What would George Orwell have made of 2016? Some of the biggest news stories of the year, promoted by pro-Establishment media, were either false, such as the claims made in December that a “Holocaust” was taking place in eastern Aleppo, or not backed up by any hard evidence, such as the allegations that Russia interfered in the US election. Ironically, media outlets that expressed the most concern about “fake news” and the urgent need to take action against it pushed these stories most aggressively! At the same time, they either ignored some very important real news altogether… or gave it only the scantiest coverage. Here are ten of the biggest under-reported news stories of 2016. I’ll leave you to come to your own conclusions as to why they didn’t get the coverage they should have gotten.
1. The War in Yemen
While Syria made the front pages, the US-backed war in Yemen received nowhere near the same attention. Largely, the media ignored documented atrocities carried out by the Saudi-led coalition. British Blairite MPs, so keen to show their concern about a non-existent “Holocaust” in Aleppo in December, failed to support a Labour motion in October calling for an independent UN investigation into violations of international law in Yemen. Moreover, the “Something Must be done” media brigade weren’t too interested either. On 3 November, Media Lens noted:
Since the rejection of the motion, “Do something!” crusaders like Aaronovitch, Freedland, and Cohen have printed not a word about “our” “responsibility to protect” civilian life in Yemen.
2. Libya in Ruins
In early 2011, Libya was “the” big news story as concerned “liberal interventionists” urged NATO to enforce “no-fly zones” to stop the “New Hitler Colonel Gaddafi”. The son of a retired Libyan academic who spoke out against Muammar Gaddafi’s régime said that he feared the worst for his father and three of his brothers after they were “killing his own people” and carrying out “a Srebrenica-style massacre in Benghazi”. Well, NATO did intervene and destroyed Libya. Guess what? The “Do Something” crusaders in the western media were silent. The transformation of a country that had the highest standards of living in Africa into a terrorist-ridden “failed state” wasn’t deemed newsworthy. In the words of Leslie Nielsen in the film Naked Gun, it’s a case of:
Nothing to see here… please, disperse!
3. Reconciliation in Syria
Good news from Syria doesn’t get much, if any coverage… particularly, if it shows the Syrian authorities in a positive light. However, the Syrian government implemented truce and reconciliation programmes in and around Homs and Damascus (and in other parts of the country, too). In July, President Assad offered an amnesty to anti-government “rebels” laying down their arms… he repeated this in October. Many rebels took up the offer and resumed their lives as civilians. The fact that reconciliation was underway in Syria should’ve been a big news story in 2016, but… surprise, surprise… given the pro régime-change bias of much of the media, it wasn’t.
4. 62 People Owning Half of the World’s Wealth
Yes, that’s right… 62. Surely, this is something news channels should’ve been giving major coverage to in 2016? Surely, Oxfam’s Davos report should’ve kicked off debates about how we need to restructure the world’s economy in order to make the distribution of wealth more equitable? Yet, the story didn’t have legs. How very convenient for the 62 people!
5. The Exoneration of Slobodan Milošević
In 2016, the very court which tried him effectively declared the man who neocons and Blairites labelled “the Butcher of the Balkans” “not guilty”. That was after they’d used his “genocidal crimes” to promote the globalist doctrine of “liberal interventionism”. As I wrote in August:
The ICTY’s [International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia] conclusion, that one of the most demonised figures of the modern era was innocent of the most heinous crimes he was accused of, really should have made headlines across the world, but it hasn’t. Even the ICTY buried it, deep in its 2,590-page verdict in the trial of Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadžić who they convicted in March of genocide (at Srebrenica), war crimes, and crimes against humanity.
The exoneration of the western élite’s number one bogeyman of the late 90s did make front page news in Serbia, but the western MSM t ignored the news, and those, like Andy Wilcoxson, John Pilger, and myself, who did dare to write about it, were subject to vicious personal attacks by Establishment gatekeepers. Rather like Sherlock Holmes’ dog that didn’t bark in the night-time, the non-coverage of this very important story told us everything we needed to know.
6. Global Warming: Another Record-Breaking Year for Temperatures
2016, according to the UN, is “very likely” to be the warmest year on record… meaning that 16 of the 17 hottest years on record will have been in the 21st century. In July, NASA revealed that each month from January to June in 2016 was the warmest respective month globally since modern temperature records began in 1880. Yet, despite this, climate change barely figured in the televised US Presidential debates, with the topic receiving just 2 percent of the total time. The Guardian noted:
They wouldn’t have mentioned climate change at all if it hadn’t been for one question in the second debate from a man in a red sweater named Ken Bone.
Clearly, there were far more important topics for the candidates… and western news channels… to discuss in 2016, than the threat posed to the planet by climate change.
7. Western Powers and their Middle East Allies Supporting Daesh
The unsubstantiated allegations that Russia was behind the hacks conveniently helped turn attention from the most damning revelations in the so-called Podesta emails. Moreover, this was probably the most newsworthy:
On 19 August 2014, Hillary Clinton wrote, “We need to use our diplomatic and more traditional intelligence assets to bring pressure on the governments of Qatar and Saudi Arabia, which are providing clandestine financial and logistic support to ISIL [Daesh] and other radical Sunni groups in the region”.
In December, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan claimed that he had proof that the West backed Daesh. Nonetheless, like Clinton’s email to John Podesta, this story didn’t get the coverage it warranted. I wonder why…
8. Economic Collapse in the “Democratic” Ukraine
The Ukraine was a big news story in 2014, when anti-government protestors… cheered on by western leaders… gathered in the Maidan, but what’s gone on since then in the country hasn’t made too many news bulletins. The reality is that living standards in the Ukraine plummeted, with over half the country’s population now living below the poverty level. Guess what, corruption has increased too. However, let’s not talk too much about the “success story” of another western régime-op shall we?
9. Devastating Impact of UK Government Cuts
Hospitals in England are on the brink of collapse because of government underfunding of the National Health Service (NHS). The number of urgent operations cancelled reached a record level. Meanwhile, hundreds of public libraries have closed. Cuts are having an adverse impact on the lives of millions of Britons. Yet, the UK government, which says there’s no alternative to austerity at home, does have the money to pursue neocon foreign policy objectives. In October, it was announced that the UK was to resume training “rebels”’ in Syria. How fortunate for the British government that their use… and misuse… of taxpayers’ money was not subject to greater media scrutiny in 2016.
10. The Inherent Racism of “Liberal Interventionism”
We’ve heard a lot about racism in 2016, but very little… if any… coverage of the racism that underpins western foreign policy. It’s taken as a given, that politicians and establishment journalists in the UK, USA, and France have the right to say who should or shouldn’t be allowed to govern a country of the global south, even by those who campaign against racism. Imagine the reaction, if Syrian or Iraqi politicians called for régime-change in the UK! Why do “we” have the right to intervene in “their” countries, but “they” have no right to intervene in “ours?” You didn’t hear that question asked on BBC Newsnight or other western news programmes in 2016. The most deadly form of racism wasn’t a news story.
8 January 2017