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PBS Frontline: “Putin’s Revenge” – unintentionally hilarious

PBS’s Frontline series offers what it calls the “inside story of how Vladimir Putin came to see the United States as an enemy — and why he decided to target an American election.” We are publishing it here because it has to be seen to be believed.

For those in North America here is the link to it on PBS

The sinister music and Burnsian black and white photography, the gravel-voiced narrator, all trying to give gravitas to a script that is so divorced from any kind of maturity, sanity or veridical reality it will make you dizzy.

In its quick overview of Putin’s rise to power no mention is made of the collapse of infrastructure, the soaring crime rates and the suffering of working people made destitute by Yeltsin’s “democratisation” of the economy. And no mention is made of how “anti-democratic” Putin reversed this seemingly irreversible decline. No effort is made to define what is meant by “democracy” at all. Nothing that sophisticated is even attempted. Yeltsin, the hood and destroyer, is described as “pro-democracy” because he favoured the US and its economic piracy. Putin is “anti-democratic”, because he didn’t. It’s that unsophisticated. And that absurd.

Tune in and see all the usual suspects from John Brennan to Masha Gessen tell unvarnished, awkward and easily disprovable lies with studied earnest. Marvel at the hubris and naivety required to make a two-hour documentary based on a collection of premises that can be disproved by a simple Google search. The most remarkable thing about this – and so much recent western propaganda – is how clumsy and foolish it is.

This is what passes for high class journalism now in the fluoridated, fantasy-bewildered collective psyche of the Exceptional Nation.

Watch it and laugh until you cry.

Part two is here.


  1. Donald says

    Nobody does propaganda like PBS, it is without a doubt La Creme de la Creme of propaganda.

    • Andrew Boughton says

      The interesting question is how Hillary and her dear friend Madeleine Albright became Deomocrat neo-con hawks. Now that’s riddle worth solving, and the first one to solve it wins.

      • That is because since Bill Clinton (and possibly before that), the Democrats have become Republicans with lipstick on. By world standard, the Democratic Party in the US is well right of center.

      • It IS an extreme – though obvious to anyone with an ounce of discernment – example of how to take a few facts and turn them into one sided proper gander!
        I don’t want to help them improve, but their ‘subtlety’ needs upgrading, though it isn’t easy to turn things around 180 degrees on the fly!
        Let us give them “E” for ‘effort.’

  2. farang says

    The sad reality is that these snake oil salesmen masquerading as journalists and government experts actually believe they are successfully conning anybody with two braincells to rub together. It’s not that so many of us find Putin to be a hero: it’s just that in contrast to our gang of sociopathic liars, he seems a refreshing change.

    • Putin is no Saint – unless of course you compare him to the western sociopaths, then he has a veritable halo following him everywhere he is negotiating peace and making friends – something the sociopaths are unable to claim. Isn’t that the real reason he is hailed as the devil incarnate? He doesn’t make them look bad, they managed that all by themselves, they just need to bring him down to hide their own menace and totality of failings.

      • “No saint” taken literally is obviously true. But is there evidence that he has ever done anything unethical or morally dubious?

        We have to assume he is to some extent corrupt, because he is a politician, but why is the evidential basis so hard to pin down? Have the Putin myth-makers just done a great job of memory-holing his misdeeds?

        This isn’t directed at you Mohandeer, so much as a general enquiry as part of an ongoing search for answers at OffG.

        • Totally agree with your question Admin.
          I support Jermemy Corbyn, but due to my differences with him and some of his policies, I could never be described as a Corbynista. By that same token, I support Putin for all the reasons I detailed in my comment above, but various attempts by quite a few people, to label me a Putin apologist are just pathetic derailing tactics. There is much that Putin may have gotten wrong. No-one knows what he and Tymoshenko discussed when he summoned her about her husbands activities in his corporate position(the power giant he and she own). She was allowed to return to Ukraine without further harassment from Putin. What kind of deal did they agree? Most likely the husband was given an ultimatum and he agreed. Was it to encourage Tymoshenko to pay up all their owed taxes or face prosecution, or were there other deeds that needed to be put to bed? We’ll never know, but whereas some would say he lined his own pockets(there is absolutely no evidence of any such misappropriation, but when was that ever a consideration in determining someone’s guilt or innocence)and there are people like me and so many others, who believe, until proven otherwise, that Putin acted in good faith to resolve a problem discreetly in order to serve Russia’s best interests and not his own. I have absolutely no idea which is true, but while Putin works tirelessly and successfully, to defeat US and EU illegal sanctions, to further trade and commerce on behalf of Russia, to volunteer to arbitrate between opposed governments (as opposed to threatening to destroy them with war) to condemn NATO/EU and US aggression and to hold the UN to account for their nefarious pro US propaganda, he has my respect and to a degree, my trust.
          With respect to his misdeeds, pigeon holing someone merely because of their preferred vocation is tantamount to tarring everyone with the same brush without proof or evidence. Something I prefer not to do. I know of no misdeeds of Jeremy Corbyn or John McDonnell or the Bolsover Beast(other than offending the delicate Tory sensibilities)or “Wedgy” Benn, all of whom are politicians and none of whom, are to my knowledge in any way corrupt. Given the almost pathological need for his [Putin] enemies to try and destroy him and they have had fifteen years of trying remorselessly to do so, Putin must have a bloody big and deep hole in which to bury his wrongs.
          “we have to assume he is to some extent corrupt” – assume away, if that’s your leaning, just count me out of the “we” bit, for all the reasons I have stated.
          Furthermore, I don’t believe Lavrov is corrupt either and he’s a diplomat(so presumably he doesn’t automatically fall into the category of “corrupt”?) there are no saints or sinners, bad people do good things and good people do bad things, just as Mother Theresa was pretty bad at doing good.
          In essence, except in joking, I try to refrain from labeling someone whose corruption is not known to me as “corrupt”. The exceptions are the psyhco’s and sociopaths currently trying to kill as many people’s as they can physically manage who just happen to be in charge of world affairs.
          Nobody’s perfect!:)

  3. B.F. says

    I see that they used some “Russians” with strange Russian names to give their opinions. Ha ha ha.

  4. arnieus says

    PBS should be defunded if possible. This is like the anti German propaganda in the 30s. Nobody in Russia wants a war. It is ridiculous. Every one in Russia has family that was killed in the 20th century WWI, Bolshevik Civil war and mass exterminations, and WWII. The Russian military is defensive. It is the US that has aircraft carriers out threatening everyone like mafia muscle patrolling extortion territories. The belligerent zionist US with an enormous nuke arsenal is controlled by the CFR and CIA is a threat to Russia. Putin could care less who pretends to be president. Nothing changes.

    • C. Zaman says

      I believe over 25 million people from the soviet union gave up their lives in WWII – anyone who puts the Russian people down gets this fact flung at them from my lips. I was born and raised in the UK, now live in Canada. I am truly upset with the way most of western governments are behaving, it seems they want war with Russia. In my district in the UK there were many Jewish people, I did not hear this Zionist propaganda mentioned. Many Israelis do not vote in the Labour Government in that country because Labour identifies with Zionism. And we will not mention what the present corrupt leader identifies with. All I know is a lot of arms manufacturers are profiting from this obsession with security.

  5. Sav says

    The Discovery channel also did a series last year – Facing Putin. Similar spiel.

    This week the BBC & Co add some more stories to keep up the Russia paranoia. Kaspersky Labs anti-virus could be used by the Russian government. Again, no evidence at all. Meanwhile Google, & every other massive internet company know every step we make and everything we type or order while sitting in with US government bodies in censoring the internet and you hardly hear a thing.

    • Dump Google and go with Yandex, it’s better and no censorship and Yandex Zen is a really effective tool for news

  6. Mercifully, I’m already laughing and crying, and won’t have to actually watch — actually don’t want to watch, actually don’t even feel the twinge of compunction to watch — any of it.

    (Well, okay: I couldn’t resist at least a little sampling of the ‘sinister music and Burnsian black and white photography, the gravel-voiced narrator, all trying to give gravitas to the script.” Haven’t I heard that gravel-voiced narrator before? Forensic Files, maybe? Et voilà, not more than one minute and eleven seconds into the ‘documentary,’ I already knew who was guilty and that needed to go to jail, albeit not without due process. And that’s the beauty of scripting, isn’t it, that it’s a real time saver for people without time. Thank you, Hollywood!)

  7. summitflyer says

    I hear it everyday on CBC , which has become an echo chamber for CNN and all the alphabet soup so-called news agencies.Not my channel of choice but these days ,they are all the same.I don’t watch television anymore and I prefer to listen to good music only.
    Seriously ,I just can’t find any humor in the fact that many, including my spouse , believe this bill$hit .Sure makes for very little mature and knowledgeable conversation in the household .
    I wonder if I will live long enough to see it all exposed for what it is ,verbal diarrhea ,lies and propaganda at it’s best.

  8. BigB says

    This is hilarious: not that I am going to watch it (I got as far as to glean it was sponsored by the MacArthur Foundation.) I don’t know when this was broadcast: but is obviously a continuation of the Brennan instigated Russophobia psyop – perhaps a more redolent title could have been “Brennan’s Revenge?”

    The major subplot to the Russian collusion canard is to deflect media attention away from the world’s biggest sore loser – HRC (even John McCain has told her to wind her neck in, FFS!) Well, the cracks are widening and the dam’s at busting point on that one. Back in the world where there is at least some substance to the allegations (I hesitate to call it ‘reality’) – the ‘Lolita Express’ is back in town – and speculation of an elite paedophile ring is rife (the substance would be that Jeffrey Epstein is a Class 3 Sex Offender {most likely to re-offend} and did jail time for soliciting under age girls. Well, he did billionaire jail time. He was free all day and only slept in prison. How long would a person of colour got: with no parole and no day licence???) Will former Clinton bodyguard Dan Bongino bust the dam? Will PBS make a ‘History Hour’ on the crimes of the Clinton’s …or the Clinton Russia collusion scandal? It’ll take them more than “a couple of Googlings” (other search engines are available) to collect the data and sworn affadavit’s on that one!!!

    • writerroddis says

      True. But a bigger context is laid out in Michael Hudson’s piece in CounterPunch yesterday: Monetary Imperialism. Essential reading.

      • Big B says

        Thanks Phil: if only there were more heterodox economists like Hudson, Keen, Werner, Blyth – but then they would be orthodox: and no longer heterodox!

        As a thought: they say we are post “peak QE” and we are tapering toward market normalisation – although the BOJ, ECB, and recently the PCOB are still pumping $$$$ billions per day into the global economy – what happens when that taper hits zero? [Scheduled for March-April 2019 to coincide with …??? No, seriously …it is on course to be on or around March 29th 2019 – I don’t make this stuff up.]

        They are running out of options (negative NIRP interest rates, cashless society, asset confiscation {which the ECB have just legislated for…}) If they don’t forgive or restructure the debt (Keen and Hudson’s modern debt jubilee) – their own (BIS central banksters) Ponzi scheme will collapse. And they will blame us (household indebtedness too high, productivity too low); Brexit and the Russians!!!

        • I don’t think you understand the heterodox economists that you are referencing.
          There is no Ponzi scheme and QE doesn’t “pump money into the economy”.
          Central bank balance sheets are largely irrelevant.

          • Big B says

            Agreed: I should have worded that differently – QE doesn’t “pump money into the ‘real’ economy” …mainly because the real economy is shrinking; while the QE ‘money’ is used to buy stock and bonds …that inflate asset bubbles: that give the appearance of growth. To me, that is the very definition of a Ponzi scheme.


            So if central bank balances are irrelevant: what do you think will happen when the Fed sells some of its $4.5tn balance sheet; global QE tapers to zero; and interest rates rise? Because the best understanding that I have is that we won’t get to that before the system collapses. The amount of debt in the global system is just to high – and I’m getting that straight from Steve Keen’s “Can we avoid another financial crash?” His answer is ‘no’ by the way. So what am I missing???

            • Big B says

              Whoops: misread the title of Keen’s book – it should be ‘crisis’ not ‘crash’.

    • Then watch the new comedy show, debuting tonight (Nov. 30th!)
      online or on TV’s “Comedy Central” about our dear Pres, King Donald Trump. You will probably enjoy that!

  9. Fair dinkum says

    PBS has been a Propaganda Broadcasting $ervice for many years.
    Another wolf in sheeps clothing and a well trained wolf that never bites the hands that feed it.
    Meanwhile, the truth is being strangled by algorithms.

    • Curmudgeon says

      Ironically, it became worse when Reagan cut off matching federal grants. It allowed money interests to alter, in earnest, the content of “news” and “current affairs” programming under the guise of “public” broadcasting.

  10. Sandy Robertson says

    I’m sure it’s dire, but am I wrong in thinking for balance in your critique it would have been better to mention that Putin is thought to be behind murders of journalists, and even the reckless assassination of one of his own in London by polonium poisoning? I think the whole anti-Russia thing by the Dems is stupid, but I just feel you might have mentioned that Putin can be a naughty boy on occasion. Or am I wrong?
    Also I don’t know how to take the comment by rtj1211. If just sarcasm, fine, but I hope he isn’t actually saying we should be rude to Americans we meet. Again, apologies if I’m being obtuse, but I’ve always found being ironic in threads like these doesn’t work as one can never be sure what is a joke and what is serious.

    • We have discussed the allegations against Putin many times. We have looked for the evidence and reviewed what has been on offer. There is virtually no data to support the claim Putin is behind any of the murders attributed to him routinely in the media. Look for yourself. If you can find anything we missed we will willingly publish it.

      Putin is regularly described as a “thug” and a “tyrant”, but description isn’t evidence. We try to deal with the underlying facts, not with media tropes or unsourced allegations.

      • Sandy Robertson says

        It’s possible you are correct of course. I constantly see stories about Trump, for instance, which turn out upon investigation to involve clever editing of footage to twist the truth by CNN and the like; and anyone demonised by the Clintonistas must have something good about him…

      • writerroddis says

        Another good answer to a question courteously put.

        I’ll seize the opportunity to ask: why does OffGuardian indulge the thumbs down button? I see a point to the thumbs up – and use it myself – but it seems right to ask that those with criticisms of a comment take the trouble to articulate their reasoning.

        • summitflyer says

          Not sure what you mean by the thumbs down button? Maybe it is shown differently on my PC system ,but all I see at the bottom of every post is a ” like” option and a “reply” option .
          I personally would like to see a thumbs up and down option.The “like” is good also.

          • BigB says

            Don’t know why: my system won’t let me ‘like’ – I can only use the thumbs up. I’m inclined to agree with Phillip – reply, don’t downvote. Especially as some people seem to thumbs up their own comment, and thumbs down every else. I mean, if they really need the security!

            • I think you need to be logged in to a WordPress account to see the “like” button. We are reviewing the thumbs-up/down option.

              • The thumbs down button was useful when trying to ditch obvious trolls, but a non acknowledgement serves better. When people are using foul language to attack an opposition post, whether or not you agree with the literary content, then it is possible to show disapproval by down voting them. I don’t often down vote but occasionally it is a useful option.

        • Yep. And I’m willing to wager that things are indeed more complex than maybe “we” have thus far managed in terms of culling and parsing information.

          My bias, unfortunately or not, is along class lines. There are no good or bad capitalists. Only capitalists, that is to say, a ruling class and the rest of “us.” At least in so far as I have been able to discern . . .

        • Posting lies and false accusations takes just a minute. Disproving those lies and false accusations can take from a minute to one hour or even a year. Google oritekia. My blog and website. Most basic stuff is there. I’m tired of the “evil” Putin BS when almost every US president was a war criminal.

      • Guess you have not followed legitimate, international press reports during the past years? How can you be so uninformed?

        • We have done more than follow press reports, we have researched the evidence behind them. We have never found any substantiation for the claims made that Putin has murdered journalists or anyone else. But, as I said above, if you have found any such evidence please tell us and we will be happy to publish it.

        • Seriously? What legitimate international press reports during the past years? The MSM? LOL! Believing the mendacious MSM propaganda is not being informed, quite the contrary!

          [edited by Admin for typo]

          • Thanks. I have often wished that WordPress would allow one to edit one’s comments, correct typos and so on. I am slowly losing my sight and have probles with my hands too, so sometimes a letter I typed (too lightly) doesn’t register, sometimes I type the letter next to the intended letter. 🙂

    • @Sandy Robertson. The whole judiciary in the Litvinenko case was reduced to an embarrassing event of ridicule. The court proceedings were made available on-line(because the MSM wouldn’t want the public to see this farce as it unfolded)and any half brained idiot can work out the contradictions and total absence of any proofs or evidence that could be substantiated)Litvenenko himself believed it was somebody else rather than Putin and said so. The joke that went around the alternate media was that you could accuse anybody, anywhere of anything that was unsubstantiated lies as long as you used the word “probably”, as in The Sun(if I remember correctly) who stated Putin “probably” did it. No “proof” was ever offered and no mention of the fact that Litvinenko could just as easily have poisoned himself, because he was a smuggler of all kinds of contraband, including Pu.
      Just one article:Britain had more motivation to kill Aleksandr Litvinenko than Russia, brother claims
      Published time: 22 Jan, 2016 12:22Edited time: 22 Jan, 2016 15:35
      Get short URL
      The grave of murdered ex-KGB agent Aleksandr Litvinenko is seen at Highgate Cemetery in London, Britain, January 21, 2016. © Toby Melville / Reuters
      The brother of Aleksandr Litvinenko says the UK government had more motivation to kill him than Russia did, despite a British public inquiry which concluded that President Putin “probably” approved the assassination.
      Maksim Litvinenko, Aleksandr’s younger brother who lives in Rimini, Italy, responded to the Thursday report by saying it was “ridiculous” to blame the Kremlin for the murder of his brother, stating that he believes British security services had more of a motive to carry out the assassination.
      “My father and I are sure that the Russian authorities are not involved. It’s all a set-up to put pressure on the Russian government,” Litvinenko told the Mirror, adding that such reasoning is the only explanation as to why the inquiry was launched 10 years after his brother’s death.
      He called the British report a “smear” on Putin, and stressed that rumors claiming his brother was an enemy of the state are false. He added that Aleksandr had planned to return to Russia, and had even told friends about the move.
      Litvinenko went on to downplay his brother’s alleged role as a spy, working for either Russia or MI6, adding that the Western media is to blame for such characterization.
      “The Russians had no reason to want Alexander dead,” he said. “My brother was not a spy, he was more like a policeman…he was in the FSB [Russian Federal Security Service] but he worked against organized crime, murders, arms trafficking, stuff like that.”
      Litvinenko was murdered in London in 2006, when assassins allegedly slipped radioactive polonium 21 into his cup of tea at a hotel. But his brother Maksim cast doubt on whether that was actually the poison used, saying he believes it could have been planted to frame the Russians.
      “I believe he could have been killed by another poison, maybe thallium, which killed him slowly, and the polonium was planted afterwards,” he said. He added that requests to have his brother’s body exhumed, in order to verify the presence of polonium, have been ignored by Britain.
      “Now after 10 years any trace [of polonium] would have disappeared anyway, so we will never know,” he said, adding that British authorities had not collaborated with Russian investigators on the case.
      “This case became a big PR campaign against the Russian government and its president in particular,” Maksim Litvinenko told RT in an interview in 2014. “The West is pressuring Russia very hard now. The MH-17 crash, Crimea, the war in Ukraine, sanctions against Moscow and now this inquiry – I’m not buying that this is a coincidence.”
      When asked why Aleksandr Litvinenko’s widow Marina continues to maintain that the Kremlin is responsible for the murder, he said: “She lives in London, to survive she has to play the game and take this point of view. She can’t say anything else.”
      Back in 2012, Litvinenko’s father backtracked on his claims that Vladimir Putin was responsible for his son’s death, and asked the Russian president for forgiveness. Walter Litvinenko told RT that his anger had made him say what the Western media wanted to hear.
      Meanwhile, the Russian Foreign Ministry has also dismissed the British report, blaming London for politicizing the “purely criminal” case of Litvinenko’s death.
      Russia’s UK ambassador, Alexander Yakovenko, told RT that the inquiry’s conclusion was “not justified,” and that the investigation was “very politicized” and “biased.”
      “In order to prove something, you have to present the facts. As soon as the British side proves…their conclusions, we will be ready to consider [them],” the ambassador said, adding that the Russian side “did not even have a chance to study the documents [of the investigation].”
      A link to French GIGN anti terror group:

      William Dunkerley has written extensively on the case after reading court transcripts and exposing Godfarbs lie.
      –A rogue coroner dodged his statutory duty to rule on the manner and cause of death, and instead conducted a Berezovskyesque witch hunt for Russian culpability. –He subsequently was told by Home Secretary Theresa May to cut out the witch hunt and perform his duty to rule on the manner and cause of death. She also told him that any further official inquiry was unnecessary. –That would have ended the folly for good. But instead Prime Minister David Cameron reversed the Home Secretary and reopened the witch hunt. This came amidst the sanctions frenzy against Putin over the Ukraine crisis. It was a highly politicized move, not a search for justice…… Is this helpful in delivering a sense of parity(which has never existed in the first place)?

  11. archie1954 says

    It is simply very poorly constructed American government propaganda.The US elites must think the majority of Americans are not only ignorant but grossly stupid!

    • rtj1211 says

      Well, if half the population never travels abroad, they do not see first hand the nonsense, do they?

      Perhaps they see the fifth rate American infrastructure?

      As for Americans abroad: why not say ‘it is so good to see the ugly of America on maneuvres!’

      When they express outrage at your rudeness, say: ‘ ooh, you don’t like my LANGUAGE?! Poor little Americans, run off to Daddy McCain and go boo, hoo, hoo!’

      Make daily life a never ending experience of rudeness, bad service and unpleasantness. Make US Expats want to go home. And make children abroad not want to go to school.

      No violence, but all the joy of life gone.

      What a pity, eh??

      • Average American citizens are just as helpless and bewildered as the rest of humanity. They are bombarded with propaganda and fear porn to an extent unprecedented in history. Let’s not make the mistake of attacking ordinary people in place of the power structure that enslaves them.

        • writerroddis says

          Good answer. I often use ‘Washington’ as shorthand for the very distinction you imply. ‘American ruling class’ is more precise but has to be used sparingly, more’s the pity.

  12. No way I could sit through that. It’s a shame what PBS has become. People who watch it deserve the contempt the film makers obviously hold for them.

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