Readers who have been following the crisis in Aleppo have seen media reports of videos and photos allegedly originating from innocent children victims, pleading against the advance of the Assad forces. And while there have been various accusations that these clips, like the infamous "chemical attack" YouTube clip from 2013, were staged, such reports were promptly slammed by the mainstream media as "fake news" and roundly ignored. However, if one ever needed a reason to be skeptical of claims, photographs, and/or videos coming out of the region, and the MSM's appeals to readers emotions based on fabricated facts, Egyptian authorities have just provided it.
Egyptian police arrested five people in Port Said, Egypt for making staged "wounded children" photos, which they were planning to use to misrepresent on social media as photos of destruction and injured people in Syria's Aleppo, the Egyptian Interior Ministry said on Monday. The group also made fake videos that purport to show the wreckage of air strikes in Aleppo.
The shooting team, which included the photographer's assistants and parents of the children, was detained in the Egypt's province of Port Said," the Ministry said on Facebook.
According to the Ministry, the police witnessed the shooting process, which was taking place near the vestiges of a building destroyed as illegal under the decision of the local authorities. A girl standing in a white dress covered in "blood" that later proved to be paint, drew attention of a police officer driving by. The girl held a teddy bear covered in the same "blood" and had her arm "bandaged".
The Facebook statement said the videographer, his assistants, and the parents of two children who appear in the footage were detained after a trail led police to them at a building site awaiting demolition. The five have reportedly admitted they were planning to distribute their footage on social media, which was supposed to show an eight-year-old girl in a white dress and bandages, covered in red stains while holding a teddy bear.
“A 12-year-old boy is also interviewed about what life is like under intensive Russian-backed Syrian government air strikes,” reported The Independent
The photographer also admitted that he was going to publish these photos on social media as pictures of Aleppo.
To be sure, this one instance does not mean all footage coming out of the region is fake. It also does not mean every claim made by Russian, Syrian, and Iranian officials about the conflict is true in comparison. Still, the fact remains that journalists aren’t going to rebel-held areas for fear of execution. Instead, they rely on the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which is run by one anti-Assad dissident in Coventry, England. So-called Syrian activists and the shady group known as the White Helmets make up the rest of the reports in Syria, even though they both have also been largely criticized and discredited.
Also troubling is the willingness of the conventional media to accept most of these reports at face value without ever questioning their authenticity.
The fact the mass media disproportionately focuses on Aleppo while turning a blind eye to the horrendous crimes being committed in Yemen courtesy of the United States, the United Kingdom, and an inexperienced Saudi-led coalition indicates the media’s concerns for human rights in Syria are disingenuous, as the AntiMedia correctly notes.