well what kind of inner circles the Gulenists created within the government and he must know very well it is clear that those Gulenists were behind this coup attempt. But he seems not to know anything! He only underlines the mass arrests and dismissed people from their jobs without mentioning the reasons. He is creating an image as if the government is oppressing these people unreasonably.  

 

The Western Media and Western Leaders Are Compatible

The topic of this article is the attitude of the Western mainstream media not leaders. So I only focused on media. But I must note that there is a contextual relationship between the mainstream media’s attitude and leaders’ statements. When we consider both of them at once, we can better concieve the current disfavour for Turkey. It became clear even within 3 days after the coup attempt. It is not a coincidence that the messages and statements given by some Western leaders and politicans were compatible with the disruptive approach of their mainstream media organs. As a state which did not ban death penalty within their country, how could the US threaten Turkey’s membership of  NATO regarding the current popular request to execute the putschist leaders? Isn’t it funny that we are talking about NATO which has nothing do with human rights neither theoritaclly nor practically.
I will not count other examples. I wil just can say, instead of reminding of “Reichstag fire” to spread the fear, first they should look back on other “Reichstag fires” they burned all over the world. 

Before finishing, I just want to note something else I mentioned above: The Turkish journalists working for foreign press… I think it is an important point because I believe that some Western media organs do not always mean to act malevolantly but they are misinformed by too biased journalists who prioritize their political obsessions.
The last but not least point, some of the Western media organs and journalist might be occupied by Gulenists. They know very well how to leak into influential netwoks such as media and it is really probable that they have some “strongholds” among the Western mainstream media and they are washing the brains of the journalists around them.

So we should not only accuse the Western media, we must reach them and tell about what is going on in Turkey. We should provide clear information and at least our perspective of them. As Turkey, we are still really poor at media operations. This problem cannot be solved by using the people trolling around social media. They are just responding to black propaganda with another black propaganda and do not permanently fix anything. So some dirty networks are filling the gap and aggravating the misconnection. If we cannot make them call the coup a “coup,” it demonstrates our weakness too.

By the way, did I forget the “chief manipulator” Financial Times’s attitude – the daily journal directly ran to Fethullah Gulen for an interview just after the coup attempt – while counting the instances? No, I didn’t. I keep their turn for the next article which will focus on the ignorance –within the Western media – of the evidence that proves that the Gulen movement was behind the coup. This game must have been over long ago…

  

 

 

 

Güncelleme Tarihi: 24 Temmuz 2016, 19:20
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