The western media narrative blames Russia’s “aggressive” foreign policy for triggering the collapse of American-Russian relations. Nothing could be further from the truth, and two major events of the last year prove it.
The Sochi Games We Somehow Survived
In the weeks and months prior to the XXII Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Western mainstream media shifted into hysterical gear, spooking the public with every possible thing that could go wrong in Sochi (but didn’t) scenario. A non-stop, mass-produced litany of tales of wild dogs, strange toilets, and the looming threat of terrorism had the rather predictable effect of prompting many spectators and even athletes to take a pass on one of the most successful Games of modern times. Although every city that plays host to the Olympics is expected to endure some level of hostile media coverage… invariably over the sheer cost of hosting the international event… the type of criticism aimed at the organisers of the Sochi Games was exceptional for the political edge of the attack, including Russia’s decision to ban gay propaganda in the months prior to the event.
There was a deliberate effort to conflate Russian legislation to protect minors from being exposed to inappropriate sexual messages with some sort of government-sponsored attack on homosexuals. Even Human Rights Watch painted a hugely inaccurate picture of the law, turning it into some sort of state-sanctioned hit parade. Tanya Cooper, an HRW researcher, said, “Russian authorities are sending a dangerous message as the world is about to arrive on its doorstep for the Olympics that there is nothing wrong with attacks on gay people”. President Putin explained in a BBC interview that everybody “can feel free” in their relationships, that Russia only banned the promotion of “homosexuality and paedophilia amongst minors”. He pointed up, “We don’t have a ban on non-traditional sexual relations. We have a ban on promoting homosexuality and paedophilia among minors. You can feel free in your relationships, but leave children in peace”. That seems like pretty sound advice for children, who’ll have plenty of time later in life to consider such issues.
Despite the West’s best efforts to portray Russia as the perennial villain on the global stage, it actually remains one of the last bastions of family-oriented values in a world that is being swept away by a tidal wave of godless liberalism. Indeed, the Sochi Olympic Games, judging by its opening and closing ceremonies, was exceptional for the quality of the presentation, much of it aimed at the promotion of families and children. By comparison, such a concept has become totally foreign at many American events, including the 2014 Grammy Awards, which left many critics wondering if the event actually promoted Satanism. Yet the Western media latched on to Russia’s supposed “gay ban”, turning it into an anti-Russian hammer to bash the Games.
So, what was the real reason behind this assault on Sochi? Putin said that such efforts were part of an ongoing attempt to hinder positive developments inside of Russia. He told members of the Public Council for the Preparation of the 2014 Winter Olympics, “Whenever Russia demonstrates any positive development, the appearance of a new strong player, of competition, is bound to cause concern in the economy, in politics, and in the security sphere. We see attempts to deter Russia here and there. Unfortunately, this had to do with the Olympic project” as well.
Fortunately, in a sign that not everybody in the Western media writes about Russia with blinders on, there was this rare gem courtesy of Esquire magazine, “These Olympics were supposed to be many things. They were supposed to be a giant soft target for terrorists. They were supposed to be an anti-gay goosestep. They were supposed to be shoddy, unfinished, poor, and corrupt, with zero customer service, and rabid dogs chewing on baby arms. They aren’t… they’re fun, and they’re beautiful”. The Sochi Games would prove to be just the first episode of disastrous reporting on Russia in a very tumultuous year.
MH17 Malaysia Airlines Crash Over the Ukraine
Not only was the 17 July crash of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 a tragedy of human dimensions, it was also a tragedy of epic proportions as far as journalism is concerned. One day after the Malaysia-bound aircraft went down over eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 passengers and crew, Western media was already convinced it knew the identity of the perpetrator. Yet, every aircraft catastrophe requires painstaking investigation before you can make any conclusions. You must find and examine the black box, you must collect and fit together the pieces of the aircraft to understand how and what damaged the aircraft, you must hear witness testimony, and you must review satellite imagery. However, in the case of Malaysia Airlines MH17, which we should’ve allocated even more scrutiny given that it went down in a war zone, none of these details seemed to be of consequence for the Western media. Instead, like cheap propagandists, the Western mainstream media committed the cardinal sin of pointing the finger of blame without performing a single thread of investigative research.
Rupert Murdoch’s tabloid The Sun, with over 2 million readers, screamed in large-font print from its front page, “Putin’s missile”, whilst the UK’s most popular tabloid, The Daily Mail, said that America warned there’d be “hell to pay” if Russia (i.e. Putin) was involved in the downing of the aircraft. In the best-case scenarios, Russia remained conspicuously between the lines in the sloppily-crafted narrative. Once again, they glaringly overlooked a little ingredient known as basic facts simply because the subject at hand was Russia. Usually, such an oversight does nothing more bothersome than elicit a few chuckles at Russia’s expense. This time, however, the stakes were far greater, happening as it did in the middle of a Ukrainian civil war, the outcome of which had no small bearing on international relations and the geopolitical chessboard… which, we should add, has nuclear weapons all over it.
There were numerous questions posed by the Russian side that the Western media blatantly ignored media, including:
- Why did the MH17 plane leave the international corridor?
- Why did Kiev deploy Buk missile systems on the edge of Novorossiyan-controlled zones directly before the tragedy (especially considering the patriots have no planes)?
- What was a Ukrainian fighter jet, detected by Russian radar, doing on the route intended for civilian flights?
- Why haven’t European investigators released transcripts from the black box, or provided the public with a full report on the crash?
Not only is Russia asking these questions, but also Malaysia, which they actually excluded from the criminal investigation team. Was that because it was prepared to view the details of the crash with an objective open mind, not obsessed with blaming Russia? Dr Mohamed Harridon, associate professor in research and aviation at Kuala Lumpur University, told RT, “When the crash happened, we didn’t blame any parties, neither Russia nor the Ukraine, as we’d like to take a look at the concrete evidence. Unlike our western counterparts, [Malaysia] took neutral role, not pointing fingers at Russia”. This could be the reason for Malaysia’s exclusion from the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) permitted to apportion blame. Once again, a media that isn’t remotely interested in engaging in any sort of investigative journalism led the Western astray… even when the stakes involve nothing less than global security. Instead, as the pathetic reporting of Sochi underscored, the Western media would rather throw out misleading stories on Russia in order to achieve some kind of warped agenda.
Finally, as far as American-Russian relations go, the only time in recent history that Washington actually levelled with Moscow and told the truth was due to a wrongly-translated word that turned out to be surprisingly accurate judging by the “overloaded” realities. In March 2009, during the early moments of the Obama administration, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton presented Foreign Minister S V Lavrov a symbolic “reset” button, which the two diplomats jokingly pressed for the photographers, signalling their intention of renewing bilateral relations between their respective countries. However, the State Department, as Lavrov himself explained, wrongly fixed on the button the Russian word for “overload” instead of “reset”, thereby providing Moscow… albeit thanks to a technical glitch… a much clearer picture of Washington and the West’s true intentions regarding its relationship with Russia than anything else to date.