Putin is not going to give up easily, or at all, in his hyper obsessive, criminal assault against the people of Ukraine. There is an abundance of historical evidence over many centuries that such invasions in that region are seldom, if ever, resolved without horrific, unthinkable bloodshed of anything that moves before defeat is conceded.
That’s even given the veracity of former ambassador Michael McFaul’s assessment on Twitter that “historians will record Ukraine’s victory over Russia in the Battle of Kyiv in April 2022 as one of Russia’s greatest battle defeats to which other Russian battle defeats should be compared.”
In the context of the ongoing slaughter of innocents and everyone else, it becomes far clearer the role that the shaping of public opinion plays. The proverbial “battle for the minds” of the public, ever since democracies gained a foothold in the west starting with the American revolution 250 years ago, is more important now than ever.
It is augmented by the myriad ways the public can get to see the events unfold through formal and informal media, from major news networks to hand-held cell phone cameras whose images are sent out over the Internet.
As a result, of course, totalitarian criminals like Putin use censorship as their major weapon to distort and lie about what’s really happening, and to the extent the west is blocking the dissemination of such lies from infiltrating here, the loyalties of China are fully “outed” by that totalitarian regime’s willingness to carry Putin’s water in the “information wars” by using their extensive reach through social media to spread Putin’s lies and disinformation.
The Putin word is, of course, that “there’s nothing going on here” as pertains to Ukraine, other than a necessary state action. No slaughter, no genocide, no mass graves of civilians.
So, thank you China, for letting the world see just where you stand. Forget those who blindly look only at China’s formal political postures toward the Ukraine invasion. Look instead at their full deployment of their instruments of global social deceit.
If you don’t think that matters so much, think again. The only reason the Russian general public is going along as much as it is with Putin’s savagery is because it is being fed a steady diet of lies through Putin state media.
In this context, it is vital to reassess the role that Fox News plays in the U.S. and in its areas of influence abroad. Fox is not a legitimate news organization, but a propaganda tool of the New Fascist International, inclusive of Putin and China and their allies in the west (likes of Trump, key elements of the Christrian Evangelical right, and Koch Industries that continues to thrive with its business operations in Moscow). Fox masquerades as something it is not.
A revealing study by two political scientists at U.C. Berkeley and Yale, which involved paying $15 an hour for 304 regular Fox viewers to watch up to seven hours of CNN per week during September 2020, as reported by Adam Gabbett of The Guardian. At the end of the month, many had changed their minds on a range of key issues, including the U.S. response to the coronavirus and Democrats’ attitude to police. It was surprising, the researchers said, that the results after one month had so much effect. “People who watch cable news tend to be very politically engaged and have strong opinions about politics. They tend to be strong partisans who might not trust any sources not associated with their party,” they surmised. Yet 10-13 percent of viewers were less likely to agree with Fox News positions after that short period, their results found.
The strident pro-Putin apologetics of Fox evening commentator Tucker Carlson, therefore, is of no small benefit to Putin, as are postures of influential evangelicals like Franklin Graham and many “social influencers” who are reportedly paid by Chinese media channels to spread pro-Russia thoughts on TikTok, Facebook Twitter and other social media.
Much of this egregious propaganda has been cultivated in the period since the Fairness Doctrine was removed from U.S. media oversight during the Reagan administration.
Such standards need to be reengaged.