The Listening Post

An unworthy war? US/UK reporting on Yemen

As the assault on Hudaida makes news, we examine flaws in coverage of the war in Yemen. Plus, chemical attacks in Syria.

On The Listening Post this week: As the assault on Hudaida makes news, we examine flaws in coverage of the wider war in Yemen. Plus, the warring narratives around chemical attacks in Syria.

How US and UK media report the war in Yemen

A conflict described by Amnesty International as the “forgotten war”, Yemen has found itself in the news this past week.

The reason was an assault by the combined forces of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates on the port city of Hudaida. While it’s the Saudi-led coalition that has waged this war for the past three years, many media outlets describe Yemen as a proxy war, hence the term ‘Iran-backed Houthi rebels’.

But what about the US and the UK whose weapons sales and military assistance have enabled the Gulf states to carry on the war?

For British and US journalists that should make Yemen a foreign war with plenty of domestic angles. But you wouldn’t know it from the kind of coverage – and the overall lack of it.

Piers Robinson, chair in Politics, Society and Political Journalism, University of Sheffield
Alex Emmons, reporter, The Intercept
Shireen al-Adeimi, assistant professor, Michigan State University
Hashem Ahelbarra, senior correspondent, Al Jazeera

On our radar

Richard Gizbert speaks to producer Flo Phillips about the brutal murder of a Kashmiri editor which has sent a chilling message to anyone trying to report from region. And, in the US – despite some access issues – media coverage of the thousands of children taken from their parents by border authorities has been almost non-stop.

Syria’s chemical attacks: Smoke and mirrors, truth and lies

In seven years of fighting in Syria, it’s the chemical weapons attacks – like the most recent suspected attack in the city of Douma – that have produced some of the most widely broadcast footage and the most heated debates.

Arguments over authenticity of the footage, credibility of the analysis, motives and flaws in the reporting are intense and ongoing. To call this an information war is to sell it short, and attempting to navigate through it is far from easy.

The Listening Post‘s Meenakshi Ravi reports on the seeming impossibility of understanding one of the most contentious aspects of the Syrian war, the use of chemical weapons.

Max Blumenthal, founder and editor, Grayzone Project
Kristyan Benedict, campaign manager, Amnesty International
Rania Khalek, co-host, Unauthorized Disclosure Podcast
Elias Groll, writer, Foreign Policy
Eliot Higgins, founder, Bellingcat