Why is the Western media so Russophobe?

Discussion in 'The Media and Russia' started by Carlo, Aug 5, 2013.

  1. Carlo

    Carlo Ship Secretary (11th class)

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    I would like to know your opinion on this subject: usually Anatoly Karlin and most of his readers complain that the Western media distorts news and facts about Russia to portray it on a bad light. So my question in this thread is: why? I know it is an extremely complex and vast topic, but I would like to know your opinion on this.
    I will start by giving one of the most important reasons: the US is an empire which seeks total economical and military hegemony over the entire world; on the other hand, a huge, military powerful and (now becoming more and more) rich country which insists on being fully sovereign and defends such a value internationally is one of the biggest obstacles.
  2. AKarlin

    AKarlin Generalissimo Staff Member

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    I think it's all a bit more banal than that.

    I'm afraid I don't have time to write an original reply here right now, but I set out a few of the key factors in the About section Russian Spectrum: http://russianspectrum.com/about/

    It basically has to do with who talks to Western journalists in Russia - and who doesn't. (Kremlin supporters and just ordinary Russians are far less proficient in English, less numerous in Moscow, and less "cosmopolitan" than the liberal circles that Western journalists feel the most welcomed in. Besides, the Russian state and bureaucracy are remarkably sluggish and inept at getting their point of view across).
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  3. Carlo

    Carlo Ship Secretary (11th class)

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    Thanks, Anatoly. You are right, but I don't think this is the only, nor even the most important reason. By the way, your very good article on Freedom House, however, seems to support my hypothesis:
    "I’d say it’s pretty obvious that Freedom House has a definite bias which looks something like this: +1 points for being friendly with the West, -1 if not, and -2 if you also happen to have oil, and are thus in special urgent need of a color revolution."
    It is quite obvious for me that journalists and most NGOs writing on Russia have to follow a line, that is imposed on them from up above.
  4. Moscow Exile

    Moscow Exile Ship Secretary (11th class)

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    Fred Weir of the Christian Science Monitor is a case in point. A while back his regular "anti-regime" doom and gloom outpourings were criticised in the Kremlin Stooge's "A Russophobic Rogue's Gallery, Act II" , which criticisms were duly removed after Weir joined in the debate concerning his alleged Russophobia. However, Weir's main line of defence was that he only reports what is told him by those willing to be interviewed by him.

    Weir's response to the above linked Kremlin Stooge article included the line: "You imagine that when I sit down to write, I just make it up — the way you do — and then push the publish button", which, in my opinion, is a round-about way of telling the Kremlin Stooge that he writes falsehoods. Weir, on the other hand, claims that he only reports what he is told by "experts". To this claim, a Kremlin Stooge commentator replies: "Please! You quote bullshit as your source and that somehow makes you better than others? Bullshit is bullshit, no matter what process you have to go through to publish it."
  5. Reggie Kabaeva

    Reggie Kabaeva Office Registrar (13th class)

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    Weir also continues to push the western party line that all Russia has for a nuclear triad are a few rusted out ICBM's for defense and that it's conventional military forces continue to degrade. The reality is that it's the US who actually has the rusted out nuclear arsenal according to General Accounting Office who released a report a few months ago on the state of the aging US ICBM arsenal led by the Apollo-era Minuteman 3. All one had to do was take several minutes and check Wikipedia to see that Weir's assertions were utter nonsense. If he's getting info like this from "experts," I'd hate to see what else they're feeding him. The interesting things is that when their predictions of imminent doom & gloom explode in their faces, they don't have the moral character to admit they were mistaken, but instead alter the narrative or simply outright ignore it so they can soldier on with the same garbage.

    Unfortunately, many in the west repeat this as if it's gospel. Now we know why the US/NATO are incapable of winning wars these days. Iraq was supposed to take six months tops and was to be paid for with oil profits and Afghanistan has turned into a disaster. 12 years on, the most powerful military on earth is still bogged down fighting bearded tribesmen with Kalashnikovs and may now need the help of Iran to extract them from the mess gracefully (though undoubtedly, it'll be spun as a "victory" by the US media).

    I still think the best "expert" is using your own damn common-sense, meaning, question the experts. This is what I find so repugnant about journalists like Weir.
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  6. Carlo

    Carlo Ship Secretary (11th class)

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    That is a good point. If Western journalist were just asking the "wrong" people, and didn't have their own prejudices with them and (more) weren't imposed a line, in a few times their wrong evaluations about Russia would be corrected. Nonetheless, they insist and keep with them, which show that it is intentional. There is a Russophobic agenda in the West that is undeniable, and this is the main reason why the media and most NGOs will not change its attitude towards Russia.
  7. Moscow Exile

    Moscow Exile Ship Secretary (11th class)

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    You still see written by some some Western hacks that Russia waged a war of aggression against dear little, sweet little, democratic little georgia in 2008.

    See Telegraph UK , 9 May 2013: Vladimir Putin: a man the West can do business with?

    "There has, admittedly, been an improvement in the atmosphere between Moscow and London since the infamous occasion back in the summer of 2008 when Sergei Lavrov, Russia’s foreign minister, treated David Miliband, his British opposite number at the time, to a foul-mouthed tirade of abuse – including liberal use of the F-word – after the foreign secretary had the temerity to criticise Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Georgia that summer."
  8. Moscow Exile

    Moscow Exile Ship Secretary (11th class)

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    Wonder how the vile Western media will twist this story in order to denigrate the Russian president: "Putin Says Farewell to the Man Who Rescued Him From the Bad Influence of Street Life"?

    "A memorial service for Anatolia Rachlin has taken place in St. Petersburg

    "Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in St. Petersburg to say farewell to his first judo coach, Anatoly Rachlin, who died after a long and serious illness on Wednesday aged 76...

    "According to Putin's own words, his coach had a significant influence on the future president's life."
  9. Moscow Exile

    Moscow Exile Ship Secretary (11th class)

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    Here's the Telegraph UK line on Putin's attendance at his former judo coach's funeral: "Emotional Vladimir Putin flees cameras after mentor's funeral".

    And here's a little dig that the hacks just had to put into the story:

    "So tightly controlled is Putin's every public appearance that the footage of him crossing a road on foot with traffic and pedestrians close by appeared unusual."

    Is this protection of heads of state in public places really so unusual? Can it be true that the British head of state wanders at will amongst the Great Unwashed with nary a thought of her security?

    I wonder how many of those people in the picture below are really security operatives? Must be those big four fellows at the back near the cross. Yeah, and that big lad at the left as well - the one bowing his head.

    [​IMG]
  10. MarkPavelovich

    MarkPavelovich Commissar

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    Keep in mind, too, this criticism is coming from essentially the same audience that admires Republican House Speaker John Boehner's fits of blubbering over...well, just about anything, really...as a demonstration of his humanity.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-helfenbein/male-crying-in-politics-n_b_799329.html
  11. john smith

    john smith Collegiate Registrar (14th class)

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    I don't think it is simply Russia more of a anti-orthodox/Slavic mindset that has been a counter to British influence and a geo-political rival that British commentator and organisations are the most hostile to Russia and Serbia and especially since the fall of the USSR have been involved in destroying the country and installing or propping up anti-Russian regimes or ones they perceive profit from British/western influence in there country like Kazakhstan from the British trained shock therapist that looted Russia and Ukraine to supporting Chechen terrorism and conflict to installing the regime in Azerbaijan and deals with Kazakhstan.

    In Serbia the same pattern emerges with the same individuals and groups with George Soros and Co, USAID, NED, etc with the constant rehashing of fake Serbian guilt with a fictitious Serbian greater genocide policy and continued ethnic cleansing policy of Serbs especially in the US run gangster state of Kosovo where it is essentially a western colony with no real sovereignty and if they express any real national interests it is deemed by the media and politicians as "nationalistic".

  12. Patrick Armstrong

    Patrick Armstrong Commissar

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    It’s not just Russia. Most of us have an interest in Russia, a great deal of knowledge about it and therefore notice how bad and biased the MSM is on Russia.
    But it’s no different for any other subject.
    It’s an old test: ask someone who really knows some subject well and ask him how well the MSM covers that subject. He will immediately start on a long list of over simplifications, outright falsehoods etc etc. BUT, amazingly, he will believe everything else the MSM tells him. This even has a facetious name: “the Murray Gell-Mann Amnesia Effect” (http://www.firstthings.com/blogs/fi...lity-and-the-murray-gell-mann-amnesia-effect/).
    The point is that even when you know the MSM is crap on something you really know about (Russia in this case) you still believe it on other stuff.

    No. Wrong. It’s all crap. (The only exception may be sports reporting because 1. there are a lot of readers who really know a lot about baseball or soccer or whatever and will keep the reporters honest; 2. sports are factual in a way that what’s happening in Syria is not. 3. Sports reporters are often enthusiasts themselves.)

    So why is it all crap? Some suggestions

    1. Political bias: the majority (especially in the US) are liberal-left. So they look at things with only one eye. (PS don’t argue – there is a vast amount of evidence that this is true – Google it).​
    2. Herd mentality: if the other guys say it’s “News” it must be “News” so we have to cover it too (so hundreds of reporters show up at G9 meetings. Where nothing ever happens.).​
    3. Lazy & ignorant reporters: other than hair care, what do you actually learn in journalism school?​
    4. Scoop pressure: go even faster (here’s a great example http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/wor...ting-fake-racially-offensive-pilot-names.html which also illustrates the spectacular ignorance of the average media hair-style)​
    5. Short memory: yesterday’s story is a million years ago; no one can remember it. (A recent example: does Syria still exist? It was a pretty big story not long ago, now it’s nowhere. In this case, however, see number 1)​
    6. Amazing ignorance of Google and Internet (new media): my personal observation is that they never look anything up. To a lot of reporters of my acquaintance research is phoning up someone already on the Rolodex. (Especially noticeable in Russia reporting.)​
    Result: ignorant people quickly and sloppily writing about what everyone else is writing about so long as it fits their prejudices.​
    Therefore, Russia is a particular example of a general phenomenon.​
    PS. I'm talking here about the general situation; the rest state as it were. Not about any special centrally-directed, planned, organised, paid-for, directed campaign. Like the whole anti-gay thing. Which is certainly all of that. ​
  13. Drutten

    Drutten Collegiate Secretary (10th class)

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    The Gell-Mann effect, yes. I'll have to remember that one, it's a very striking phenomenon with vast implications -- good to have a neat name for it.
  14. MarkPavelovich

    MarkPavelovich Commissar

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    That's fantastic!! I had no idea that there was actually a name for this phenomenon, nor that the description would be such a revelation. But you're right - once you see it spelt out, it is remarkable that a given person could have such a grasp of the idiocy of the media in their particular area of expertise, but would otherwise trust them to report accurately.

    That's my epiphany for the day. Maybe for the week.
  15. Carlo

    Carlo Ship Secretary (11th class)

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    http://en.rian.ru/russia/20130919/1...ism-as-Core-of-Russias-National-Identity.html
    I guess no Western mass media will broadcast these declarations by Putin. If it was published in the US, where conservatism is much stronger than in Western Europe, Putin's popularity would soar. Anyway, I am convinced that the American population is inducted into hating Putin by always reminding about his KGB past (and hardly mentioning that he was in foreign intelligence tasks and had nothing to do with political repression) and creating myths on how he wishes to "rebuild" the Soviet Union. If most of the American public came to know what really are Putin's ideas and policies, they would rapidly change their mind.
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  16. Reggie Kabaeva

    Reggie Kabaeva Office Registrar (13th class)

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    .................And those calling the shots at the top of the media chain KNOW it.

    I think I'll gag the next time I read or hear that Putin was "the ex-head of the KGB."

    Seriously?

    How difficult would it be for a western journalist writing on Putin to actually find out if this is true or not? We're not exactly talking about suppressed esoteric knowledge here. This is something that can be cleared up with just a simple Google search or a visit to Wikipedia.

    Even the US president went on the Jay Leno show and reinforced this "KGB" garbage. How could Barack Obama not know that he was spewing falsehoods about another leader whom he has to deal with on global security matters? Either he was ignorant of this fact OR he knew what he was saying and was blatantly lying - I find either proposition very unsettling.
  17. Philip Owen

    Philip Owen Office Registrar (13th class)

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    I don't think that there is anyone on high dictating a course for the MSM to follow. I have never worked for an organization with even modest competence to achieve such a result. I endorse Anatoly and as a former politician I will also endorse the Fred Weir line offered by Moscow Exile. Journalists quote other people; they don't make things up and usually have to have two sources, although this rule often gets broken. Building a press release around a quote, sound bite or picture opportunity is worth pages of analysis.

    I will throw "confirmation bias" into the debate. There is actually a release of dopamine when one reads a new fact that confirms an existing prejudice. Journalists have long understood this. They have long undertaken to confirm readers' biases rather than challenge them.

    The need for a quote and confirmation bias blend together and keep the media reporting on an imaginary and anyway dated image of the event, whatever it was. It's an extremely conservative system. Only sensational new themes such as Russia as Mafialand can break through.
  18. Moscow Exile

    Moscow Exile Ship Secretary (11th class)

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    Here's a typical example of a negative article about Russia from Lebedev Junior's London Independent, which "article" is really a plug for a book, details of which appear at the foot of the text: "Behind closed doors: The secrets contained within the imposing walls of the Kremlin".

    The text includes such statements as:

    Today, it is the flag of the Russian Federation that flutters from a handsome cupola inside the walls; the implication is that Putin's Russia is as mighty and immutable as any historic empire. But that is not the only message written in the stone and brick. The secret is to look behind the dazzling facades...

    The palaces are opulent, but there is menace here, as well as power...
    The Kremlin may well be a perfect symbol of the Russian past, but what it embodies is not some romance of eternity, but disinformation, upheaval and loss...

    As usual, some opposition could be neutralised by the judicious use of torture...

    The Kremlin specialises in the tantalising scent of power...

    The Ninth Department of Russia's secret police managed the Kremlin. It was a good job for an officer to have (you got a fast car and a phone that worked), but life-expectancy was relatively low. This was a regime that devoured itself; the slightest crisis could provoke a cull of loyal servants. The secret policemen were watched by spies of Stalin's own, and there were other watchers in the shadows always watching them...

    These stories help create a special Kremlin atmosphere, one that Vladimir Putin has been careful to exploit...

    At Kremlin summits, Russia's history is like an extra presence, and it would be a brave soul who did not shudder at the idea of what might yet be waiting in the silent, empty rooms...

    At the end of this Russia bashing there is a comment from one reader:

    "Very few of us know what secrets are contained behind the walls of 85 Albert Embankment the SIS building..."

    That comment refers to the SIS Building, otherwise popularly known as the MI6 Building, the headquarters of the British Secret Intelligence Service (otherwise known as "MI6"). Until 1994, MI6 did not officially exist. The SIS building is located at 85, Albert Embankment:

    [​IMG]

    Yet the Western media likes to go on about the Byzantine nature, the near impenetrable and seemingly obsessive secrecy of the malevolent Russian state.

    Interestingly, whilst reading the author's plug for her own book on the Kremlin in today's Independent, I began to wonder whether she had ever visited the Tower of London: apart from who constructed it and when and the fact that it no longer houses government offices, almost everything she says about the Kremlin could also quite easily be applied to that fortress on the banks of the Thames. However, the British head of state - who happens to be unelected - lives in not one but in several rather large and near impenetrable edifices situated in London and elsewhere such as here:

    [​IMG]

    and here:

    [​IMG]
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2013
  19. Moscow Exile

    Moscow Exile Ship Secretary (11th class)

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  20. Moscow Exile

    Moscow Exile Ship Secretary (11th class)

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    And it grinds on and on...

    From today's Lebedev "Independent": "Russian President Vladimir Putin accuses militants of trying to overthrow Ukraine's government".

    And in the readers' comments, this gem:

    "A Russian friend, a biologist, visited me in Oslo from Moscow again recently. He knows Russia all too well and cannot see the possibility of change of the ingrown Russian habits of bribery and corruption for decades to come, even if the current hierarchical system of mafias were defeated. These are virtally very like feudal barons, over which Putin ultimately decides. Power is totally top-down. Anyone who starts a moderately successful buisness there is taken over by one or another of the mafias which have connections through the hierarchy to the top people. If one knows Putin, one has it made. If one knows relatives of his, or of other major power figures - like Gazprom bosses - one can arrange for proper schooling for one's children, proper health care and all the other benefits of a good life. Otherwise one has to fend for oneself as best one can. 
Sergei also remarked on the complete turnaround in Russia since it was almost impossible for a Russian to get out of Russia even for a visit, let alone to work abroad. Putin sits on top of it all and tries to extend his reach, such as to Ukraine. He is allowing a gigantic influx of cheap labour throughout the country so that Russians are undercut and the natural economy is collapsing fast due to low quality and cheap labour. Oil and gas are the overall priority; pipelines being laid wherever convenient, not for the population but for selling to European and other 'partners' (like Ukaraine).
The atmosphere in Russia, says Serguei, keeps one's nerves on edge… never knowing what will happen to onself, loved ones or neighbours. The police are out of control, as are the courts… as is evident to everyone.
"

    I immediately replied as follows:

    Not evident to me nor my Russian wife and three children; nor is it evident to my many Russian acquaintances and colleagues who are highly educated, well travelled, multi-lingual professionals, all members of the expanding Russian bourgeoisie. Bear in mind, they have all chosen to live in Russia and not in, say, Norway, as indeed have I. I have lived in Moscow for the past 21 years and have no intention whatsoever of returning in the foreseeable future to my native country, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

    After less than 5 minutes my posting was removed.

    What supreme irony for an organ of the "free press".

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