A recent example of propaganda or misinformation in regular news media is the story of a young Syrian boy named Omran Daqneesh. You might have seen pictures of Omran circulating Facebook, sitting in the back of an ambulance after supposedly being recovered from a collapsed building after an air strike. Mainstream news outlets, including this Washington post story framed the story in a way to suggest that Syrian or Russian warplanes had bombed the boy’s house and he had subsequently been recovered by the White Helmets. The white helmets are a so-called NGO group who, according to mainstream western sources such as the BBC, are a collection of heroic volunteer Syrian civilians that help Syrian civilians with emergency and humanitarian aid.
However, according to Vanessa Beeley, a peace activist and reporter working for 21st Century Wire, the White Helmets are actually closely affiliated with al-Qaeda and Jabhat al-Nusra who are funded by foreign countries including the British Foreign Office.
Soon after images of Omran started circulating, it was reported that the photographer ) who first took the images of Omran was found in photos which revealed an affiliation with two men that had previously beheaded 12-year-old Syrian boy, Abdullah Issa on camera.
Compared to the viral spreading of the potentially staged Omran video, along with other inconsistencies in the story, doubt has been created in the minds of many as to whether there may be elements of the story that are fabricated or exaggerated to garner support internationally and discredit Assad.