THE WISDOM FUND: News & Views
March 3, 2014
The Nation

How the American Media Misrepresent Putin, Sochi and Ukraine

by Stephen F. Cohen

The degradation of mainstream American press coverage of Russia, a country still vital to US national security, has been under way for many years. If the recent tsunami of shamefully unprofessional and politically inflammatory articles in leading newspapers and magazines - particularly about the Sochi Olympics, Ukraine and, unfailingly, President Vladimir Putin - is an indication, this media malpractice is now pervasive and the new norm.

There are notable exceptions, but a general pattern has developed. Even in the venerable New York Times and Washington Post, news reports, editorials and commentaries no longer adhere rigorously to traditional journalistic standards, often failing to provide essential facts and context; to make a clear distinction between reporting and analysis; to require at least two different political or "expert" views on major developments; or to publish opposing opinions on their op-ed pages. As a result, American media on Russia today are less objective, less balanced, more conformist and scarcely less ideological than when they covered Soviet Russia during the Cold War.

The history of this degradation is also clear. It began in the early 1990s, following the end of the Soviet Union, when the US media adopted Washington's narrative that almost everything President Boris Yeltsin did was a "transition from communism to democracy" and thus in America's best interests. . . .

Since the early 2000s, the media have followed a different leader-centric narrative, also consistent with US policy, that devalues multifaceted analysis for a relentless demonization of Putin, with little regard for facts. . . .

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According to the Charter of the United Nations: "No State or group of States has the right to intervene or interfere in any form or for any reason whatsoever in the internal and external affairs of other States."

Enver Masud, "Deadly Deception, Pretexts for War," The Wisdom Fund, July 30, 2001

Daniel Mcadams, "Tape Reveals US Runs Ukraine Opposition," ronpaulinstitute.org, February 6, 2014

Paul Craig Roberts, "The Neo-Nazis of Ukraine," counterpunch.org, February 27, 2014

Peter Lee, "Problems in Ukraine? Blame Russia!," counterpunch.org, February 28, 2014

Nicolas J.S. Davies, "35 Countries Where the U.S. Has Supported Fascists, Drug Lords and Terrorists," alternet.org, March 4, 2014

"Russia's 25,000-troop allowance & other facts you may not know about Crimea," rt.com, March 5, 2014

[Under the terms of its agreement with Ukraine, Russia is entitled to have 25,000 troops on the peninsula and currently has an estimated 16,000 deployed there. But these troops have to remain on base.--"Ukraine crisis: Does Russia have a case?," bbc.com, March 5, 2014]

[. . . this was an anti-constitutional takeover, an armed seizure of power.--"Vladimir Putin answered journalists' questions on the situation in Ukraine," counterpunch.org, March 6, 2014]

Andrew Levine, "Must Putin Save Us Again? Crimea, This Time," counterpunch.org, March 7, 2014

Zachary Keck, "India Backs Russia's 'Legitimate Interests' in Ukraine," thediplomat.com, March 8, 2014

The Truthseeker, RT, March 9, 2014

Paul Craig Roberts, "The Looting Of Ukraine Has Begun," paulcraigroberts.org, March 7, 2014

Pepe Escobar, "The new Great (Threat) Game in Eurasia," atimes.com, March 12, 2014

"Crimean parliament formally applies to join Russia," bbc.com, March 17, 2014

[The US State Department has practically agreed to a federal and in fact Finlandized Ukraine . . . the solution being proposed by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov right from the start.--Pepe Escobar, "Russia 1, Regime Changers 0," atimes.com, March 17, 2014]

[Was it not predictable that Russia, a great power that had just seen its neighbor yanked out of Russia's orbit by a U.S.-backed coup in Kiev, would move to protect a strategic position on the Black Sea she has held for two centuries?--Patrick J. Buchanan, "Is Putin the Irrational One?," antiwar.com, March 18, 2014]

"Address by President of the Russian Federation," kremlin.ru, March 18, 2014

"Obama to Putin: Do as I Say Not as I Do," nader.org, March 21, 2014

VIDEO: "Exposed: Obama states Kosovo left Serbia only after referendum, but there was NO referendum at all," rt.com, March 27, 2014

Patrick J. Buchanan, "Behind the Russian Rage," antiwar.com, March 28, 2014

[In the calculus of western interests there is no suffering, whatever its scale, which cannot be justified. Chechens, Palestinians, Iraqis, Afghans, Pakistanis are of little importance. Nonetheless, the contrast between the west's attitude to the Chechen war and Crimea is startling.

The Crimean affair led to barely any loss of life, and the population clearly wanted to be part of Russia. The White House's reaction has been the opposite of its reaction to Chechnya. Why? Because Putin, unlike Yeltsin, is refusing to play ball any more on the things that matter such as Nato expansion, sanctions on Iran, Syria etc. --Tariq Ali, "How Vladimir Putin became evil," theguardian.com, March 28, 2014]

[This year could also see the breakup of NATO and even the EU. Washington's reckless coup in Ukraine and threat of sanctions against Russia have pushed its NATO puppet states onto dangerous ground. Washington misjudged the reaction in Ukraine to its overthrow of the elected democratic government and imposition of a stooge government. Crimea quickly departed Ukraine and rejoined Russia. Other former Russian territories in Ukraine might soon follow. Protesters in Lugansk, Donetsk, and Kharkov are demanding their own referendums. Protesters have declared the Donetsk People's Republic and Kharkov People's Republic. Washington's stooge government in Kiev has threatened to put the protests down with violence. Washington claims that the protests are organized by Russia, but no one believes Washington, not even its Ukrainian stooges.--Paul Craig Roberts, "Is the US or the World Coming to an End?," paulcraigroberts.org, April 9, 2014]

Naomi Klein, "Why US Fracking Companies Are Licking Their Lips Over Ukraine," theguardian.com, April 9, 2014

[The overriding goal of US policy in Ukraine is to stop the further economic integration of Asia and Europe.--Mike Whitney, "Is Putin Being Lured Into a Trap?," counterpunch.org, April 15, 2014]

['We are aware that NATO membership for a unified Germany raises complicated questions. For us, however, one thing is certain: NATO will not expand to the east.'--Walter C. Uhler, "Dear NATO: Are You Lying about Russia or Simply Incompetent?," dissidentvoice.org, April 15, 2014]

Robert Parry, "NYT Retracts Russian-Photo Scoop: After starting a propaganda stampede - with a lead story about photos of Russian troops purportedly in Ukraine - the New York Times admits the pictures really don't prove much," consortiumnews.com, April 9, 2014

Loren Thompson, "Four Ways The Ukraine Crisis Could Escalate To Use Of Nuclear Weapons," forbes.com, April 24, 2014

Paul Craig Roberts, "Moving Closer To War," paulcraigroberts.org, April 26, 2014

CrossTalk, RT, April 28, 2014

Ray McGovern, "Kerry's Propaganda War on Russia's RT," consortiumnews.com, April 30, 2014

Paul Craig Roberts, "Washington Intends Russia's Demise," paulcraigroberts.org, May 2, 2014

[Amidst rising tensions between Ukraine, Russia and the west, the corporate media studiously avoids Chernobyl. But Belarus and Ukraine long ago estimated its cost to their countries at $250 billion each. One major study puts the global death toll at more than a million human beings.--Harvey Wasserman, "The New York Times Pens an 'Epitaph' for Nuke Power," counterpunch.org, May 5, 2014]

John Pilger, "Break the silence: a world war is beckoning," johnpilger.com, May 13, 2014

[US war doctrine has been changed. US nuclear weapons are no longer restricted to a retaliatory force, but have been elevated to the role of preemptive nuclear attack.--Paul Craig Roberts, "Washington Is Beating The War Drums," paulcraigroberts.org, June 17, 2014

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