The US is the world’s largest media market. As such it has attracted a number of media companies from across the planet. For example: the French company, Universal, owned the TV network NBC before it was sold to the cable company Comcast. Famously, Australia’s Murdoch family moved and became citizens so they could buy TV stations.
With this in mind, you’ll not be surprised to learn that America also has a large and diverse number of voices. Being all human and all, we tend to pick news outlets that match our pre-conceived ideas. Wanna’ be on Putin’s side in this Ukraine business? No problem, here you go: I picked Sky News Australia because it’s a Murdoch property.
Interestingly, Fox News didn’t even mention Trump’s praise of Putin. I searched the website and came up empty. That’s odd to me because Tucker Carlson, Fox’s biggest star, is very much pro Russia in this matter.
There is a newspaper called The Hill; it’s conservative without being stupid or crazy. They seem to adhere to basic journalistic standards instead of the “alternative facts” so common elsewhere. They ran a story about how Ukraine has united the Republican Party. Not around Ukraine, but around a hatred for Biden. Its Biden’s fault Russia is going into Ukraine. Here, read for yourself. Agree with The Hill or not, reading this helps you understand where someone like Carlson is coming from.
Once you leave the conservative media, the overwhelming majority of sources in America seem to be supportive of Ukraine and the US response to the war. These organizations all have reporters on the ground across Ukraine and in Moscow, Washington, and Brussels. I realize it must be hard to remain impartial and simply report the facts when you know some of the people around you will be dead by sunset.
To my mind perhaps the most striking thing about US coverage is how reporters cover the busloads of people coming out of Dumbass into Russia. When they get on the bus, they are women & children who have been asked to leave by the local (rebel) militia so they are not around when things go south. When the exact same bus arrives in Russia, Россия 24 describes these people as desperate refugees trying to escape Ukrainian bombing missions targeting schools & kindergartens. Obviously, both cannot be true.
Unbiased and factual
I have followed the build-up and eventual breakout of war in Ukraine mostly through watching BBC television, or BBC online.
Throughout the coverage, the national broadcaster has taken great pains to not only show what is happening, but to explain why is it happening. Its news website has several articles to help readers understand what is going on, and what may happen next. They have titles like: “Why has Putin invaded Ukraine?”; “How hard is it to defend Ukraine?”; “Where does Ukraine go from here?”. These articles are factual and not one-sided, with the intention of allowing everyone to make up their own mind based on the available evidence.
There are also plenty of graphics showing Ukraine and its borders, and where exactly the Russian troops are.
The television news also shows exactly what the Russian media is saying, showing actual bulletins with translations. As is always the case with the BBC, it attempts to get as many views on the ground from what we in the media rather patronisingly call “real” people, those who are not movers and shakers, but ordinary folk who are caught up in the developing crisis. British people who now live there, and locals sharing their fears and apprehension.
Every day, the BBC publishes the key moments that have transpired during the previous 24 hours, so even if you unable to monitor the events closely, you can get a feel for what’s been going on.
The BBC’s highly respected Moscow correspondent, Steve Rosenberg, tells us every day, live, how it actually is, pulling no punches, and without fear of reprisals. How long the authorities there will continue to allow this to happen is anybody’s guess, but they tend not to like too much truth getting out…..
I feel, from the coverage in the U.K., that I am pretty well informed about the new war in Europe. I would love to spout my personal opinions on the subject, but that’s not what this blog is about!
Back in the USSR: the worst way
I will write my blog in bullets.
- Nobody could really predict Russia would invade Ukraine. But it happened.
- What is happening now is a full-scale war.
- Its outcome, militarily, is clear: Russia will eventually crush Ukraine. The pictures I see look like Germans invading Soviet Ukraine in 1941. But the resistance is fierce, I think, Putin didn’t expect it. The invading army seems to be out of its timing and it is suffering heavy losses. Sure, Putin would now pay any price in human lives to suppress the resistance.
- I truly admire the people of Ukraine: they are beyond brave fighting for their country, their homeland. I’m not sure I would have enough courage if I were there…
- This is Putin’s biggest geopolitical mistake ever but the worst thing is that it will hit the whole country the hardest way. We’re back in 1946, with the Iron Curtain in its contemporary form. His ideas about Ukraine are just weird, to put in the softest way; he lives somewhere else, thinking that the country is fake. The Ukrainian people’s heroic resistance effectively shows now he’s totally wrong; this is not Crimea 2014.
- He is the biggest danger to the world. He’s got nukes and is ready to use them. What’s he is doing now is war crime.
- The people’s protest to war here in Russia is unprecedented. I didn’t expect it, taking into account that even public showing anti-war position could be dangerous. The Change.org public voting shows already 600,000 voices for ‘NO to war’; this is tremendous. Lots of celebrities, influencers and public figures here have openly demonstrated their opposition to the war. This excites me.
- I talked to one person today, a pro-Putin expert, who could be seen on the Russian TV. He is also an anchor on the Vesti FM radio station and I’ve been invited by him several times to talk live about my travels. I won’t disclose his name though. Basically, he told me that the only alternative to it would be an all-out war with the West because the United States has been pressing Russia so much that the situation is intolerable in terms of security. He basically, repeated what Putin is saying. We talked for 2 hours. I still didn’t get what kind of security risks are for Russia to go to war. He also said that Putin is choosing the best possible option in this regard. He thinks that Putin is absolutely sane when taking such decisions.
- In the end Putin will establish some puppet government to sign some ‘peace agreement’ making Ukraine a ‘neutral’ state. The problem is, how are you supposed to control an absolutely hostile country with an armed population? The Russian economy is not strong, it is just the opposite. It would be even more seriously hurt by the sanctions. There’s no money to support the devoted Ukraine.
- Putin thinks of getting into future history books as great Russia’s unifier. I’m sure he will get there but with some very different descriptions: as a ruler, who caused lots of disasters to his country and to Ukraine; who led Russia to national catastrophe.
P.S. As to the media coverage in Russia, the only thing you have to know is that the state-controlled media is serving new highs to overcome its spiritual father, Joseph Goebbels.