On Monday a senior Guardian ‘technology reporter’ named Olivia Solon published the findings of her investigation into how it came to pass that ‘conspiracy theories’ about the White Helmets ‘Syrian civil defense’ organization actually being a terrorist group managed to dominate online discussion. The result was an incredible hit-piece against alternative media sites – particularly 21st Century Wire, which published original research by journalist Vanessa Beeley – whose work has done much to expose Western lies about the war in Syria. And it’s all ultimately Russia’s fault, of course…
How Syria’s White Helmets became victims of an online propaganda machine
The Russia-backed campaign to link the volunteer rescuers with al-Qaida exposes how conspiracy theories take root: ‘It’s like a factory’
Reading just the headline and sub-headline, you’ve already caught the gist of it. Solon constructs a tale about a grand conspiracy involving “anti-imperialist activists, conspiracy theorists and trolls with the support of the Russian government” to account for why people believe the alternative (and largely accurate) narrative about the White Helmets over the official, Western narrative that the White Helmets are actually ‘white knights saving Syrians from their evil government’.