Journalistic malpractice and the dangers of Russia-bashing

by 1389 on February 12, 2014

in 1389 (blog admin), mainstream media, Russia, same-sex 'marriage' / LGBT agenda, Ukraine

Sochi Olympic park, official photo

Peter Lavelle at RT.com has the story:

Sochi on my mind: It is hard to think of an issue more politicized in Western media than the topic of Russia. It is commonplace to hear, read, and watch media reports claiming the worst possible things about Russia and Russians.

Criticisms are magnified even more when the subject is Vladimir Putin. While Russia does have a long list of issues to grapple with (like just about every other country in the world), the kind of media coverage it receives in turn engenders a serious security threat to the international system. Russia bashing is dangerous for us all.

Whether one likes it or not, Russia is an important power in the world. Having a seat on the UN Security Council confirms its voice will be heard. In fact, Russia often represents the concerns of most of the globe on the Security Council, although this is hardly ever pointed out by the western powers on the Council, particularly the United States. Russia is not a spoiler; rather it holds back the unilateral tendencies held by those in Western capitals. It is almost unthinkable that anyone in the mainstream would ever inform audiences of this reality.

It is quite remarkable, after the incessant demonization Russia gets from mainstream media, that the Kremlin continues to work closely with the West on issues that impact geopolitical stability, i.e. Afghanistan, Iran, Syria, nuclear proliferation, terrorist threats, food security, and the narcotics trade. Western publics rarely, if ever, learn about these kinds cooperation from their media. This is truly regrettable.

The level of journalistic malpractice committed against Russia blinds Western electorates, poisons public opinion, and emboldens the reckless political class. The denigration of the Sochi Games was to be expected. Cheap shots, lazy reporting and maniacal commentary are a form of entertainment served up by Western mainstream media. The Games have come and will soon pass into history. But their impact will be felt long after.

While the media spotlight is on Sochi, other places and events in the world demand our attention. Ukraine is in political deadlock and is teetering on the brink of becoming a failed state. Western audiences are told it is all “Putin’s fault.” The fact is we have irrefutable evidence (‘Nulandgate’) Washington is stoking the flames of division in Ukraine. Before the violence in Kiev, Russia called for trilateral consultation involving Ukraine, the EU, and Russia.

Needless to say, mainstream media is very reluctant to inform its audiences of this. Instead, the narrative invented and spread by the Western mainstream is how the West wants to save Ukraine from its “evil neighbor.” This is a recipe for disaster – and possible (though completely unnecessary) conflict involving the West and Russia.

There are many other issues, like Ukraine, that western media dwell on with a specific and intentional anti-Russia bias (such as Syria, Iran, and Afghanistan). When publics are not informed or poorly informed, serious policy mistakes can be made. Russia has its own geopolitical interests, often divergent from the geopolitical interests of the West. However, these differences should not be reported as a binary of “good vs. evil.” Doing so is irresponsible and a dereliction of journalistic duty.

The Sochi Games should be about athletic excellence and the sense of fair play, and not an exercise to bash Russia when it is reaching out to the world in good faith. Western journalists should take a good look at themselves – where is their good faith?

Peter Lavelle is host of RT’s “CrossTalk” and “On the Money.”

Boston Globe – Letters: Honor athletes, don’t criticize Russia

February 11, 2014

I REGRET that the Globe did not find a place on the front page for the article “For some in Sochi’s gay community, attitudes trump laws” (Sports, Feb. 8).

The article was revealing about the Russian gay community’s viewpoints on protesting Russian anti-gay laws. Andrei Tanichev, who owns a gay nightclub in Sochi, poignantly said, “angry foreigners demanding that . . . [President Vladimir] Putin change Russia’s laws on sexual relations cannot help, and might only make things worse.” Tanichev further points out that Russian “society is not ready.”

Tanichev’s words affirm something very important — let’s reserve the Olympics as a place to honor and celebrate the athletes from around the world. Let us show respect for and admire the host country’s culture and people.

Olympic athletes are prohibited from making political statements during the Games and everyone commenting on the games should follow their example.

I have been appalled to hear America’s media and politicians focus on every little glitch happening there. They are cheering for the failure of the Sochi Games.

Let the light of the Olympic torch shine. Let us be the welcomed guest and not the so-called “ugly American

John Meinhold

Portsmouth, N.H.

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