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 an 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 Anti-Russian 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 operating on behalf of the US.
The US is now struggling to find a way to justify their support of ISIL (ISIS) and other terrorist groups. Their support is now becoming obvious with the impact of Russian and Syrian activity upon ISIL (ISIS) and those other terrorists.
Of course, these other ‘terrorists’ are 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 treat other US-funded terrorists as fair game, 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 an 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.
You can follow Stuart on Twitter @mcrstuart
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