That Time CNN Staged A Fake Interview With A Syrian Child For War Propaganda

Caitlin Johnstone
6 min readSep 10, 2018


Imagine if you and some friends wandered into a completely dark room together for some reason. You’ve never been in this room before, and you can’t see a thing.

Now imagine one of your friends says he can see everything in the room perfectly, and starts describing the different things that he sees in a confident, assertive tone of voice. You know for a fact that there’s no light in the room, so you are doubtful that your friend is able to see any better than you are, but one by one your other friends start talking about the objects in the room as though what he is saying is true. After a while your group starts telling you you’re crazy and evil because you remain skeptical of your first friend’s ability to see the room in pitch darkness, despite his assertive tone of voice and despite the fact that everyone else believes it.

Western public discourse about Syria is very much the same. All the time I get people coming up yelling at me about what a butcher Bashar al-Assad is, how he loves gassing children because he’s an evil monster, how he’s killed hundreds of thousands of civilians in his own country out of sheer sadism, and all I can say to them is, you don’t know that. You don’t know any of those things, you’re just pretending you do because that’s what everyone else is doing. I know you don’t know any of those things because you’re looking at the same information landscape as I am, and it’s chock full of war propaganda. The media matrix is too full of obvious psyops meant to manufacture public consent for military interventionism in Syria for any westerner to have a clear idea of what’s actually happening in that country.

And we know this for a fact, as sure as you know when you’re in a dark room. Take the time CNN knowingly staged a fake, scripted interview with a seven year-old Syrian girl last year and passed it off to its audience as a real interview.

I point this out to my readers every few months, and I expect I will continue to do so for as long as western war propaganda is a problem. In April of last year, following a hotly disputed accusation of chemical weapons use in Idlib province, a little girl named Bana Alabed was paraded before the audience of CNN’s New Day in an interview with Alisyn Camerota. Bana was seven years old at the time, yet was seen in the interview providing complex ideas and geopolitical analysis that she could not possibly have understood. Her eyes moved back and forth as though reading from a teleprompter, and she sounded out the words in English (a language she doesn’t appear to have understood at the time) syllable-by-syllable in a way you’ve never heard any child speak in your life.

It was a fake interview passed off as a real one, scripted and passed off as spontaneous. It’s as clear as day for anyone to see. And Alisyn Camerota necessarily had the other half of that script, since she needed to know what questions to feed the child. It was a coordinated deception of CNN’s audience, meant to sell the unpopular idea of yet another military intervention in yet another Middle Eastern country, aired on America’s most trusted and well-known nationwide news network. It was as brazen a deception as you could possibly imagine, on as mainstream a platform as you could possibly get, advancing a narrative clearly intended to manufacture support for an agenda which could potentially devastate an entire region. That happened. They did that. If they’ll do that, there’s nothing they won’t do.

And now, as things are heating up in Idlib, we’ve got America’s UN ambassador saying that any sign of chemical weapons use will be immediately blamed on the Assad government and retaliated against despite the known presence of Al-Qaeda affiliates who’d have every incentive to stage such an attack, and despite the complete absence of motive for Assad. We’ve got State Department officials saying the Trump administration has reversed its policy of withdrawing from Syria and saying no campaign to liberate Idlib from its terrorist occupiers will be tolerated. And we’ve got Youtube suddenly suspending Syrian government accounts to better ensure total narrative control.

They are lying to us about what is happening in Syria. We know that for a fact, just like we now for a fact when we are in a dark room. And we know for a fact that the US and its allies have been scheming to effect regime change in that very nation, the nation immediately adjacent to their previous regime change target Iraq, for many years. We know that they have been planning to orchestrate a violent uprising in Syria since long before violence erupted in 2011, and we know that it erupted as they had planned. I posted the evidence for this in a recent article, but here it is again just to make sure more people see it:

  • Here is a 2006 WikiLeaks cable in which the US government is seen exploring possible factions which could be incentivized to rise up against Assad, and ways in which psyops could be used to ensure widespread violence.
  • Here is a declassified CIA memo from 1986 in which the Central Intelligence Agency is seen exploring ways in which sectarian tensions can be inflamed to provoke a violent uprising in Syria. Here is a useful article featuring excerpts from the memo showing some jarring parallels between what was being planned and what happened a quarter century later.
  • Here is a video clip of General Wesley Clark naming Syria among the countries scheduled by the Pentagon for regime change in the wake of 9/11.
  • Here is a video clip of the former Foreign Minister of France stating in plain language that he was informed by British government insiders in 2009 that a violent Syrian uprising was being planned, two years before the violence erupted.
  • Here is an article featuring a video of the former Qatari Prime Minister stating that the US and its allies were involved in the violence from the very beginning.
  • Here is an article from May of 2011 reporting on some of the extremely suspicious provocations that led to the outbreak of widespread violence. Here’s another from March 2011. Here’s another from December 2011.

So don’t be fooled. Remember, the reason they work so hard to manufacture our consent for these agendas is because they need that consent in order to operate. If they try to operate without our consent, they will lose control of the narrative, and thus lose their ability to propagandize us effectively. So don’t give them your consent. Fight their lies on all fronts, using truth, skepticism and critical thinking as your weapon. Stand tall, shine bright, refuse to be ignored, don’t wait for your turn to speak, use unmitigated speech, say what needs to be said and say it like you’re right, because you are.

Let a giant “NO” to this manipulation roar through us all. Let the Syrian people be free from imperialist agendas once and for all. Let us all be free from imperialist agendas once and for all. End the madness and begin moving into sanity.


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