Terribly stupid Cold War propaganda could end with terribly horrendous risks

Our public service television exerts in the same insidious propaganda on the Ukraine issue as the rest of MSM here. It works in fine-tuned details, in the careful choice of word, in subtle use of certain perspectives (though it still ends up in stupidities). Just to pick one example from yesterday: in the text-TV list of head-lines one could read: “Russia admits involvement.” Aha! Finally they confess to their responsibility for the unrest in eastern Ukraine! One looks up the article with certain anticipations – and finds something rather opposite.

The article was about the OSCE and Ukrainian hostages whom the pro-Russian activists had let free. Russia’s “involvement” had to do with the fact that a human rights ombudsman, Vladimir Lukin, had negotiated the release, together with a high western official (whose name I can’t find with a quick search now, tellingly enough). So, by performing a humane act, which no one in the west obviously had even tried, Russia admits its influence over the rebels! That’s the high level of intellect engaged in our propaganda model! Even Carl Bildt drew the same “brilliant” conclusion.

A simpler mind would have suggested that a Russian, or anybody else, just had to inform the activists that the hostage thing was very damaging to themselves and could contribute to nothing except bad PR. (So the release could possibly be viewed as a severe disappointment for warmongers of all kinds.)

To experience today’s naïve propaganda is wearying. It’s not just naïve but mostly outright silly, and epidemic at that. It’s taken as an axiom that Russia is bad and Putin a crook and hence that there is no reason to consider real facts or make any analysis. Journalists just have to construct stereotype sentences using templates from the former Cold War. And it becomes so terribly brainless.

In contrast to the original Cold War we can today enjoy reader’s comments in the newspapers web editions. Both in New York Times and in Dagens Nyheter (the Swedish NYT) those commentaries are highly informative in more than one way. Surprisingly large shares of the readers are nuanced, informed and analytic, thus critical towards the mostly propagandistic approach practiced by the journalists. These comments shed a promising light over the official propaganda machine, just as it gives hope for a more enlightened future.

This very day, May 5th, Ukraine is involving its military against its own population on a large scale. Thus the reporting here becomes more restrained (and the headline falls down in the text-TV list).  A civilized country using its military to fire live ammunition against its own population! And it seems not to be the most important issue. The focus is still on Russia, now with the question: when will they invade with troops?

What we experience is the logical outcome of a process that started with EU giving Ukraine an ultimatum to choose between Russia and itself as its future economic partner, thus more or less forcing Yanukovych to chose Russia (Putin had suggested a trilateral agreement which EU vetoed). To solely demonize Russia for this development is not just factually wrong, but worse still: leading nowhere but to horrible risks.

One horrible risk is that the point of no return is close…

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