So I originally had this idea to design a simple test for comparing the so-called “Mainstream media” to the Russian media. I was going to leave it for Monday, but as it turns out a frustrated fellow who described himself as an “American vatnik” and who was sadly alone on Christmas started flooding my email box with long incoherent rants about how I’m a pro-American Soros/State Department-funded “MSM” shill and so on and so forth. Seeing as how every source he provided was from a Russian state-run site or one that depends on them like Russia Insider, I decided I should release my little game early.
It works like this: The UK started bombing ISIS targets in Syria after a vote authorizing the move in parliament. In the run up to this move, there were protests and debates, not only between opposing parties but even within the Labour party itself. The Stop the War Coalition played a visible role.
Just like with Iraq, or any war for that matter, opposition can have different motives. Some people are just pacifists on principle, others think the goals are wrong, while still others might support military action but are concerned that the plan as such could lead to unintended consequences. Here are some pieces from the mainstream media containing arguments against British involvement and airstrikes on ISIS:
Lastly, here’s one from The Daily Mail that actually starts by quoting Assad. If you only read the headline, you could possibly come away with a pro-Assad message.
Now before we play our little game, first a word on how I gathered those links. I had been seeing articles like this from the time the debate started, but I wasn’t following it very closely. When I started writing this article, I fired up some Google tabs and just searched for key words on the topic to find these and many other links in a few minutes. Anyone can do this.
Now it’s time…
The challenge: Go on RT.com, Sputnik, RT’s Youtube channel, or Russia Insider and find an article that opposes Putin’s campaign in Syria. The conditions are as follows…
- It must have been published before this post, but it can be any time going back to the point where the Russian government acknowledged its campaign in Syria.
- It must oppose or criticize the Russian president’s decision. It doesn’t matter whether it considers it a mistake or just downright stupid. It just can’t be some concern troll opposition like: “Putin’s decision is pretty great, but he really should send at least a couple divisions and push all the way to Raqqa.”
- The motivation for the opposition isn’t important. It could be doubts as to the efficacy and wisdom of such a move, particularly in light of Russia’s socio-economic situation at the time. It could be concern for possible civilian casualties or terrorist retaliation against Russia (which has happened). It could even be concern that the dastardly Western media will use this as a way to frame glorious Russia for killing civilians. It doesn’t matter so long as it criticizes the campaign and voices genuine opposition.
If you find a story that you think fits, just post the link in the comments to this entry, along with any explanations you might want to add.
I’m not going to flat out say you won’t find any; I’m genuinely curious and this is about my own research as well. It’s just that I am highly skeptical that you’ll be able to find such an article seeing as how ever since this campaign started the Russian media and its lackeys have done nothing but cheer, as they always do. And this is crucial seeing as how the Russian state media doesn’t operate like the so-called “MSM,” which is really just a term for any media outlet, large or small, which fails to repeat the official position of the Russian government at any given time.
Not convinced that the term “MSM” is bullshit? Check out RT’s “Ultimate Guide to the Mainstream Media.” Let’s see, there’s France, US, Germany, UK, Australia… Hey wait a minute! Something’s missing! Where’s Russia? Does Russia not have a mainstream media? Of course Russia does have a mainstream media, a very rigidly controlled mainstream media which works closely with the presidential administration for its talking points. RT is simply the foreign language mouthpiece of that Russian mainstream media, yet they’d like you to think that they’re some kind of alternative. Meanwhile, Vice is “mainstream” media because they committed the sin of destroying Russia’s claims about the “civil war” in Ukraine. Also I can’t help but point out the irony of them trying to make the “MSM” more transparent, given that RT is one of the most opaque organs in the Russian state. Only recently have they even started to release partial data on spending because the Ministry of Finance apparently wants to know where all this money is going.
Before closing and turning you loose over the Russian media to find those examples I asked for, I’d like to point out that this type of mentality shouldn’t seem too alien to any informed Americans. The comparison is obvious- Fox News and the American conservative media industry. Back when Bush was in, talking points would originate in the White House and then they’d be disseminated down the pipeline, usually starting with Fox and filtering to the syndicated AM talk show hosts, the local morning hosts, and so on. It still works more or less the same way minus the White House, of course, and you have to include hundreds of blogs and websites that all drink from the same well.
If you have conservative relatives or co-workers who are hooked on Fox or any part of that media machine, you know what happens if you present any material that contradicts what they’re claiming. “Well yeah, that’s just the liberal media for you.” In fact, I’ve noticed over the years that conservative media has also used the term “mainstream media” and “MSM.” Just like with Russian media, the claim is hilarious because conservative media in the US is extremely well funded by huge corporations like Clear Channel and News Corporation. And yet just like Russia’s state run media giants stuffed with cash, Fox News would like you to think that it’s some small guerrilla operation. Sure.
So that’s all I have to say for now. I’ll let those who are interested get on with the game. Happy Hunting.