Al-Masdar News

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Al-Masdar News
Type of site
News and opinion
Available inEnglish, Arabic, Turkish, Spanish, Russian, German, Serbo-Croatian
Area servedthe Arab world
EditorLeith Abou Fadel
Websitewww.almasdarnews.com
Alexa rankDecrease 14,615 (September 2017)[1]
AdvertisingYes
CommercialYes
RegistrationOptional
LaunchedAugust 2014; 5 years ago (2014-08)
Current statusActive

Al-Masdar News (sometimes abbreviated AMN) (Arabic: المصدر نيوز‎) is an online newspaper founded by Leith Abou Fadel.[2] Al-Masdar is Arabic for "the source".[3] Al-Masdar's coverage focuses largely on conflict zones in the Middle East: Syria, Yemen, and Iraq. Al-Masdar has been described as being pro-president Bashar al-Assad.

Background[edit]

Al-Masdar News (AMN) was launched in August 2014 as a media service that provides frontline news and analysis from the Middle East.[4]

Position[edit]

The website was described by the BBC and Newsweek as having a pro-Syrian government viewpoint,[5][6] while The Independent describes it as "sympathetic to the Syrian regime".[7] The New York Times has described it as a "pro-government website".[8] Leonid Bertshidsky writing in Bloomberg News, also calls al-Masdar "somewhat pro-Assad."[9] The National Interest describes it as "pro-Assad".[10] The Jerusalem Post describes it as "generally supportive of the Syrian regime".[11] The New Statesman calls it a "regime-supporting outlet".[12] Russian outlet Sputnik calls it "pro-Syrian".[13]

Criticism[edit]

Following the April 2017 Khan Shaykhun chemical attack in the Idlib Governorate, al-Masdar News published an opinion article by deputy editor Paul Antonopoulos entitled "Jumping to conclusions; something is not adding up in Idlib chemical weapons attack".[14][15] A report by the Atlantic Council's Digital Forensic Research Lab (DFRLab) published three days later described a "digital forensics" trail which showed how this al-Masdar opinion article was used as a source by conspiracy, pro-Russian and far-right websites, in particular InfoWars, which recycled Antonopoulos' article in a piece by Mimi al Laham. It described al-Masdar News as "an unofficial government outlet" and said that it had "repeatedly attacked regime critics and witnesses to regime atrocities, notably the White Helmets."[16][17][18][19] Business Insider showed the conclusions in the AMN article differing markedly from those of other analysts, specifically Fred Hof (director of the Atlantic Council's Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East), US defense officials, President Donald Trump and Dr. Monzer Khalil (rebel-held Idlib Province's health director).[20]

After deputy editor Paul Antonopoulos (author of the controversial opinion article Jumping to conclusions) was shown to be active on the neo-Nazi site Stormfront, he was forced to resign from al-Masdar on 28 April 2017.[21] Al-Masdar issued a statement on behalf of its board of directors,[22] saying they found his behaviour "wholly unacceptable" and strongly condemned it, while also apologizing to its readers and all those offended by his actions.[23]

Business Insider reporter Natasha Bertrand has described Leith Abou Fadel, the editor of al-Masdar, as someone who had pushed a conspiracy theory in the past, and described him as an "Assad loyalist".[20] The New York Times also accused Fadel of spreading unfounded misinformation about a victim of the Petra László incident.[8]

A 2018 report by the Alliance for Securing Democracy, based on analysis of its "Hamilton 68" database of Russian disinformation Twitter accounts, showed that al-Masdar is a main source of Syria-related propaganda for Russian accounts aimed at US audiences.[24]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Almasdarnews.com Traffic, Demographics and Competitors - Alexa". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 18 September 2017.
  2. ^ "Contributors & Staff: Editorial Team". Al Masdar News. Retrieved 30 April 2017.
  3. ^ "Al-Masdar: The Source for Arabic Teaching and Learning". ISKME.org. Retrieved 28 April 2017.
  4. ^ Al-Masdar News - About
  5. ^ "Syria conflict: 'Israeli jets' strike outside Damascus". Bbc.co.uk. 30 November 2016. Retrieved 28 April 2017.
  6. ^ O'Connor, Tom (17 March 2017). "Syria at War: As U.S. Bombs Rebels, Russia Strikes ISIS and Israel Targets Assad". Newsweek. Retrieved 28 April 2017.
  7. ^ McKernan, Bethan (2 February 2017). "Syrian army creates unit just for women after so many sign up to fight Isis". The Independent.
  8. ^ a b Mackey, Robert; Saad, Hwaida (23 September 2015). "Syrian Refugee Tripped in Hungary Fights Unfounded Accusations of Extremist Ties". New York Times. Retrieved 28 April 2017.
  9. ^ Bertshidsky, Leonid. "Trump Squeezes Putin in Syria. Don't Assume That's Good".
  10. ^ Roblin, Sebastien (3 June 2019). "Israeli F-16s Wiped Out a Syrian Missile Complex (Russia Didn't Fire Back)". The National Interest. Retrieved 18 September 2019.
  11. ^ Frantzman, Seth J. (24 April 2019). "Rumors seek to drive U.S. and Iran into conflict in eastern Syria". The Jerusalem Post | JPost.com. Retrieved 18 September 2019.
  12. ^ Sabbour, Omar (18 January 2019). "How the Assad regime has exploited "evacuation deals" to redirect Isis against the rebels". Britain's Current Affairs & Politics Magazine. Retrieved 18 September 2019.
  13. ^ "Iran Gains Mediterranean Port Lease Deal 300 km From Israel's Coast - Reports". Sputnik International. 7 April 2019. Retrieved 18 September 2019.
  14. ^ Antonopoulos, Paul. Jumping to conclusions; something is not adding up in Idlib chemical weapons attack. Al-Masdar News. 2017-04-04.
  15. ^ "Media war over Syria". ABC Media Watch. 10 October 2003. Retrieved 18 September 2019.
  16. ^ Nimmo, Ben; Barojan, Donara (7 April 2017). "How the alt-right brought #SyriaHoax to America". Medium.com. Atlantic Council.
  17. ^ Monbiot, George (15 November 2017). the Guardian http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/nov/15/lesson-from-syria-chemical-weapons-conspiracy-theories-alt-right. Retrieved 18 September 2019. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  18. ^ "Report Traces How The "Alt-Right" Spread Pro-Assad Propaganda". Media Matters for America. 14 April 2017. Retrieved 18 September 2019.
  19. ^ Ahmad, Muhammad Idrees (5 May 2017). "Chomsky and the Syria revisionists: Regime whitewashing". alaraby. Retrieved 18 September 2019.
  20. ^ a b Bertrand, Natasha (8 April 2017). "From Al-Masdar to InfoWars: How a pro-Assad conspiracy theory got picked up by the far-right". Business Insider UK.
  21. ^ Jennine Khalik (2 May 2017). "Journalist Paul Antonopoulos outed for racist slurs". The Australian. Retrieved 3 May 2017.
  22. ^ "Board of Directors". Al-Masdar News. 3 May 2017.
  23. ^ "Board of Directors Statement – April 28th, 2017". Al-Masdar News. 28 April 2017.
  24. ^ Denise Clifton (9 November 2018). "Deep Inside a Pro-Putin Network That's Helping Trump Divide America". Mother Jones. Retrieved 18 September 2019.


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