Ha’aretz Has A Big Front Page Scoop
The message in the front page headline, spread over six of the eight columns in today’s English edition of Ha’aretz (December 21, 2011) is clear and unequivocal . The headline states: ”Assad losing control as 10,000 soldiers desert Syrian military.” Here is the full text of the article, for your info.
However, there is a slight journalistic complication. No recognizable or identifiable source is given for the information. The only sources cited for these dramatic developments are simply “sources” or “Western intelligence agencies.” Moreover, Ha’aretz seems to be the only one out there with this tremendous scoop. The 10,000 deserters did not make it into the NYT today, which carried a routine balanced report on the daily casualties and on the preparations of the Arab League delegation to Syria.
Maybe the real clue to the Ha’aretz scoop is based on a statement by Defense Minister Barak a month ago (and cited in the very article) that Assad will fall in a few weeks. Now, it seems that the two Ha’aretz journalists, Issacharoff and Harel are playing that old Shin Bet game. They are converting their “personal” connections with Barak into a nice bit of journalistic hearsay. You see, no one can prove that they are wrong.
Ha’aretz, true enough is not the only media channel revealing a bit of hysteria these days. The “danger” of negotiations is looming and there are indications of attempts at a negotiated settlement. Such a negotiated settlement may be the only way to prevent a protracted civil war in Syria, which might easily mushroom into a regional conflagration. Now if you are against negotiations, the best argument against them, and you can hear it in the most recent Israeli commentary, is quite clear and simple. Asad is falling. He is dead. Why would anyone in his right mind want to negotiate with him?
Barak “knows” that Asad is going to fall any day. Barak’s buddies over at Ha’aretz send up this balloon. And this is Israel’s leading newspaper. Leading to where and to what?
All the above applies as well to the Hebrew edition of the paper, with one single difference. The banner heralding the scoop in the Hebrew paper was a bit longer.