Letter: Mainstream press fails to deliver

Mainstream press fails to deliver

In these stressful times, it seems very important for the mainstream press, its editors and journalists to meet the obligation of reporting events professionally and accurately. Opinions belong on the editorial pages. The recent reporting on the 2008 Russian “invasion” of Georgia is a case in point. After the break-up of the Soviet Union in 1989, the South Ossetians, settled in an enclave into Georgia, wanted to join their northern kin. That was contrary to the aspirations of Georgia.

The resulting fight was settled by an agreement to deploy Russian peacekeepers along this internal border. That kept the peace for 18 years when the new President Saakashvili decided to try again. On Aug. 8, 2008, 10,000 troops crossed into South Ossetia, in the process killing the 50 or so Russian peacekeepers.

The Ossetians, unsurprisingly, asked and received military assistance from its neighbor. Within a remarkably short five days of fighting, the armistice line was restored. All Russian troops came home soon after. Six years later the situation is still stable.

Similarly, the coverage about Syria and Libya could be compared to World War II Tokyo rose reporting. Invented casualty numbers in Syria. Civilians in Benghazi threatened. Why are civilians always innocent and Assad or Gaddafi always brutal? Why is the Syrian government a regime and not a government? Why is the elected head of Ukraine reported to have just “left.” After all, he had a big house, a good job and lots of nice things.

Invented facts are the coin of our international conduct. For the press to be complicit is truly deplorable.

Stefan Edlis