Usually, this results from ignorance of Middle Eastern cultures, religions, political realities, etc. Other times, it just results from far more basic incompetence.
For example, consider the newspaper coverage of the "National Salvation Front", a group of Syrian dissidents led by former Vice-President Abdel Halim Khaddam, which met in London yesterday and today.
Newspapers around the world said the following this morning, quoting from United Press International (UPI):
"Abdel Halim Khaddam fell out of favor with President Hafez Assad after Syria refused democratic reform, the Times of London reported."However, what the Times really said was:
"He fell out with the President last year after the assassination of Rafik Hariri, the former Lebanese Prime Minister, and after the ruling Baath Party failed to accept democratic reform."Clearly, the context refers to the current President Bashar Assad, in a temporally correct fashion. How could such a blatant error, confusing a man who died 6 years ago with his son, occur? Very poor journalism.
London-based Syrian commentator Rime Allaf recently discussed some other blood-boiling ignorant statements in the press when concerning Syria.
Anyway, Khaddam & co. are in for a rude awakening. This was just their first public launch, and already the basic facts underlying their goal (let alone their opinions) have been twisted. At this point, the water's still cold. Wait until it heats up. The sloppiness will only increase.