When it comes to Syria, Russia is doing what it always does–supporting the Assad regime. That’s

Reports distort meaning of Obama-Putin talks

missing from news coverage of the Obama-Putin meeting. The problem is that reporters don’t have a grasp of the context and history.

It’s being played as a spat over the leadership of Syria–that much is at least partially true–and over how to deal with ISIS. But in the context of Russian policy, ISIS is a minor irritant, as long as it can keep Syrian President Bashar Assad in power. Putin is willing to grumble about ISIS to make Obama happy, since Obama is committed to fighting ISIS, but that’s about it.

On KQV Radio in Pittsburgh a few minutes ago, I told host PJ Maloney what I think the US should actually be doing instead of training fighters–and that’s helping the refugees.

I wish my colleagues in the world of journalism were capable of realizing that a story does not begin when their feet touch the airport carpet. That might require reading (gasp) a book (gasp) or something equally disgusting, like talking to an expert or two before writing, or preferably, before boarding that plane over here in the first place. I’ve been saying that for decades, and now, in the age of staff cutbacks and constant deadlines, it’s not likely to change. In fact, with the closing of foreign news bureaus around the world, it’s going to get worse, as “firemen” are flown into areas like this and are expected to start reporting as soon as they get a signal on their phones, without background and basically without a clue.

Reports off target on Obama-Putin spat over Syria, ISIS