CNN launches dud against Russian campaign in Syria

Robert Bridge
Robert Bridge is an American writer and journalist based in Moscow, Russia. His articles have been featured in many publications, including Russia in Global Affairs, The Moscow Times, Lew Rockwell and Global Research. Bridge is the author of the book on corporate power, “Midnight in the American Empire”, which was released in 2013. email:
Once upon a war, Western journalists eagerly jumped aboard the US military bandwagon to cover its overseas adventures; these days, however, the US military is mindlessly following the media into war zones on a black wave of hysteria and fabrications.

CNN has reported that Russian missiles have crash-landed in Iran after going tragically off course from its intended target, which, no, was not Ukraine. This time the Western mainstream media has focused its propaganda big guns on Syria, where Russia has decided to launch an aerial assault against Islamic State militants, bloodthirsty terrorists that Western forces have thus far been unable to contain or destroy.

In a CNN 'Breaking News' segment, correspondent Barbara Starr, narrating in her trademark tragic baritone, boomed: "CNN has learned at least four of the more than two dozen Russian cruise missiles launched from ships in the Caspian Sea crashed in Iran... US officials believe there are injuries."

There were more than a few glaring glitches contained in this report. First, once again CNN has built the foundation of a major story on sketchy "anonymous sources," a form of journalism that is being particularly abused, especially at the expense of Russia. While it is common practice for journalists to have their secret inside moles for obtaining information that does not mean the shady source should be the final word.

In the CNN story, the source's information is what grabs the headlines, which is a particularly alarming form of journalism because it seems that not even the US State Department knew what CNN was talking about.

When asked during the State Department's daily news briefing (Oct.8) if they were "confident enough about [Russian cruise missiles landing in Iran] to say it on the record," spokesman John Kirby replied: "No, I’m afraid – I mean, I’ve seen those reports but I’m not in a position to confirm them at this time."

Clearly, Kirby was just as surprised by CNN's breaking report as everybody else.

Assuming CNN has heard of telecommunications, how difficult would it have been to pick up the telephone and verify their inside information with the State Department before going live with a story that would only create a sh*tstorm of problems if false? Instead, they decided to go with the Russian reaction, a nice gesture but an altogether unnecessary one considering the story was hogwash in the first place.


READ MORE: 4 Russian warships launch 26 missiles against ISIS from Caspian Sea

"Unlike CNN, we don't report quoting anonymous sources, but we show launches of our missiles and the targets they hit in real-time mode," the Russian Defense Ministry said Thursday in a Facebook posting. "No matter how unpleasant and unexpected it is for our colleagues in the Pentagon and Langley, our strike yesterday with precision-guided weapons at ISIS infrastructure in Syria hit its targets."

CNN, quoting yet another ghost official, this time "a U.S. official familiar with the intelligence reports," chided the Russian explanation, saying: "These are the people who told us there were no little green men in Crimea."

Bad jokes aside, the question remains why such unverified, unsubstantiated information was published in the first place?

By the way, did anybody bother to consult with the Iranians, whose country was the apparent target of the alleged Russian misfire. Apparently not. Iran's FARS news agency, citing the Iranian Defense Ministry, rejected CNN's report alleging that Russian cruise missiles had crashed in Iran, dismissing it as part of the West's "psychological warfare."

The only voice of sanity and reason in the 'Breaking News' piece came courtesy of Jill Dougherty, former CNN Moscow Bureau Chief, who told CNN in an interview from Tallinn: "Well, number one, you have to look at those reports and ask whether they are correct.... It would be good to look for some confirmation. If it is true - and again, that's a big if - it would be very significant."

"A big if!" Bravo, Jill Dougherty!

CNN understands that regardless if their story is accurate or not, few people will take the time to verify the truth behind the sensational headline. And just like other propaganda hit pieces aimed at Russia in the recent past - from the downing of MH17 in Ukraine, to reports that Russian missiles were killing civilians in Syria before any missiles were even launched - this false story will be accepted as 24-carat truth and regurgitated many times over by Western pundits and politicians in the weeks to follow. It doesn't matter to them that the story is bogus, only that the story grabbed headlines. George Orwell must be turning over in his grave.

Fortunately, however, with every false story the Western mainstream media spins, their ship sinks a bit deeper into the shallow end as more and more readers - armed as they are with multiple sources of reliable news sources - understand the MSM's objective is not reporting an honest, meticulously checked account of events, but something more resembling the world of science fiction.

READ MORE: Russian anti-terror operation in Syria LIVE UPDATES

And the reader may rest assured there will be no retraction or apology from CNN over this egregious piece of hit journalism, which will only serve the interests of powerful groups in Washington that are going to all extremes to show that Russia's actions in Syria (against terrorists!) are reckless and irresponsible. America, which has been snorting from the mirror of power for so long it can't think straight, believes that intervention in the affairs of foreign states is solely its private domain. Yes, power is a dangerous drug.

'Pics or didn’t happen': Internet reacts to ‘Russian missiles crash in Iran’ report

But for those thinking straight, the only recklessness in Syria has been Washington's determination to oust yet another regional leader it deems to be unworthy of leading his people - a choice that should rest with the Syrian people, of course. Meanwhile, it is increasingly apparent that the US military has decided to let Islamic State run roughshod in Syria in the hopes that this band of psychopaths, together with the so-called 'moderate' anti-government rebels, will be able to oust President Bashar Assad.

Russian jets destroy ISIS objects in Tamana, Syria

COMBAT VIDEO: Russian jets smash ISIS command post, fuel depot & fortifications

Posted by RT Play on Friday, October 9, 2015

And who or what will lead the Syrian people once Assad is ousted? Well, it will probably resemble something like the US colony known as Iraq, which heeds the orders of America from behind the walls of the forbidden 'Green Zone' - an embassy complex that rivals the Vatican in terms of sheer size, to say nothing of hard assets.  

And just like that, another national trophy for the United States to mount above its fireplace, which already includes Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. The region can ill-afford another failed state in the world, so please CNN, get your facts straight, if not out of love for Russia, than simply as your professional duty.



The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.