A Journey through the Guardian’s Coverage of the Libyan Disaster

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In this analysis we examine Libya’s recent history looking through the eyes of the Guardian, the flagship of liberal western outlets, and its reporting. As with most other western media, the Guardian was an enthusiastic supporter of the NATO intervention that overthrew Gaddafi and threw the country into the disaster that we are about to describe. Faithful to western interests then, the Guardian remains faithful afterwards as well. But imperial designs are laden with contradictions and sometimes drastically change course, but the Guardian dutifully follows. More interestingly, in light of the complex Libyan situation, the Guardian resorts to labels, adjectives, to distinguish the “good” (i.e. western-supported) actors from the “bad” ones. And as western powers stumble from one strategy to the next, these labels change accordingly.

We start this journey around the 2012 election in Libya, a few months after the end of the brutal, western-led regime change. We will not focus on the western media’s cheerleading for the NATO intervention, on the basis of preventing a repeat of atrocities that did not happen and stopping an imminent massacre that was also not going to happen, or on the conveniently overlooked extremist elements in the opposition ranks. We will also not compare the free and democratic future predicted by western commentators to the disastrous failed-state that Libya has become. Finally, we also do not cover the tragic refugee crisis in the…

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