By David Owens
Just as CNN gets ready to resume its broadcasts in Russia, a regular trail of bloopers has plagued its Ukraine news broadcasts. For the most part, they are comedic. A lighter kind of misinformation for those who follow the sobering Ukraine situation in the foreign and U.S. press. Most probably innocent mistakes, but tempting to look for incontrovertible evidence in the mix.
During a broadcast February 26, 2015, CNN reported the discovered identity of Jihadi John, the terrorist involved in several brutal killings for the Islamic State. Unfortunately, they placed the image of Russian President Vladimir Putin on the screen, implying that he was the Jihadist!
CNN explained later, “Due to a failure of a video server during today’s breaking news broadcast, a photo of Vladimir Putin, prepared for our next report, was accidentally shown. We apologize for that mistake.”
Okay, unless this is part of John Kerry’s wish to spread the truth about Ukraine and Putin, we forgive them.
No worries, on February 16, 2015, CNN reported that President Obama is considering arming Pro-U.S. troops. Again, perhaps John Kerry and the U.S. State Department know something we do not?
Will the Pro-U.S. troops march from Kiev right into Moscow and show Putin what is what? Or is it just more misinformation?
It might be fair to call them Pro-West troops as opposed to Pro-Russia troops in the Eastern Ukraine, but Pro-U..S is a stretch that even the Ukraine Nationalists would find offensive.
Perhaps a clearer picture was offered by CNN in their graphic that aired February 9, 2015, showing that Ukraine is part of Russia. Admittedly, since 1991 the boundaries of the former U.S.S.R. republics have been confusing and still uncertain in a few areas.
But it is premature to place the whole of Ukraine as part of Russia. As the headline says, this WOULD be a diplomatic and military crisis. For one, Russia does not want to absorb it’s neighbor. Despite all the family ties, historical connections and Russia the top business partner for Ukraine, there is no benefit or desire from either side for Ukraine to be merged into Russia, ignoring for the moment the Crimea situation. Solving the economic problems of Ukraine will be an expensive proposition and the corruption and entrenched oligarchs that have plagued it for the past 20 years are still there.
This map only adds to the misinformation and misunderstandings of the past year.
Lest we think CNN can’t get anything right about the Ukraine situation, they did run an accurate map clearly showing the Ukraine boundaries as separate from the Russian Federation.
Crimea is shown in another color highlighting the question of whether it voted to be part of Russia or did Russia simply claim it. This has been the key point of argument between the U.S. and Russia the past year. Wait, did CNN still broadcast that Obama is considering arming Pro-US troops? Where? Ukraine or Crimea?
Okay. let’s clear the air. CNN made some bloopers. Still, it is excellent they are resuming broadcasts in Russia. CNN is an important component of the news shown in Russia. And despite John Kerry’s criticism of state controlled media in Russia, they do get American, European and Russian news.
There is a robust discussion of Ukraine issues in Russia. Russian citizens understand far better than most in Western countries how a government can propagandize information. And they interpret it accordingly. Americans seem more trusting of their media, though the Internet has ignited an explosion of questionable news sources.
The Internet offers unlimited news perspectives and opinions to prove any point. Social media, apparently, has become a major source of incontrovertible evidence used by the State Department to prove its narrative of the Ukraine situation. I thought Fox News and RT were as far as I wanted to go with news bias. Social media as a trusted source. Truth Gone Wild!
The past year we have also seen a lot of unfiltered news from Ukraine passed from our friendly Kiev government to the U.S. State Department to the major American media only to be retracted or modified a few weeks later. Damage done. If only we could locate that “incontrovertible evidence” and clear the air!
Help is near! I have found incontrovertible evidence that Putin is not Jihadi John! In fact, he is America’s first President, George Washington.
This changes everything! Expect clarity in the Press, and agreement among governments. Oh the happy repercussions of incontrovertible evidence!
Actually Putin’s face is on the U.S. Dollar? Expect to see Obama on a new ruble coin soon! Usher in the new age of Incontrovertible Evidence! Hard to say, but so pleasing to the ears!
– – –
Media is our best government watchdog. It gets people talking to each other on issues, builds understanding and promotes better futures. When the media presents only one narrative it supports those who wish to use it as propaganda.
This past year we have seen so many stories based on rumor, purposeful mis-statements and social media. From all sides. Incontrovertible evidence. There is plenty of blame to go around. We need less posturing and more listening, critical thinking and discussion.
There are many unanswered questions on the Ukraine situation. What is Russia’s actual involvement? Did Crimea vote to join Russia or did Putin just claim it? Which is more valid? Was there a full scale invasion or is Ukraine crying wolf? Can anyone control the 30 militias operating in Ukraine? Will John McCain get his war? Is Putin a terrorist? Oh, we answered that one — No, he is George Washington!
And despite the comedy, CNN’s return to Russian airwaves can only help.