Media fairness and accuracy watchdog Fair.org has been doing a great job of tearing apart some of the worst Russia-related “reporting” of late.
This first piece I want to look at picks apart the ‘Kremlin troll army’ narrative that is so loved by BuzzFeed, Politico, The Daily Beast etc.
Kremlin troll vs. US patriot
The narrative goes like this: Every time you see a “pro-Russia” or even a semi “anti-NATO” comment somewhere on the interwebs, it was written by a paid troll. Putin sends personal checks. If you post more than one thousand comments in a week, you get a signed t-shirt etc. Continue reading →
That was pretty much the central message in Hillary Clinton’s announcement that she will seek the presidency for a second time. The announcement video, which runs for two minutes and eighteen seconds, doesn’t feature Clinton until nearly the end.
The change of tone from the 2008 campaign is immediately clear. Putting the focus on everyone but herself in her opener sends a clear message: We might have gotten it wrong last time, but we’ve learned from our mistake. This is about you — and she wants to “earn” your vote.
NATO was established 66 years ago today, April 4, 1949.
About three and a half months later, on July 26, Senator Robert A. Taft, the son of President William Howard Taft, made a speech explaining why he voted against its establishment.
It’s clear now that he could foresee what those blinded by triumphalism and ideology couldn’t see. He was no apologist for communism or the USSR, but he knew that a military pact against Russia was a provocative act and one more likely to lead to aggression and insecurity than peace and stability.
In case you were wondering why anti-American feeling is so high in Russia these days, below is a video that should shed some light on that.
Saturday Night Live’s resident Russian character, Olya Povlatsky, has returned. While the Povlatsky character has been at least moderately amusing in the past, last night’s skit was not even remotely funny, and in fact, it was outright xenophobic. Continue reading →
I’ve read many pieces — and written some — about the failure of the Western press in how it chooses to cover not only Russia, but Russian media, like RT. None have hit the nail on the head quite as much as this one.
It begins with the story of a journalist fired because his reporting on Maidan and his views on Crimea did not match those of his employer. It’s exactly the kind of story that Politico, Newsweek and BuzzFeed would love.
Really. It has it all. Suppression of the free press. Restriction on free speech. European “values”. Russia, Crimea, Maidan, the whole works. They’d be drooling all over it for at least a week.
There’s just one teeny tiny problem: The journalist in question happened to be fired from an American government-funded news outlet because he supported Crimea’s reintegration into Russia and exposed neo-Nazi atrocities in Ukraine. Oops.
Close your ears, BuzzFeed! This is the kind of ‘suppression of the free press’ story you don’t want to hear about.
Is it the deliberate exclusion of crucial information in an attempt to mislead? Is it the deliberate inclusion of information in an attempt to confuse? Is it a deliberate attempt not necessarily to mislead, but to put forth a perspective which differs from the mainstream? Is it simply outright lying?
Or is it all of the above?
I sit here trying to identify one mainstream newspaper or broadcaster that I could legitimately and confidently argue does not engage in this elusive phenomenon we call ‘propaganda’ — by any of the above definitions.
I call it ‘elusive’ because no one seems to have settled the debate on its meaning — or at least, if they have, it’s not the meaning they are using in practice.
In this so-called ‘information war’ between ‘the West’ and Russia over the crisis in Ukraine, a simple, but dangerous definition seems to have developed: Propaganda is the dissemination of information that provides any legitimacy to the arguments of the enemy.
We are in the midst of yet another round of “who spends more on propaganda?” between Western officials, the news organisations that (by and large) echo their views, and RT — Russia’s equivalent to the BBC World Service.