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August 15, 2008

Congratulations, MSM!: Russian Propagandist: "We have learnt from Western TV how to simplify the narrative"

Devastating quote from the Soviets, I mean Russians. The Soviets, I mean the Russians taught the Western media how to cover Russia in a "nuanced" way, and now the Western media has taught Russia how to more skillfully propagandize.

“In the old days under Soviet rule we didn't believe a word of our own propaganda but we thought that information was free in the West and we longed for it,” said Katya, a middle-aged Muscovite. “But we have learnt since that the West has its own propaganda and in some ways it is more powerful because people believe it.”

Moscow is using novel methods to spread a very unsubtle, Cold War version of the Caucasian conflict to the world. Chief among them is Russia Today, a state 24-hour news channel that is fronted much of the time by cheery British and other English-speaking television professionals.

The smiles and studio banter could come from BBC World or CNN but the story is unrelentingly the Kremlin version. Banners flash along at the bottom of the screen saying such things as “genocide” and “aggression” or “city turns into human hell, many people still trapped under rubble”. Recapping the conflict yesterday RT's presenter said that Georgia's “brutal assault” had killed 1,600 civilians in its breakaway province in a campaign that destroyed 70 per cent of the buildings in Tskhinvali, its capital. Russian forces had moved in only to bring peace as Georgian forces killed women and children who were trying to flee, it said. Throughout its rolling cover of alleged Georgian atrocities, there was no mention of the heavy Russian military offensive.

The coverage goes down well in developing countries that want an alternative to CNN and BBC World Service, a Russian official said. “We have learnt from Western TV how to simplify the narrative.”

As a great man once said, "The student has become the master."

Thanks to LauraW. Big thanks.






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