Guardian columnist Owen Jones has fired an opinion-rocket right into the midst of his own kind – journalists. His claim that the mainstream media is an invite-only club run by public school pals has not gone down well.

It began when the author and columnist tweeted some of the lessons he’s learned working in the British media. Labeling the profession a “cult” in the UK, Jones goes on to say the mainstream media (MSM) is “afflicted by a suffocating groupthink, intolerant of critics, hounds internal dissenters, full of people who made it because of connections and/or personal background rather than merit.”

Hurling such accusations against the British media did not solicit a positive reaction from the club’s members. Jones himself described the onslaught that followed against him as an “inferno” of fury… which in turn, sparked an article detailing exactly what is wrong with the UK press.

Journalists from publications across London (where most mainstream outlets are based) were outraged by the comments. There were anecdotes given to disprove Jones – with one reporter even quipping that “no one tells me what to think.”

Jones goes on to describe what’s known as the ‘huddle’ – to put it simply, that’s when reporters get together after Prime Minister’s Questions (or other media events frequented by lobby journalists) to decide what to say or write about. “[L]obby journalists will often stand together and/or walk back to the press lobby together and agree on ‘what just happened,’ if you like,” Jones writes.

Other ways the huddle – or “groupthink,” as he calls it – manifests in the media is through peer pressure. Jones included a comment from right-wing blogger Paul Staines in explanation: “there is for example peer pressure on new hacks to not rock the boat,” even if that pressure is applied by an “exasperated collective groan [from other reporters] if someone asks a dissonant question.”

Staines’ comments end by adding that it is “not a conspiracy, just peer pressure.”
Times columnist David Aaronovitch‏, ex-BuzzFeed writer James Ball, Financial Times editorial director Robert Shrimsley‏, and freelance journalist Robin Whitlock were some of many to swipe back at Jones. ITV news royal editor Chris Ship simply tweeted back his educational history, as the virtue signaling and defensiveness told their own story.

PoliticsHome editor Kevin Schofield followed suit. “I grew up in a working class household, went to state schools, worked my arse off on local papers for years and finally made it to Fleet St,” he tweeted, nose thoroughly out of joint.

It turns out Jones was referring to the media elite of the national titles and broadcasters; and not the “army of poorly paid and insecure freelancers or local reporters who are deeply undervalued,” as he describes them.

To go with the truth bomb he lobbed into the center of the media scrum, Jones dug up one or two supporting statistics – and it turns out that many in the media had a very privileged start to life.

“Just 7% of the British population are privately educated. But according to the Sutton Trust in 2016, 51% of Britain’s top journalists are privately educated,” Jones writes. Poverty Commission in 2014, 43% of newspaper columnists are privately educated; just 23% went to comprehensives. Two thirds of new entrants to journalism came from managerial and professional backgrounds: more than twice the level of the rest of the population.

“According to another government study, journalists are second only to doctors when it comes to the dominance of those from professional or managerial parental backgrounds. In other words: journalism is one of the most socially exclusive professions in Britain.”

That hasn’t stopped journalists and writers from coming out of the woodwork to slam Jones – or, at least, to enjoy others doing so.

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Trump boasted on Twitter that the US-led strikes on Syria last weekend were a “mission accomplished”, which drew criticism from many who likened it to Bush’s infamously premature statement about Iraq.

There were differing reports about how many missiles were shot down by Syria’s Soviet-era air defense systems and the scale of damage that was wrought by the ones that did get through the country’s anti-missile shield, but the general consensus is that Trump’s mission didn’t accomplish much and may have even been more militarily ineffective than last year’s strike in reaction to the Khan Sheikhoun false flag chemical weapons attack from that time. Furthermore, a bold statement such as “mission accomplished” implies a victory much broader than just launching some missiles, most of which are regarded as having never even made it to their targets.

trump mission accomplished

Trump’s known for his grandiose and hyperbolic statements to stir up support among his base and generate widespread attention, but he may have inadvertently walked into a narrative trap entirely of his own making with this latest tweet. Just a few weeks ago he was talking about withdrawing from Syria, but then all of a sudden the Douma chemical weapons false flag attack was used as his pretext for launching the failed missile strike against the country. Not only that, but his UN Representative Nikki Haley later declared that American troops will remain in the Arab Republic until the US’ goals were accomplished, which she described as responding to reports of chemical weapons attacks, ensuring Daesh’s defeat, and keeping an eye on Iran. These open-ended objectives suggest that Trump’s Syrian mission is far from accomplished.

damascus air defense systems

Building off of the US’ new publicly declared goals in Syria, Washington will likely rely on its supposed anti-Daesh mission to justify expanding its military commitment to its allied Kurdish proxies in the northeast of the country, which could potentially see the US pushing for Damascus to recognize their unilaterally declared “federalization” from March 2016 in order to de-facto legitimize a new American client state in the region. This would complement the US’ real objective of “containing” Iranian influence in the Arab Republic, which it’s becoming more comfortable publicly admitting, especially in light of Israel’s threats to continue bombing suspected IRGC and Hezbollah targets in Syria. As the anti-terrorist phase of the conflict more openly returns to its original multidimensional proxy one, Trump might regret having prematurely declared that anything of significance was accomplished there.

Niall Bradley, editor and analyst for the independent news site SOTT.net, and John Mesler, retired local government employee and musician who’s now a peace activist, commented on the issue.

DAMASCUS: Inspectors from the OPCW, the chemical weapons watchdog, have visited the site of the fake events leading up to the joint Anglo-French-American air assault on Syria and have reportedly taken samples of soil, clothing and other artifacts for examination. Another grouping of the inspectors is interviewing citizens to get their take on the events of the Saturday before last and collecting blood samples from cadavers. All samples will be studies at the OPCW laboratory in Rijswijk, a suburb of the Hague. (Don’t ask me to pronounce that word.)

Of concern to SyrPer is the director of the OPCW, Ahmet Uzumcu, a former career diplomat with the Turk foreign ministry – a former Turk ambassador to the Zionist Apartheid State (7-28-1999 to 6-30-2002). He was also, amazingly, Turkey’s former representative to NATO. Being a Turk with qualifications like this would make anyone suspect that his credibility was fragile to nil.

As an example, recently there were allegations that Turkey used CW (chlorine) in its campaign against the SDF and PKK in ‘Afreen. Uzumcu claimed to have investigated the matter and found no “credible” evidence to justify a finding that Turkey used chlorine at that location. Surprise! He is clearly a compromised source of information and I’m just flummoxed by Russia’s insistence on a OPCW investigation knowing this Turk would have overall authority over the inspectors and their conclusions. If there were any conceivable questions about his appropriateness for the task at hand, they should have been brought formally so he could, at the very least, distance himself from any scientific conclusions.

At SyrPer we are expecting the inspectors to find nothing but hypoxia as confirmed by several medical doctors in the Ghouta. Evidently, as the narrative goes, there were citizens huddled inside fruit cellars, and the like, using them as bomb shelters. When bombs started falling, dust and particles were thrown up into the air and, then, descended into the make-shift shelters causing people to gag and show signs of oxygen deprivation (hypoxia). When the so-called criminals of the White Helmets started shouting “gas!” and “gas attack!”, people were in a panicked state. The entire event was staged and suspiciously, cameras and terrorist news crews began to appear and film children being hosed down in some crackpot show of emergency medical treatment. When you see the tapes, you cannot help but laugh as the so-called frauds exposed themselves to possible contamination.

I believe the OPCW will declare it is unable to assess whether or not CW was used at all. The OPCW is not an prosecutorial organization such that it can assess blame. It can only determine if CW was used, if at all. By announcing its inability to make the determination, this character, Uzumcu, will have fulfilled his duties as mole, spy, agent and treacherous Turk. He will leave Trump, Boris Johnson, Macron and May with a face-saving way out. Don’t be surprised to hear that the Russians “cleared the area of evidence”. The West will argue that that is the reason a “staged” sniper incident delayed the entry of the inspectors even though no members of the OPCW team or the Department of Safety and Security made any such allegation to anyone.

This is a strange world of dysfunction. Look at the Western characters in this dark comedy: A real estate investor with orange skin, orange hair and a habit of enjoying sexual relations with Playboy models while his model wife is having their first child. You have a French president married to a woman 30 years his senior. You have a British Foreign Minister who looks and acts like an English sheepdog. Top it off with a woman at the helm of England’s highest office but whose mien, temperament and lifelessness can only be matched by John Major. It is a clownish cast.

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We can confirm the deaths of ISIS’s commanders in Al-Hajar Al-Aswad and the Yarmook Camp: Abu Hishaam Al-Khaaboori (Saudi) and Abu ‘Ali Nafsha. Both were unceremoniously splattered by well-aimed infantry rocket fire.

The Al-Zayn Quarter located between Yalda and Al-Hajar Al-Aswad has been liberated by the SAA as of yesterday, April 21, 2018. This has effectively isolated ISIS and Alqaeda separating them from other pockets to their north. The army is advancing notably in Al-Tadhaamun and Al-Qadam.

A large number of buses have entered the East Qalamoon, specifically at Al-Ruhayba, Jayrood and Al-Naasiriyya. With the terrorists having turned over all their heavy and medium weapons, their next stop is Jaraablus where they will be recruited by Erdoghan to join the ranks of the rodents fighting the Kurds. Enjoy.

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NEWS AND COMMENT:
New York Magazine just proved Trump is a war criminal:

https://www.yahoo.com/news/m/ef47529f-e1e7-38f7-9d15-ed3e58950307/ss_officials-confirm-that-trump.html

Moon of Alabama and its colorful, insightful and rigorous analysis of CW in Douma:

http://www.moonofalabama.org/2018/04/syria-who-holds-up-the-opcw-investigation-in-douma.html

More scholarly article about Trump’s illegal conduct in Syria:

https://www.upi.com/Top_News/Voices/2018/04/20/Syrias-Assad-regime-is-brutal-but-retaliatory-airstrikes-are-illegal/8661524230379/