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Vogue responds to Asma Al-Assad criticism

March 2nd, 2011 · 13 Comments · Media, Politics

It whipped up a storm on the net. Now Vogue is explaining why it chose to run an apolitical profile of Asma Al-Assad at a time like this.

The magazine’s senior editor, Chris Knutsen, tells Max Fisher at The Atlantic:

“We thought we could open up that very closed world a very little bit.”

And that, they did. He goes on:

“The piece was not meant in any way to be a referendum on the al-Assad regime. It was a profile of the first lady.”

On accusations that the story was a propaganda puff piece:

“I think the way they portray themselves [in the story] is probably pretty accurate.”

And what of the weird timing:

“By the time the article was closed and shipped, in mid January, we had only just learned about events in Tunisia.”

For an analysis of what went wrong, you’d think Fisher would check his own facts. But no, his sloppy writing leads him to say:

“Bashar’s Syria has invaded Lebanon, allied itself with Iran, aided such groups as Hamas and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, and, for years, ferried insurgents and terrorists into Iraq, where they kill U.S. troops and Iraqi civilians.”

Not even the US army has accused Syria of “ferrying” fighters into Iraq – the worst accusation is that they have turned a blind eye, or not secured the border. And, as far as I am aware, “Bashar’s Syria” never invaded Lebanon.

What interests me is the hypocrisy this article is bringing out in my peers. They slam Vogue for running this story, but I suspect (and some have admitted) that they would stay silent if Vogue ran a fawning story on Queen Rania of Jordan. I don’t seem to remember many cries when Glamour magazine picked Rania as a Woman of the Year 2010.

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13 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Safwan // Mar 2, 2011 at 1.41 am

    Hi,
    being from Syria and a student of political sciences, I would like to stress the fact that the original article has no sound basis in reality, because Syria has not invaded Lebanon. On the contrary, Syria stopped a constant and painful civil war in Lebanon. Syria never turned a blind eye on the fighters wanting to cross the borders to Iraq, for the simple fact that we have more than 600 Km long of borders located in the desert. So, please tell me who or what country could actually and thoroughly guard 100 percent such a long border. In relation to the Palestinian people, all what I can say is that they have right to defend themselves and hope to regain control of their own invaded country. One should not forget that even the UN resolutions 242 and 338 call for an independent and sovereign Palestine. In regard to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, I would say that there is a strong beneficial relationship for both countries, which are originally brother countries with the same cultural and religious background. In fact, if there is anyone here to blame it is the European countries and the USA who wanted to isolate Syria and get her out of her national and international reality; that is, Syria has got to defend the rights of the Palestinians, the Lebanese and the Syrians themselves in that Israel still in control of some invaded territories that belong to these countries.
    It is really important here to see the hypocrisy and discrepancy of the countries that do not defend the rights of Syria and her allies in this area, since Syria is not the invader, she is the invaded…The question is how to react against this bitter reality….Should we greet the Israelis with wreaths of laurel or should we defend our rights and what is truly and rightfully ours?
    For further information, feel free to contact me.

  • 2 Syria Almighty // Mar 2, 2011 at 7.00 am

    Hypocrisy is the voice of democracy; Lies, its native language.

  • 3 Safwan // Mar 2, 2011 at 7.16 am

    What part is exactly considered as lies for you? Or do you mean it as a wholw?

  • 4 no one // Mar 2, 2011 at 10.33 pm

    what do they mean by a rose in the desert??? syria is not a desert , that was quite insulting, how could she approves this title!!!

  • 5 Safwan // Mar 2, 2011 at 10.41 pm

    Well, you have totally right……..

  • 6 Hope Khan // Mar 4, 2011 at 8.55 pm

    I loved the article; I like the woman. I don’t see what’s wrong with the article other than it clashes with the common wisdom we, in the West, are constantly fed by the mainstream media about Syria and a lot of other not-so-pro-Irsael countries in the Middle East.

  • 7 vogue reader // Mar 5, 2011 at 10.44 pm

    Vogue actually ran a story on the Queen Rania of Jordan a few years ago

  • 8 Malik Al-Abdeh // Mar 6, 2011 at 1.08 am

    The Vogue piece on Asma Al-Assad is not a one-off. It’s part of a well-organized and well-financed image makeover executed by corporate lobbyists and image consultants, not unlike that which The Monitor Group has been doing for the Gaddafis. Read more:

    http://syriaintransition.com/2011/03/05/in-the-post-ideological-age-arab-regime-go-for-image-makeover/

  • 9 Norman // Mar 6, 2011 at 4.47 am

    It looks like some people get happiness when Syria is attacked in the Western media and with sanctions imposed, these people should be ashamed of themselves and stop calling themselves Syrians , anything good about Syria is good for Syria not the president or any individual Syrian , it is good for all Syrians ,

  • 10 Malik Al-Abdeh // Mar 6, 2011 at 4.57 am

    Whose ashamed? I’m not ashamed. Why should anyone be ashamed for expressing their views?

    It is every Syrian’s national duty to express themselves freely and openly, without censorship, without sanction and without the intellectual terrorism of the self-appointed custodians of “Syrian patriotism.”

  • 11 Syria Almighty // Mar 6, 2011 at 5.15 am

    I agree with Norman. There are too many Fake Syrians out there.

  • 12 no one // Mar 7, 2011 at 2.12 pm

    the whole article was an attack and a slap on every syrian’s face!!!
    don’t u have eyes to read
    syria is a desert?? syria is a heredity!! g0 read the article and see who is attacking

  • 13 Wake Up Syria // Jun 22, 2011 at 8.05 am

    Hey Safwan,
    What is body count so far in Syria? 1,500 civilians? Way to go Safwan!!!

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