Photo Valentyn Ogirenko / Reuters
[…] there is an aspect of this new phase in the Ukraine crisis that needs to be noted right away. The narrative advanced over the past 18 months by most Western media—and all corporate American media, without exception—is coming unglued before our eyes. This is going to make it even more difficult than heretofore to understand events by way of our newspapers and broadcasters.
Already we see the kind of contorted reporting always deployed when our media have to cover their tracks after long periods of corrupt, untruthful work. Per usual, the most consequential offenses occur in the government-supervised New York Times.
Example: Petro Poroshenko, the Ukrainian president, now confronts “Ukrainian nationalists” over plans to decentralize power because Vladimir Putin forced this upon him, “with a metaphorical gun to his head.” This we read in Tuesday’s paper. And here we need a trigger warning for the faint of heart, because I have two strong words for this report, written with deliberation.
Outright lies. We are beyond lies of omission now. These are the real thing.
One, these are not “nationalists.” France’s Front Nationale is nationalist. The U.K. Independence party is nationalist. The majorities on Capitol Hill are nationalist. These are black-shirted ultras who vote with explosives and assassins’ bullets. You deserve to know this, and it does not change simply because Washington backs them covertly and John McCain—ask him—does smiling photo ops with Oleh Tyahnybok, their openly fascist leader.
Two, there is no accounting at all for the “gun to his head” bit, but Putin’s view that federalization is the sensible solution to the Ukraine crisis is (1) plainly the sound way to hold the nation together while addressing its differences and (2) vehemently endorsed by the French and German governments. Chancellor Merkel, with no gun to her head, made this plain Tuesday, when she insisted that autonomy legislation now pending in Kiev must be acceptable to the leadership in the rebellious eastern regions. You deserve to know this, too. […]
Let us watch how our failure in Ukraine computes out. Two wishes in the meantime.
One, the odious triumphalism that arose in the 1990s—so tinny and unbecoming when seen from the perspectives of others—will go straight to hell at last. I detest it.
Two, the shockingly bad performance of our media, notably but not only the government-supervised New York Times, will prove a turning point in the arrival of alternative media. It is they that have got the Ukraine story right, shining more light on it than news organizations commanding a hundred times the wattage. Given this performance, we should not consider them an alternative to anything, I like to think—only new growth on the old tree.
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