Why CNN gave Miley Cyrus top spot over Syria

The Onion cooked up a brutal item today: a fake op-ed from CNN.com's managing editor, Meredith Artley, explaining why the above was CNN's homepage this morning.

There was nothing, and I mean nothing, about that story that related to the important news of the day, the chronicling of significant human events, or the idea that journalism itself can be a force for positive change in the world. For Christ’s sake, there was an accompanying story with the headline “Miley’s Shocking Moves.” In fact, putting that story front and center was actually doing, if anything, a disservice to the public. And come to think of it, probably a disservice to the hundreds of thousands of people dying in Syria, those suffering from the current unrest in Egypt, or, hell, even people who just wanted to read about the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” speech.

But boy oh boy did it get us some web traffic. Which is why I, Meredith Artley, managing editor of CNN.com, put the story in our top spot.

The real Meredith Artley took it in stride.

CNN did, at other points today, prioritize the destruction in Syria and the burning of Yosemite. [Pastpages via Farhad Manjoo]

Notable Replies

  1. It's inane, but I almost prefer it over the jingoistic, media ramp-up to go to war with Syria. The war profit machine has been trying to lie that chemical weapons have been used in Syria for a long time as an excuse. Until we see solid EVIDENCE, I'm not going to believe the hype.

    (EDIT: I apologize, I wasn't clear. In the above sentence, I should have said, "used only by the Syrian government" instead of "used in Syria")

    Did American citizens not learn a damn thing from the fake WMDs for the Iraq War? If there was a chemical attack, we don't know which side did it. I wouldn't put it past the Syrian government, nor the rebels to stage it to pull us into war.

    We don't want these guys to starve, do we?

  2. teapot says:

    I am disappoint, Cow. There has been solid evidence confirmed by France, the UK and the US that chemical weapons have been used previously. Obama, if anything, is trying his hardest to AVOID doing anything direct against Syria. He originally said that any use of chemical weapons in the conflict would be crossing a 'red line' after which more direct action would be taken. After there was evidence that chemical weapons had been used the US line suddenly became that Obama would considering doing something if "significant" chemical weapons use was detected.

    How is the war profit machine's misinformation any better than yours? You characterise the idea that chemical weapons have been used in Syria as a lie, despite the continued and growing evidence that they have been and in ignorance of the fact that you have no evidence that chemical weapons haven't been used. If you care to look there are PLENTY of videos on Youtube demonstrating clearly that chemical agents are being used. By whom is up for debate, but the fact of the matter is this: Whatever agent was used in this attack it belies logic that the rebels would have the supply or distribution methods required to poison the 3,500+ people who were affected by this attack.

    The rebels have always welcomed UN chemical weapons inspectors while the Syrian regime has, at every turn, tried to block or hold up any UN inspection. The UN isn't even mandated to decide who is responsible for the attack, so what on earth does any party have to hide? The one party that has consistently disagreed with allowing in UN inspectors (al-Asshole's government) seems pretty guilty, merely by their resistance to inspectors.

    This from June 2013:
    “Our intelligence community now has a high confidence assessment that chemical weapons have been used on a small scale by the Assad regime in Syria. The President has said that the use of chemical weapons would change his calculus, and it has,” he continued.

    The army’s use of chemical weapons had been confirmed by multiple, independent sources, he said. There were no reliable reports accusing rebel forces of using chemical weapons, he added.

    This from Aug 1 2013:
    The United Nations says reports on 13 different chemical attacks have been made. Syria, Britain, France, Russia and the United States have all handed over evidence to Mr Sellstrom's team.

    The difference between this and Iraq's WMD's is that there was absolutely no evidence, whatsoever, of any WMDs. There are plenty of videos of Syrian men, women and children's bodies being destroyed by chemical agents. Iraq and particularly Saddam wasn't even doing anything uncharacteristically terrible at the time: The invasion was Bush's little adventure to finish what his daddy couldn't finish. Syria in an entirely different situation where over 100,000 people have already died because of our (the international community's) inaction. You might want to wait for stronger evidence of chemical weapons use, but even if there IS no chemical weapons use (which there clearly is, and is almost certainly the work of al-Asshole's regieme) the international community has a responsibility to stop the Syrian regime from murdering its own people purely on the basis that the conflict is completely unbalanced (trained, well funded army VS freedom fighters) and that millions have been displaced.

    Hating the war machine is only good when the war machine is selling you something immoral. When they're justifiably fucking up bad people like Gaddafi or al-Asshole then spare me your calls for hard evidence. It's a war zone in which the dominant regime has almost complete territorial and informational control so any such evidence is going to be nigh on impossible to get.

  3. The difference between this and Iraq's WMD's is that there was absolutely no evidence, whatsoever, of any WMDs.

    Oh, there was so-called evidence that was presented, but it wasn't properly vetted out, was it? And, we went to war based upon false information and lies. Why wait for hard evidence when we can profitably bomb the shit out of everything today, right?

    How is the war profit machine's misinformation any better than yours? You characterise the idea that chemical weapons have been used in Syria as a lie.

    Look who's talking? First of all, I was referring to all the hype that the only possibility is that it's been the Syrian government using chemicals.

    A rebel group affiliated with the Free Syrian Army is suspected to have used sarin gas as recently as March of this year. Why ignore that?


    Your first link says, "high confidence assessment" -- Ok, where's the evidence beyond this assessment? And, where's the hard evidence it's the Syrian government?

    You second link says, "experts say most of the reported attacks are now months old and there is a risk that evidence has been cleared up or has degraded."

    But, even more interesting is this part you left out... "Russia sides with its government ally in blaming the opposition. Western nations say all the evidence points to Mr Assad's forces using the arms in "limited" quantities."

    Like I already said, there may have been a chemical attack, but we don't know which side did it. You think a good, profitable bombing will help clear this up?

    You think the rebels who have recruited child soldiers, eaten the hearts out of soldiers, carried out beheadings and are strongly suspected of already carrying out chemical attacks are to be trusted?

    WHY? What's your evidence of this?

    Hating the war machine is only good when the war machine is selling you something immoral.

    The poor, poor war machine. Somebody please think of the poor, innocent war machine.


    There are plenty of videos of Syrian men, women and children's bodies being destroyed by chemical agents.

    By whose chemical agents?


    Syria in an entirely different situation where over 100,000 people have already died because of our (the international community's) inaction.

    Last time I checked people have died because there's a civil war. Do you also have a hard-on for us charging into the Congo?

    Why not? Not enough fucking oil or profitable gas pipeline territory? I hope you put your money where your mouth is and lead the attack.

    I am disappoint, Cow.

    Look in the mirror.

    Shall we profitably bomb the shit out of them? Will that help stabilize the situation like we did with Libya?

    Human Rights Worse After Gaddafi

    spare me your calls for hard evidence.

    Wow... that says it all. People like you are doomed to repeat mistakes of the past. I hope you lead the attack, sweetheart. Don't be yet another bloodthirsty chickenhawk.

    Educate yourself:

    Leaked docs:



    Gen Wesley Clark Reveals US Plan To Invade Iraq, Syria ...

    HINT: It's about the money...

  4. Surprise, surprise... the guy who consumes the same media sources as Cow agrees with him.

    Yes, @Ygret is a member of the Cowicidal Reading Club I set up last year. That explains everything. I mean, it couldn't be that someone disagrees with you for any other reason. That would be preposterous.

    shit the mainstream media is before linking me to The Guardian as an example of "REAL" news

    Enlighten us on examples of "real" news sources. Name them. I'm always trying to gather new, more reliable sources in my arsenal and it would seem you have some stellar examples to share.

    the UN inspectors are there to see if chemical weapons have been used and are not mandated to decide who used them.

    That's very true and for damn good reasons. Even if you find the remnants of a Syrian missile with traces of a nerve agent, you still don't know whether Assad's troops fired it, or whether rebels seized it during an attack on an army base somewhere in the north, and later employed it.

    That's why many of the psychotic rebels only hurt themselves by preparing chemical weapons themselves and even admitting to their willingness to use them. If they'd taken the high road (you know, beyond using child soldiers, beheadings, eating the hearts cut from the chests of their enemy and general extremist, religious zealotry, etc.) -- It might be much more clear cut who the true source for chemical weapons are from.

    Because of this complexity, it's going to take time to figure out the source for chemical weapons. We'll have to rely on whistleblower defectors, documents/orders made public, etc.

    Just as the Syrian government has itself to blame for stockpiling chemical weapons, the zealot rebels only have themselves to blame for muddying the waters by their own shitty actions as well.

    If intercepted military communications correlate with the timings and locations of chemical attacks then it pretty much destroys any truth to al-Asshole's claims of innocence.

    Not necessarily. You're attempting to simplify a complex situation. What if they shell an area, then they send in troops and the rebels retaliate into the same area with nerve agents?

    The other thing that I expect you and Cow (though I'm quickly losing hope with him) to explain is why al-Asshole stalled letting the UN inspectors into the area for 5 days? It's because he has things to hide ...

    Unlike you, I can think of various explanations because it's, indeed, a complex situation. You state absolutes with black and white thinking and that's exactly what got us into the Iraq War as well.

    There's a couple of possibilities, but if you only consume Western mainstream media and take it as gospel, you may not be able to critically think about different possibilities.

    One possibility is the Syrian government had something to hide and wanted to destroy evidence before inspections because they used chemical weapons. This seems to be the only possibility you can manage to subscribe to via your black and white thinking.

    Another possibility is it was still an active war zone and the last thing the Syrian government wanted to do is shell the area against rebels and end up killing or injuring U.N. inspectors. If that happened, that'd be a pretext for Western powers for war against Syria.

    Another possibility is the Syrian government wanted to inspect the area to see if rebels left any faux "evidence" to set them up. Something the rebels have been guilty of doing in the past, by the way.

    There's many other possibilities as well. The people who are eager to go to war want to simplify a complex situation. I'm not eager for the United States to go to war with Syria, are you?

    Evidence Indicates that Syrian Government Did Not Launch a Chemical Weapon Attack Against Its People


    Michael Rivero asks:

    1. Why would Syria’s Assad invite United Nations chemical weapons inspectors to Syria, then launch a chemical weapons attack against women and children on the very day they arrive, just miles from where they are staying?

    2. If Assad were going to use chemical weapons, wouldn’t he use them against the hired mercenary army trying to oust him? What does he gain attacking women and children? Nothing! The gain is all on the side of the US Government desperate to get the war agenda going again.

    Who really benefits from a chemical attack?

    The USA made the "red line" statement that they would take action if there was a chemical attack. This threat wasn't made in secret to the Syrian government, it was a public statement that was heard by the world including the rebels.

    You think it's beyond the realm of possibility that the rebels wouldn't take advantage of this situation to get Western forces to attack the Syrian government? The same rebels that have recruited child soldiers, practice beheadings and other atrocities wouldn't stoop to exposing their own sarin gas to victims of conventional Syrian bombings?

    The problem with religious zealots (or any other zealots for that matter) is they all too often will try to rationalize doing horrific things in the short-term for what they perceive is for the greater good in the long-term.

    In your haste to turn a complex situation into a simplistic situation, I think you're forgetting that.

    Unlike you, I'm able to consider multiple scenarios. I certainly don't think it's beyond the realm of possibility that the Syrian government has used chemical weapons, but I also think there's plenty of reason to suspect rebels as well.

    And now, let's get to the CRUX of the entire issue in regards to the United States and what we should or shouldn't do.


    You (nor the U.S. government) has shown any evidence whatsoever that air strikes on Syria will help the situation. No doubt, I think we can both agree it's a horrible situation. But, I'm going to have to agree (in part) with "paranoid leftists" like Republican Representative Mike Rogers that there's not even a solid plan for transition to a post-Assad Syria submitted by the Obama Administration.

    Once we're done bombing Assad (and, inevitably, civilians) do we then attack the rebels (and, inevitably, civilians) who have recruited child soldiers, eaten the hearts out of soldiers, carried out beheadings and are strongly suspected of already carrying out chemical attacks as well?

    What's the plan?

    ... or is this all just about gas pipeline territory and money?

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