March 29, 2014

Media Mirror

Truth

Kremlin Uses Vast Propaganda Campaign to Justify Crimea Annexation

March 29, 2014

 

MOSCOW – Russia commemorated the annexation of Crimea from Ukraine with a fervently patriotic celebration in Red Square complete with bands, fireworks and grand political speeches. The event seemed at odds with the fact that Russia had just unilaterally invaded a much smaller country and broken off a huge piece of its sovereign territory, an act much of the world regarded as naked aggression.

Russia’s involvement in Ukraine was made possible by a relentless government disinformation campaign designed to galvanize popular support for military action. The domestic propaganda onslaught successfully fomented widespread nationalist passions and paved the way for annexation.

In the beginning, Ukrainian protesters were depicted as conspiring fascists working closely with insidious Western forces. Fabricated stories of refugees fleeing to Russia fostered the misconception that the burgeoning revolution was a direct threat to Russia.

The Kremlin’s decision to support separatists in eastern Ukraine was initially portrayed as a heroic and noble campaign to ensure the safety of ethnic Russians in Ukrainian. That narrative later developed into a crusade to reclaim Russia’s historic lands, justifying the annexation.

President Vladimir Putin addressed cheering citizens and Russian media in Red Square, painting the land grab as a way for long displaced Russians to return to their homeland.

 

Fiction

Kremlin Uses Vast Propaganda Campaign to Justify Invasion of Iraq

May 1, 2003

 

MOSCOW – Russia commemorated the toppling of Iraq’s leader Saddam Hussein with a fervently patriotic celebration in Red Square complete with bands, fireworks and grand political speeches. The event seemed at odds with the fact that Russia had just unilaterally invaded a much smaller country and violently removed their sovereign government, an act much of the world regarded as naked aggression.

Russia’s involvement in Iraq was made possible by a relentless government disinformation campaign designed to galvanize popular support for military action. The domestic propaganda onslaught successfully fomented widespread nationalist passions and paved the way for invasion.

In the beginning, the Iraqi government was depicted as an existential threat working closely with shadowy terrorist forces. Fabricated stories of weapons of mass destruction fostered the misconception that the Saddam Hussein was a direct threat to Russia.

The Kremlin’s decision to unilaterally invade Iraq was initially portrayed as a heroic and noble campaign to ensure the safety of Russian citizens from a nuclear terrorist attack. That narrative later developed into a crusade to remove Saddam Hussein and install a Russian style “democracy”.

President Vladimir Putin addressed cheering citizens and Russian media in Red Square, declaring the swift toppling of Iraq’s government as a “mission accomplished”.

Take-Away

It can be hard to understand how Vladimir Putin’s popularity ratings have actually gone up as he’s fostered civil war in Ukraine. In the US we hear stories of Russia’s pro-war media blitz shamelessly peddling bald faced lies and distortions to its citizens. The propaganda looks so thick and the pretexts so flimsy, one wonders how ordinary Russians fall for it.

But isn’t there something familiar about all this? Didn’t our own population succumb to a government implemented  pro-war campaign to invade Iraq in 2003? Didn’t the rest of the world look on and wonder how Americans could believe tiny and faraway Iraq was an imminent threat?

For those who doubt this characterization of the American media in the run up to the Iraq invasion, consider a study by media watchdog Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting chronicling the vast overrepresentation of pro-war views on network broadcasts despite widespread public opposition to the war.

Other strong parallels exist. The Kremlin’s firing of Russian historian Andrei Zubov for voicing views that “contradict Russia’s foreign policy and inflict careless, irresponsible criticism on the actions of the state,” is reminiscent of MSNBC’s cancellation of Phil Donahue’s talk show after he voiced opposition to the Iraq invasion.

 

, , , , , ,

Comments are closed.