Robert Parry marvels at how the US media quickly picks up and follows the official narrative of the US government when it comes to geopolitics. The latest is how Russia’s actions in the world are described when compared with US actions, and how Russian president Vladimir Putin is portrayed as a lunatic. He uses a recent New York Times article as an example.
Rather than offer the Times’ readers an objective or even slightly fair-minded account of Putin’s remarks, we are fed a steady diet of highly prejudicial language, such as we find in Saturday’s article about Putin’s comments at a conference in which he noted U.S. contributions to chaos in countries, such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and Ukraine.
That Putin is correct appears almost irrelevant to the Times, which simply writes that Putin “unleashed perhaps his strongest diatribe against the United States yet” with his goal “to sell Moscow’s view that American meddling has sparked most of the world’s recent crises.”
The underlying reality of the Ukraine crisis was that Putin actually supported the country’s status quo, i.e. maintaining the elected president and the constitutional process. It was the United States along with the European Union that sought to topple the existing system and pull Ukraine from Russia’s orbit into the West’s.
Whatever one thinks about the merits of that change, it is factually wrong to accuse Putin of initiating the Ukraine crisis or to extrapolate from Official Washington’s false conventional wisdom and conclude that Putin is a new Hitler, an aggressor seeking to reestablish the Soviet Union or the Russian Empire.
But the Times and other major U.S. news outlets have wedded themselves to that propaganda theme and now cannot deviate from it. So, when Putin states the obvious – that the U.S. has meddled in the affairs of other nations and that Russia did not pick the fight over Ukraine – his comments must be treated like the ravings of a lunatic unleashing some “diatribe.”
Among Putin’s ranting was his observation, according to the Times article, that “the United States supports ‘dubious’ groups ranging from ‘open neo-fascists to Islamic radicals.’
“‘Why do they support such people,’ he asked the annual gathering known as the Valdai Club, which met this year in the southern resort town of Sochi. ‘They do this because they decide to use them as instruments along the way in achieving their goals, but then burn their fingers and recoil.’
There are more than enough reasons to criticize Putin without making him into a cartoon villain whose every utterance is ridiculed. When done by the media, that is not journalism, it is propaganda. When done by the government, it prevents serious discussions at the diplomatic level that can resolve difficult issues peacefully.