BBC journo confronted after deleting tweet doubting 'staged' scenes in Syria
A BBC journalist expressed skepticism about an alleged chemical attack in Syria that the West has largely – and without evidence – blamed on Bashar Assad. He tweeted that he was tired of "staged" scenes before deleting the post.
"Sick and tired of activists and rebels using corpses of dead children to stage emotive scenes for Western consumption. Then they wonder why some serious journos are questioning part of the narrative," BBC Foreign News Producer Riam Dalati wrote on Twitter. He later deleted that tweet, but not before others in the Twittersphere managed to grab a screenshot of it.
Yesterday a BBC journalist (see above) posted a rare admission that #Syria rebels & activists are manipulating photos of dead #Douma children for western media propaganda purposes. Today the BBC journalist has deleted his tweet but, for the record, a screen shot of it is here pic.twitter.com/MvZ9OjHV5P— Charles Shoebridge (@ShoebridgeC) April 10, 2018
It didn't take long for people on Twitter to speculate as to why Dalati would have deleted the tweet, suggesting the BBC forced him to do so.
Why would he delete the tweet? Orders from above?— taigs (@taigstaigs) April 10, 2018
Perhaps his guilt consumes him once in a while, but then he realizes he’s part of a mainstream narrative, which pays for his bread and butter.— primeSuspect (@thebeestang) April 10, 2018
When a Twitter user wrote that Dalati was under pressure from the BBC to 'toe the line,' presumably by pointing the finger at Syrian President Bashar Assad, the journalist said this wasn't true, and that he deleted the tweet due to a "breach of editorial policy."
"Not so... original tweet correctly deemed in breach of editorial policy thru (sic) use of 'sick/tired'" and by not providing context for a picture of a deceased Syrian girl who appeared to be giving a 'last hug' to another child who appeared to have died.
"Still stand by original opinion that 'Last Hug' was staged and can voice that in a factual tweet if I want to," he wrote.
Not so & thank u 4 asking me. Original tweet correctly deemed in breach of editorial policy thru use of 'sick/tired' & failure in providing 'Last Hug' photo with > context.Still stand by original opinion that 'Last Hug' was staged and can voice that in factual tweet if I want to https://t.co/A6xvUIgQ06— Riam Dalati (@Dalatrm) April 10, 2018
Dalati isn't the first mainstream media journalist to speak out against the common narrative against the Assad government. Fox News' Tucker Carlson did the same this week, slamming those who believe they know what actually happened on the ground in Syria. "All the geniuses tell us that Assad killed those children, but do they really know that? Of course they don't really know that. They're making it up. They have no real idea what happened," Carlson said.
READ MORE: Tucker Carlson slams US foreign policy in no-holds-barred monologue on Syria, social media explodes
Meanwhile, British Prime Minister Theresa May has held phone calls with her counterparts in the US and France to determine the next steps that should be taken regarding the alleged chemical attack in the Damascus suburb of Douma on Saturday. While US President Donald Trump is considering possible military action in Syria, a Wednesday report from The Times stated that May is more hesitant about taking action and is seeking more evidence that Damascus was behind the reported attack before acting.
Both Syria and Russia have called for an on-the-ground investigation, with Moscow proposing the creation of an independent investigative mechanism for the alleged attack in Douma. The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons has said it will be sending investigators to the area.
The Russian military has stated that it found no trace of chemical weapons at the alleged attack site, and accused the rebel-linked White Helmets of distributing "fake news." On Tuesday, Russia's permanent representative to the UN, Vassily Nebenzia, said that reports of the alleged attack were the work of "White Helmets provocateurs," while also warning the US and its allies against launching an "illegal military endeavor."
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