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Tag Archives: media bias
I’m not sure why anyone falls for the dishonest media spin from either side.
The current “cold war” situation owes more to an engineered conflict that is agreeable to both sides (EU/US and Russia) to distract the peasants from the domestic economic turmoil.
Creating political theatre and ‘threats’ allows governments to run loose economic policy and pour money into defence without taking a beating on the markets.
The ISIS/AQ threat is better persecuted by special forces. To be able to dump billions into new defence projects and soak up blue collared workers into a standing military you need a credible threat.
China doesn’t work so re-igniting the cold-war provides a convenient dog and pony show to distract everyone from our politicians inability to extract us from the economic quagmire they put us in.
There isn’t a single military expert who believes any conflict between NATO/Russia can ever be won by either side, regardless of the military technology employed, since as soon as either side crosses a certain line, then it would escalate to tactical nuclear options, followed by wholesale destruction from the ICBM arsenal.
Putin knows exactly how much rope he has to play with, NATO isn’t going to risk anything over places like Georgia or Ukraine, it is fairly doubtful they would do much over the Baltics. Putin would have to launch an invasion of Finland or Poland before you’d see any kind of response.
Really this is the stuff of Tom Clancy. Any war between major superpowers would plunge the entire global financial system into a collapse, global trade is too interwoven for anything over than skirmishes over non-relevant world economic players.
It’s well known that the UK could no longer even repeat the task force needed to defend the Falklands, but Argentina doesn’t gain anything from trying to take them by force again.
Putin is never going to invade Ukraine, he has the capability and stated he could be in Kiev in 2 days if he wanted (which he could). But occupying a sovereign country would bankrupt Russia and likely lead to his own regime falling.
He is a smart guy and knows real wars are now fought with the media. Market manipulation and information warfare not armour and foot mobiles.
The military talk up a threat to get bigger budgets and new kit, the media toe the line because fear sells more print than Kim Kardashian’s arse, and Putin gets to hold his political control by playing the archetype Russian bear.
Behind the scenes they all discuss what their plans are and laugh at us little people.
Whatever is said publicly the west want to keep Putin in power. He is predictable and capable of holding the country together in a manageable state. They would rather have Putin than some irrational unknown hardliners trying to be a Putin without the smarts of knowing where the line is drawn.
The west don’t care about Russian domestic policy. What they care about is stability of regimes not spooking the markets and causing economic collapse.
No doubt Putin told the US exactly what he was doing in Crimea – he’s not so stupid as to antagonise a nuclear superpower. And no doubt the American administration agreed that the strategic importance of Sevastopol was sufficient grounds for them to protect their interests without interference knowing the potential instability Ukraine was facing.
Anyone who thinks what politicians say and do, or what the media report is in any way representative of what goes on behind closed doors at this level of geopolitics has clearly fallen for the body of lies entirely woven for their benefit.
Remember. War is good business. Most of our enemies like Bin Laden and Saddam were created to serve economic purposes. Suddenly Putin is the bogeyman and Iran is our new best mate. When they want to give China an economic haircut, they’ll be next.
Don’t fall for the rhetoric from either side. Continue reading
When a propaganda channel like Fox News begins to make positive noises about Russia, we must wonder why the narrative has changed so fast and who is pulling the strings. We all know about Fox News, often referred to as … Continue reading
This article first appeared at RT.
As the hysterical outpourings of the Western media and their relentless anti-Putin narrative becomes ever more ridiculous. We look at why.
Vladimir Putin wants to cut off your internet. At least, if you are a reader of the New York Times, you may well believe this. The NYT recently reported that “Russian submarines and spy ships are aggressively operating near the vital undersea cables that carry almost all global Internet communications”.
The NYT didn’t bother to expand on how a submarine might go about acting ‘aggressively’ in the presence of inert under sea cables in international waters. Indeed, later in the article they admit that there is “no evidence of any cable cutting”. So the real story here is in fact: Russian submarine in the sea.
That doesn’t sound like a terribly catchy headline though does it?
If you are a Mail on Sunday reader of the print edition, you were recently treated to a two page headline declaring “Putin’s bombing of the innocents”.
Curiously, the online version of that story omitted that headline.
The Mail is good at this. They can find a reason to blame Russia (quoted from someone else of course) in almost any story. The UK telephone company Talk Talk recently suffered a database hacking. The Mail ran a story about it. Sure enough, in that story we find a quote by someone called Ewan Lawson: “this could be part of a wider pattern of activity encouraged or even supported by the Russian state as part of an effort to destabilise the West”.
Colour me sceptical, but I can’t really see the West being destabilised because someone hacked the database of a minor mobile telephone company.
It must have been a quiet day at the Daily Express this week; they are again suggesting Russia is set to start WW3. Apparently, the Express “laid bare” Putin’s “imperialist ambitions”. The reason? Russia plans to build a military base – in Russia.
We see such nonsense in the Western media more than usual right now. When the editors want to keep a narrative alive, or bury some inconvenient actual news, they will publish something, anything, which allows them to use the headlines that apply to that narrative.
Often these stories are essentially made up, but they allow the use of the words and phrases the narrative dictates, and the narrative remains in the ‘news’.
Continual hyperventilating about so-called (and usually non-existent) ‘Russian aggression’ keeps things like the US bombing of a hospital in Afghanistan off the front pages. Certainly it will keep out of the news the US tank that crashed though the gates of the same hospital destroying evidence less than two weeks later.
That is what is happening here. The Western media have had nothing credible to bash Russia with for some time. There’s not a lot being published about American bumbling in the Middle East, Ukraine is yesterdays news while Poroshenko decides how to further eviscerate the country that he is, nominally, the leader of. Few in the Western media really want to run stories about how Russia is obliterating ISIS positions in a matter of weeks where the US failed over a year and a half.
So instead, we get silly pieces that enable writers and thought leaders to keep the anti-Russian meme going with their audiences. Make something up, quote an unnamed source, add a stock photo of Putin with no shirt, and the anti-Putin propaganda train keeps on rumbling down the tracks.
Why the Western media misunderstand Russia.
Much of the Western media fundamentally misunderstand Russians and Russia. Many blame Putin’s 89% popularity rating in Russia on a ludicrous notion that people answer poll questions while gripped with fear. US News recently reported that “Russians that truly do support Putin form their opinions in a virtual information vacuum. The Russian public’s news and information is overwhelmingly created, or at least vetted, by the Kremlin.”
The very idea that – in the internet age – the government of a country such as Russia could control the media to such an extent that 127m people (89%) could be hoodwinked en masse is frankly, preposterous.
A better approach for Western hacks might be to take a look at why Putin has such high support in Russia rather than trying to pretend he hasn’t. From that, politicians elsewhere might learn something.
If one judges a politician’s credibility by what they do, compared to what they say they will do, Putin is credible, honest and honourable. He has a long track record of doing what he said he would do. On the whole, when he says a thing, it will be so. If he does not say a thing, then you can be sure that what you are hearing is speculation. Voters like that. In the West, we have almost no experience of this.
On foreign policy, the Western media glibly overlooks the fact that the US has invaded over a dozen countries and tried to overthrow the elected governments of many others since just 1990. Yet Russia is criticised for allowing Crimea to reunify with hardly a shot fired, which undoubtedly saved many lives while following the will of the people.
Russia is somehow ‘aggressive’ when it expresses concern that the US and the EU are surrounding it with missiles placed in FSU countries, but continual US aggression across the world – this week with China – is meant to be seen as somehow ‘spreading democracy’ and a harbinger of some kind of ‘freedom’.
The Western media is confused. To find a president that actually leads, one who puts the national interest first and does what he says he will do is somewhat disturbing for them. Such behaviour is beyond their domestic sphere of experience. So they extrapolate from this that it cannot actually be so. The polls must be faked, people must be rigid with terror and afraid to speak out or they must have no access to news.
How to report what you do not understand?
If so few Western hacks understand Russia, and cannot be bothered to learn, how do they fill their column inches? Rather than critical analysis, investigating a variety of viewpoints or perhaps even talking to some Russians, many just follow the herd and make it up.
Cue another story on ‘Russian aggression’, Russia being poised to invade [choose any country here], Russia encroaching in someone’s airspace or the latest media misrepresentation: Russia killing moderate terrorists (helpfully called ‘rebels’ for that purpose), presented as if eradicating terrorists is a bad thing.
Reading the Western media can easily conjure up an image of Putin that has him cackling in his volcano, stroking a white cat with a control panel of missile launch buttons at his elbow. It is also amusing to note that every decision made at any level of government in Russia is always personally attributed to Putin. The media imagines that he somehow personally approves every piece of media output, every article and every minor decision. He must have some time management skills!
With such an anti-Putin narrative now the norm in the Western media for so long, it becomes quite easy to see how lazy hacks will use him as the default baddie for almost anything that happens. Mobile phone company hacked? Blame Russia. Found a Russian submarine in the sea someplace? See what is nearby and accuse Russia of being aggressive towards it. Facts are irrelevant if you are able to twist words or modify their intent by quoting them out of context. Find someone who is ‘worried’ and sprinkle in the word ‘Kremlin’ here and there for a sinister overtone.
It seems unlikely that the mainstream Western media will ever go back to honest and fair journalism as they have now travelled so far in the other direction. But a good start would be having the hacks who diligently churn out negative content about Russia each and every day to actually go to Russia and learn something.
Better still; send them to Syria to watch the 800,000 refugees returning home thanks to Russia’s efforts to crush ISIS. It’s hard to put a negative spin on that. Continue reading
This article first appeared at journal-neo.org The New York Times in its recent article, “Russians Strike Targets in Syria, but Not ISIS Areas,” attempts to frame Russia’s recent actions in Syria as dishonest and dangerous. It reports: Russian aircraft carried … Continue reading
For the mainstream western media, lying about Russia is now just a routine part of the working day.
No British Sunday newspaper would be complete without the obligatory anti-Russian double page spread on the ‘threat’ Putin and Russia poses to somebody somewhere this week.
To get this right, one must not concern oneself with facts. Simply choose a country, any country will do, do some random Googling, make some stuff up to pad it out, but be sure to say you are “quoting a source” to absolve yourself of responsibility for what you write.
Better still, you can lend your article some surface credibility by quoting from or linking to the made up articles of others. They will return the compliment and quote yours when they write how Russia is poised to invade [insert country of choice] next week.
The concept of accurate reporting and checking sources seems to be a thing of the past.
We all saw the headlines when MH17 went down that read “Putin’s Victims” and “Putin Killed My Son”. The idea being that because the missile that hit MH17 may have once been manufactured in Russia, this makes Russia, and Putin particularly, personally responsible.
Using this logic, if my cat were to get run over by a man driving a Volkswagen, I should pen a headline that reads, “Merkel’s Killer Car Mows Down Innocent Moggie in Cold Blood”. I would then find a picture of Merkel smiling and use a sub-headline that reads, “Sources Claim Merkel Sniggered When Told of Cat Catastrophe”.
This is what happens in the western media each week. But the target isn’t Merkel and her killer Volkswagens, the target is Putin and Russia.
In many respects the headlines matter more than the article itself. Rather than read them cover to cover, the public tend to graze through the papers absorbing the headlines and the next few lines, assuming them to be a reasonable synopsis of what the article will contain proof of before they move on.
They are subsequently misled when they read the typical western media headlines on anything to do with Russia. They go away with the impression Putin is a cackling Bond villain, in his secret cave, with his finger poised over a big red nuclear button. They imagine he has planes and ships permanently poised to invade the west at any moment, and only our continued vigilance prevents these invasions.
War is Imminent. Really?
When a western media hack wants to write something bad about Russia, always better to get the word WAR in the headline. Preferably in capitals. Here is a good example from the Express a week ago.
I wasn’t the only one to find this headline tiresome and misleading.
The Express’s Defence Editor who is responsible for publication of nonsense such as this, is a chap called Marco Giannangeli. I and others decided to engage him on Twitter to find out why he published such twaddle.
After a polite exchange of views, he quickly began to distance himself from the headline.
Upon opening the Express this Sunday, lo and behold, they decided to write something altogether more factual.
For a change, there was no photo of Putin shirtless, no tales of him being poised to invade New Zealand or somewhere, and not so much made up rubbish from unnamed “sources”.
Has the penny dropped? I doubt it will last if it has. But progress is progress however fleeting it may turn out to be.
I’d like to think I had a little something to do with this. Easier to write what actually happened than make stuff up about the UK going to war with Russia as they did last week.
In Other News.
The Mail on Sunday however, is as ever, today regurgitating US State Department propaganda today with this little gem.
Russia is “bombing innocents”, apparently. The insinuation here is that if this is so, it is done on purpose. That is the take-away the casual reader gets.
To the Mail’s credit, they also give column inches to a altogether more sensible journalist who actually knows something about Russia: Peter Hitchens.
The White House and Downing Street both seethe with genuine outrage about Russia’s bombing raids on Syria.
Yet the people Vladimir Putin bombed have views and aims that would get them rounded up as dangerous Islamist extremists if they turned up in Manchester. So why do British politicians call them ‘moderates’ when Russia bombs them?
It’s not as if London or Washington can claim to be squeamish about bombing as a method of war. We have done our fair share of it in Belgrade, Baghdad and Tripoli, where our bombs certainly (if unintentionally) killed innocent civilians, including small children.
I find Peter’s articles on Russia most refreshing. As a former Moscow correspondent, he has forgot more about Russia than most tabloid hacks will ever know.
Expect More Bias on Syria Reporting.
The western media will continue to report negatively on Russia’s actions in Syria. We will see more claims about the bombing of civilians.
The Russians made clear from the outset that ISIL (ISIS) were not the sole target of their mission.
From the outset they made it clear that ensuring the survival of Syria as a state, and the survival of the legitimate government of that state were the primary goals.
Lavrov, when asked about targets said that if it looked like a terrorist than it would be treated as such.
By definition, all terrorists are civilians; so too are ‘rebels’. It is convenient when writing propaganda to muddy the water this way.
The US now considers Al-Quada (Al-Nusra) to be ‘moderate terrorists’ and therefore to be supplied and protected by the various agencies available to the US.
What is going on is that the US is struggling to find a way to justify it’s support of ISIS and other terrorists. Their support is now becoming obvious with the impact of Russian and Syrian activity upon ISIL (ISIS) and those other terrorists.
Of course these are not ‘terrorists’ but different facets of several mercenary armies bankrolled by the US and their allies; both directly and indirectly. Russia is thus correct to treat them all as being aspects of the same enemy.
The US isn’t writing the script any more. Russia will bomb other US-funded terrorists as well, even if they have pretty names. Anti-Assad terrorists are anti-Assad terrorists. It doesn’t matter what they call themselves.
Of course, our compliant western media will make some parping noises about the ones they know are western funded imagining that ‘our’ terrorists are better than ‘their’ terrorists somehow.
If you are at war with the elected government, and do terroristic things, you are a terrorist. Using that logic, the US is the world’s most prolific terrorist, but don’t expect that to be written in the newspapers either. Continue reading
The British media and especially the BBC are anti-Russian.
The language they use is always purposely misleading. The Russian point of view is never considered. The western media on the whole start from an assumed point that Russia is always in the wrong, always the aggressor, and every item reported is in the same vein. British media is like a mouthpiece for America.
The BBC even has its own propoganda channel in Russian: http://www.bbc.co.uk/russian/
Take turning the gas off to Ukraine: That has always been framed as nasty Russia spitefully turning the gas off on poor little helpless Ukraine. Very little is mentioned of the debts owed, that Ukraine steals the gas and prefers not to pay for it. “Corrupt country doesn’t pay its gas bill” is not a headline. “Evil Putin makes Ukrainian pensioners freeze in winter” is. You see?
What kind of unbiased media runs headlines like this?
Each week the Sunday Times, without fail, runs an anti-Russia story and has done for years. Sometimes two or three. Always the key is in the language.
For example: “Russia builds up troops on the border” – they don’t mention that these troops are inside Russia so are there quite legitimately.
“Russia turns off Ukraine’s gas” – well, they wouldn’t if they got paid for it.
“Kremlin-backed separatists” – well, how do we define “backed”? Morally? In spirit? Financially? They don’t say.
The western media declines to report on the Ukrainian government killing civilians. That is always glossed over. They will however gleefully repeat numbers killed by “Kremlin-backed separatists” or “pro-Russian gunmen”. Not “pro-independence gunmen” you will note.
I am all in favour of balance, but very few in the western media are balanced. Russia is always assumed to be in the wrong and the aggressor in the majority of the British media at least. When they start from that assumption, its not hard to see why balanced journalism becomes harder.
When a journalist takes his own prejudices and writes from that standpoint (which most of us do, but journos are supposedly trained to avoid doing so) what he writes will always contain the slant that his opinion dictates.
Remember, many of these people filing copy for the media have never been to Eastern Europe, let alone Russia. They are simply recycling and rewording stuff they find elsewhere. We saw silliness written about Putin “wanting to invade Poland” as evidence of that.
In recent days, I have noticed an overall change of tone in the American media, actually. Some of what I am reading in the American media is reasonably balanced. More so than I see over here. I am sensing a gradual shift in standpoint in the American media. Perhaps that is indicative of the administration taking a step back for a change and not wanting to become too deeply embroiled?
Over here in the UK, some of the weekend broadsheet editorials especially [that middle England reads to get a synopsis], are pretty mind blowing in that it shines through that the writer has a zero grasp of the history and the politics of the region. When one looks at the writers who understand the region, and who have spent time there, blokes like Peter Hitchens writes content that is hard to argue with for example, one gets a clearer picture.
Instead of reading and believing how the media chooses to demonise Putin unquestioningly, if people took the trouble (as I have) to actually go to the Kremlin’s website and read what the bloke actually says, rather than read an interpretation of it through media spin, he makes many valid points that the media never address; he has been requesting talks with anyone and everyone for months, but that is never reported.
What some call Russian propaganda is actually needed in order to balance out what everyone else writes in order that those who might form an opinion on their own, can do so having read both sides rather than several regurgitated versions of the same thing they *think* are different sources. Continue reading