Worst foreign Russia journalist

Discussion in 'The Media and Russia' started by Moscow Exile, May 8, 2013.

  1. Moscow Exile

    Moscow Exile Ship Secretary (11th class)

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    Without any shadow of a doubt - Harding of the Guardian (UK), followed by Walker of the Independent (UK).

    There are, however, very many close runners up to these two and some upcoming young hopefuls as well.
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  2. SWSpires

    SWSpires Gubernial Secretary (12th class)

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    Harding: I don't disagree. Walker: I'm only familiar with his pre-Independent output for Russia Profile. Much of it was quite good, or at least interesting; don't know what he's up to now.

    For sheer craziness, I doubt anyone could top the "New Cold War" era writings (basically 2005-08) of Ed Lucas.
  3. Moscow Exile

    Moscow Exile Ship Secretary (11th class)

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    Walker works for Lebedev's Independent and always puts a negative spin on his Russia stories.
  4. AKarlin

    AKarlin Generalissimo Staff Member

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    Excellent thread idea! What do you think about adding a poll here? (I can do it myself if the time for editing the post has already run out).

    My list:
    1. Harding
    2. Miriam Elder
    3. Ed Lucas
    4. Ioffe
    5. Masha Gessen
    Walker can be sloppy at times, but he's never struck me as someone overtly dishonest or manipulative. Anna Nemtsova? Qualifies, but too low profile.
  5. SWSpires

    SWSpires Gubernial Secretary (12th class)

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    I think a certain Facebook friend of ours pegged Ioffe correctly, when he described her as the popular snooty girl in a John Hughes movie. I doubt she really cares much about Russia one way or the other.

    However, I think the craziest, most off-the-wall writer on Russia I've read (going beyond even Lucas at his most paranoid) is JR Nyquist. His basic idea is that Communism never actually collapsed; it was all stage-managed by the KGB, and we're all living in a world of illusions created by them. Wacky but entertaining stuff.
  6. AKarlin

    AKarlin Generalissimo Staff Member

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    I'm aware of this circle, it started with a KGB defector who wrote New Lies for Old, and The Perestroika Deception. You can probably imagine what those lies and deceptions were about!

    They even have their own forum LOL. (While it's against the rules to link to other forums, I'm making an exception here, as those guys are so batshit crazy that I'm sure no-one will defect))).
  7. mls13

    mls13 Collegiate Registrar (14th class)

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    Waddayamean "batshit crazy"?!?

    I just went over and glanced at one of their threads at random, and this is what I found:

    Russia will take the whole kitten kaboodle and then European Union troops will join the Russians Army marching on Jerusalem. They will be going to meet their Chinese friends and their Muslim friends to liberate the "occupied lands".

    HMMM, doesn't sound like the best of scenarios. US will be out of the equation by then, some of those troops may have to be diverted to Detroit or St Louis to try to keep the peace, and distribute food to the starving. Of course, US abilities are severely strained by dealing with the American Hiroshima, in which a number of US cities experienced thermonuclear terrorism events.

    I'm afraid your concerns and subsequent rules were well-founded, Anatoly. I'm bolting on outta here to the Real Truthsville!
  8. Alexa M

    Alexa M Dead Soul

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    Ed Lucas and Luke "Garding" are the worst. Lucas wrote once that as a boy he was convinced the soviets are spying on him.
    Russia is a country people tend to obsess about, whether they hate it or love it. Unfortunately these two journalists are prime examples of that.

    From Julia Ioffe's writing you can learn a lot about Julia herself, but not much else. In the summer before the 2011 protests she wrote "politics is dead in Russia." I stopped taking her seriously then. How can you live in Moscow and not notice anything beyond the small liberal bubble?

    Masha Gessesn must be some kind of masochists: every week she writes dispatches about how horrible it is to live in Moscow for an American and a lesbian with a family. She's too fringe left/liberal to write anything that would let Americans understand how ordinary Russians feel.

    I don't mind Miriam Elder. She writes with a very liberal slant but she writes positive stuff about Russia too.
  9. Moscow Exile

    Moscow Exile Ship Secretary (11th class)

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    Here's why I rate Walker of the Independent high on my lows: from the Wednesday, 8th May, 2013 edition "A last audience for Vladimir Putin's 'grey cardinal' as the architect of Kremlin policy, Vladislav Surkov, quits".


    Note how low key the article is and, in typically British supercilious and mocking fashion, an attack on Russian politics, the comparison of Surkov's features with those of Rowan Atkinson, for example, being intended to elicit mocking giggles off the readership. There is no Harding-like huffing and puffing about "brutality" and the "regime", no allegations of massive corruption and embezzlement of state funds and the building of a "neo-Soviet" state. But then in an addendum, there appears, almost as an aside, as it were, the unsubstantiated statement that Putin appointed Medvedev to the post of president. ("Mr Putin made him [Medvedev] President from 2008 to 2012 and he is now Prime Minister.")
  10. Moscow Exile

    Moscow Exile Ship Secretary (11th class)

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    I've long considered Gessen to be a masochist.

    Another strange thing about her, which I've already mentioned on other threads, is that I well remember her complaining years ago about the fact that in her Soviet passport she had "Jewess" written, apart from the fact that the Soviet Union classified all its citizens according to nationality.

    Now it is debatable what "Jew"means: religion or "race". I'm not bothered one way or the other, but if you were a Soviet citizen, you could have in your passport Uzbek, Tatar, Bashkir, Buryat, Chechen etc. as well as the "ethnic Slav" nationalities Belorussian, Ukrainian or Russian.

    Anway, came the time when Gessen, in order to earn an honest buck in "the Old Country", returned to Russia from the USA, whence she had emigrated as a girl with her family on the grounds of alleged Soviet anti-Semitism. And lo and behold, not long after her arrival in Moscow, they changed the law and removed the categorization of one's citizenship according to "nationality". So Gessen was no longer a "Jewess", at least according to the documentation she wasn't: she had simply become a Russian citizen (as well as a US one). And guess what? She penned an article in the Moscow Times complaining against this change in documentation legislation, stating that she felt as though she had been denied her identity.
  11. Moscow Exile

    Moscow Exile Ship Secretary (11th class)

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    Here's a possible young hopeful from the Guardian stable: David Hearst, who in today's Grauniad reviews "Mr Putin - Operative in the Kremlin", which he describes as "a perceptive account of what Putin really wants for Russia - and how it all could come undone".

    Alongside the review is a Guardian offer for purchasing the reviewed work as well - as always next to any Guardian article about Russia and Russians - an ad for Tin-Tins masterpiece of garbage "Mafia State".
  12. Moscow Exile

    Moscow Exile Ship Secretary (11th class)

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    Here's another foreign journalist that is worthy of a prize for the bile and untruths about Russia that he spews out: Con Coughlin of the UK Telegraph.

    In today's edition he waxes eloquent over Putin's meeting with British Prime Minister Cameron. Here are a couple of gems from that article, entitled "Vladimir Putin: a man the West can do business with?" - an allusion, of course, to the comment made by the recently beatified Margaret Thatcher about Gorbachev:

    "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."

    "When the Russian oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky made the mistake of publicly criticising Mr Putin’s autocratic style, he found himself sentenced to a long prison term in Siberia. The all-girl punk band Pussy Riot received similarly harsh treatment when they dared to criticise the president in a protest song."
  13. AKarlin

    AKarlin Generalissimo Staff Member

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    I like how Coughlin is still pushing the spiel about how Russia invaded plucky Georgia.
  14. Philip Owen

    Philip Owen Office Registrar (13th class)

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    Gideon Rachman at the FT? Anders Aslund of various publications?
  15. SWSpires

    SWSpires Gubernial Secretary (12th class)

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    Aslund isn't a journalist. He's an economist, who's been selling a neoliberal product for a couple of decades now. When the Russian gov't follows his advice, he likes them; when they don't, he doesn't like them. Since they haven't followed his advice since Putin took over, obviously he doesn't like them very much.
  16. AKarlin

    AKarlin Generalissimo Staff Member

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    Yes, that, as regards Aslund. And I don't get the hate towards Rachman. He's quite okay as far as Western Russia journalists are concerned (a low bar, but still...)

    Now that the Terrible Trio (Ioffe, Elder, *and* Gessen) are leaving Russia there's now a few empty places we need to fill.

    I nominate Pater Sadovnik Savodnik (he of the mountains and bulldozers that "reek of dictatorial power") and "shustry."
  17. Fedia Kriukov

    Fedia Kriukov Dead Soul

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    Hmm, maybe there should be a more rigorous, scientific approach to this? Define the criteria for bad journalism, assign a score to each journalistic misdeed, e.g.
    Direct lie (e.g. "...Magnitsky, a lawyer..."): 10 pts
    Reporting certain facts correctly while ignoring others that contradict your point (e.g. "Khodorkovsky trial was deeply flawed because every motion by defense was rejected"): 5 pts
    Hiding your personal claim with anonymous sources (e.g. "...which some have said means Russia is backsliding on democracy"): 3 pts
    Repeating historical factoids that actual historians have rejected long ago (e.g. "Potemkin villages"): 2 pts
    Using cliches (e.g. "From Russian with <insert anything here>"): 1 pt

    I'm sure I'm missing some other examples of journalistic incompetence, negligence, and/or malice.

    That way, every article can be assigned a score, and our favorite journalists can be ranked, and an award bestowed on the one who scores the most points in a given calendar year (pants with a flame design?).

    Anyone have an article to try this on?
  18. AKarlin

    AKarlin Generalissimo Staff Member

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    Unfortunately we don't have Njasalander on our side.



    It will be difficult to find someone else sad enough to do this. :(
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  19. Philip Owen

    Philip Owen Office Registrar (13th class)

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    Rachman's assertions can be at variance with the facts. There was one I saw last week but I can't find it. Litvekyenko murdered by the KGB as if a fact I think. I don't clog up my RSS with feedback from my FT comments so I don't have an easy way back.
  20. SWSpires

    SWSpires Gubernial Secretary (12th class)

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    This is true of any journalist. Beyond that, I haven't read him, hence cannot judge.

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