How the New York Times deliberately misled its readers for months by not showing the UNSC agreed ceasefire exempt al-Nusra in Syria in its Conflict maps till two days ago, since the true map supports the Russian narrative that it’s going after Jihadi groups regardless of affiliation.
February 24, 2016
In October 2015, in a blog called “New York Times Four Color Conflict Map of Syria Deliberately Obfuscates” I wrote on how the New York Times very deliberately withheld showing the presence of the key al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria in maps it boasted explained the conflict to readers.
As I wrote in the blog above, the relevance of this group in the conflict in Syria cannot be understated. Even the New York Times acknowledged Al-Nusra was a major force among rebels in Syria. Even the neocon outlet (who it gave partial credit for its map) showed Al-Nusra. The US Government withheld arms to more “moderate” rebel because of evidence that they were falling into not just ISIS, but Al-Nusra or other Jihadi factions. Indeed the US Government had even bombed al-Nusra’s leadership.
And of course the Russian Government EXPLICTILY mentioned that they were going to go after not just ISIS but al-Nusra and other Jihadi factions.
So the absence of al-Nusra positions on the New York Times conflict map was an egregious error and a deliberate one at that.
The New Map
Following the US-Russia ceasefire agreement of February 21, 2016 which gave explicit blessing for the continued bombing of Al-Nusra and “other groups that the United Nations Security Council deems terrorists”, the New York Times finally updated its map (Right).
See anything interesting? The Russian Airstrikes shows on left correspond to Al-Nusra positions. And of course there are other still active Jihadi factions which Russia had declared as fair game which are still not shown.
(Imagine if the US Government declared some Mexican narco-groups (which fight internecine battles between themselves), “moderate” and off-limits to law enforcement and other bad. Russia refuses to accept this distinction.)
That the New York Times deliberately withheld al-Nusra’s positions is clear.
The motive can be explained by noting that showing these positions support the Russian narrative that they are going after al-Nusra and other Jihadi groups no matter what their affiliation and not the US Government narrative that Russians are bombing “moderate rebels”.