WELCOME TO MALPRACTICE IN THE AMERICA MEDIA
If media coverage of Ukraine were to be assessed from a “legal” perspective, it would range from negligent to reckless to bordering on (maybe upon investigation, being confirmed as) intentional misconduct. Exceptions there are, of course, but that’s the pointundefinedexceptions. At times one wonders whether some of the reporting isn’t rooted in the kind of bargain that CNN struck with Saddam Hussein, more than a decade ago, to report only positively about the dictator. CNN’s far too late mea culpa was published on April 11, 2003, by, of all papers, The New York Times. (Eason Jordan, chief news executive at CNN, admitted that for years CNN had suppressed negative news about the Saddam regime in Iraq. The commitment to curry favor with Saddam’s regime was so pervasive that CNN did not alert Saddam’s two sons in law, who had fled to Jordan, of plans to assassinate them, told to Jordan by one of Saddam’s sons, Uday. They were killed.)
The NYT times should know. It’s Moscow correspondent, Pulitzer prize winner Walter Duranty was in the 1930’s the most influential news correspondent in the English speaking world. He never probably expected his discussion with the US Embassy in Berlin to go anywhere. It did. The Embassy reported, as it must, to Washington Duranty’s admission that the venerably NYT had struck a devil’s deal with Stalin to only report the party line. Spiked was Stalin’s genocidal man-made famine in Ukraine in 1932-33. At the time, party elite estimated that some 10 million were murdered. A titantic ethnic cleansing, opening the door to a massive flood of Russians resettled into an eviscerated Ukraine to anchor a fifth column so active today. Truly, “all the news that fits.” And get this. Two days after the CNN mea culpa, the New York Times published a full page listing of its Pulitzer Prize winning correspondents. Among them is Walter Duranty, “for coverage of the news from Russia [sic].” (Again, now twelve years after the dissolution of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the USSR/Russia equation lives on.)
And now the killer-- FDR rewarded Stalin by extending diplomatic recognition to the USSR at that very time that millions of Ukrainians were being vaporized.
Any syllable about that in today’s coverage about Ukraine? No. Relevant, immediate. Yeah, I guess so.
How about America’s and Great Britain’s manhunt of those Ukrainian famine survivors in post-WWII, returning them to a Makarov bullet to the base of the skullundefinedall to “make nice” with the Great Sun? Again, no.
How about the irony that it’s precisely the US and Great Britain that induced Ukraine to surrender the world’s third largest nuclear arsenal (surrendering it to Russia) in exchange for “assurances” of Ukraine’s territorial integrity? Uh, no.
How about reporting about the Ukrainian minority (not that small) in Crimea and the consequences to them of the invasion and the Ukrainophobia? No. Why not? If Russians are so terribly discriminated against in Ukraine, or if there is some much media time and attention (and consequently, implied legitimacy) accorded to that claim, then why doesn’t that concern hold true in reporting about minorities in the Crimea? No answer. Hmmm.
How about explaining how all those Russians wound up in Crimea and elsewhere in Ukraine? Nope.
How about asking how it is that Khrushchev “gave” the Crimea to Ukraine in 1954undefinedwhere did he get it from? Did he actually create real estate? Uh, no, again
How about explaining Stalin’s in toto deportation of the native Crimean Tatars, and their remnants in Crimea and what will now happen to them, together with the Ukrainians? Don’t hold your breath.
How about Russian having years ago annexed massive swaths of Ukrainian territory, and the situation of the Ukrainians there? Wow, I never knew that.
How about a one-sentence comment how American arms and material were used by Moscow over the years to murder Ukrainians, Balts, Belorussians, Georgians, Armenians, Uzbeks, Kazakhs, etc, etc., Yes, surprise, these are real people. Well, maybe that would strain credulity, so bury that sordid history as well.
Any commentary about Vlad’s grandfather being Stalin’s cook, and father being in the Kremlin’s Gestapo, all revered by Vlad? Never hear a word about that, either. Ever wonder what that does to the DNA? Oh, interesting point.
How about questioning the “fascism”, “extremist nationalism”, “anti-semitism” of Ukrainians, and advising the audience the Ukraine suffered the greatest loss of humanity battling Nazisim than any other country in the world. Wow, that’s really impressive. But why did we never know that? Exactly.
How about reporting that Vlad’s hero, the Generalissimo, was not just an ally or collaborator of Hitler, but his joint venturer. The two despots started WWII? Never knew that? And why did the West only wage war against Hitler?
And how aboutundefinednow this is really extremeundefinedthe media explaining why Americans should give a damn? It’s not rocket science. Ukraine’s declaration of independence in 1991 was the trigger for the dissolution of the USSR. Americans could breath easier, and move away from the button. Haven’t heard that one, either.
Well, try this: explain to the audience that the Russian invasion, occupation and control of Ukraine after WWI was what led to the creation of the USSR, and its ongoing viability as a deathly threat to the “Free World.” (Yeah, I know, a hackneyed expression. Tough. ) Nope, haven’t heard anything about that either.
How about really challenging the imagination positing that the Russian invasion of Ukraine will mean that Monday night football in America may have to take second place in the country’s priorites? OK, you’re right, it won’t happen.
How about at least throwing overboard the long-discredited mouthpieces for the Kremlin that have poisoned the airwaves for a generationundefinedever hear about Dmitri Simes, Steve Cohen, and Vlad Posner? Sorry, folks. It ain’t gonna happen.
So what’s left? It’s what you got. Thanks, Vladundefinedand put your shirt on, you’re in public.
Ukrainian American Bar Association