More on the media and Ukraine
On truth and betrayal
Today I provide a supplement to my regular twice-weekly commentaries of Tuesday and Friday to follow up on my February 25 commentary, “Russia, Ukraine, and the media,” and my March 1 commentary, “Cuba backs Russia on Ukraine.” In today’s commentary, I write of the continuing support of the media of Russia, Venezuela, and Cuba for the Russian military operation in Ukraine, as a necessary defensive action in response to NATO expansionism and aggression.
In the Russian Spanish-language news outlet Russia Today, the Venezuela state network Telesur, the Cuban television station Cubavision, and the Cuban daily Granma, seven claims were made on March 4. These seven claims are key points that contradict the narrative of the Western mainstream media.
(1) There has been sustained violence against the Russian-speaking population of Donbass since 2014, carried out by the government of Ukraine and nationalist armed groups, also known as neofascist groups. Some 13,000 people have been killed in the last eight years.
(2) In the current military conflict, the government of Ukraine has been bombing the civilian population of Donbass. The mainstream media pay no attention to what is happening in Donbass.
(3) In 2014, there was a coup d’état by neofascist elements against a government that had been democratically elected in 2010. In the divide among the people between those who are pro-Western and those who are pro-Russian, the democratically elected president, Viktor Yanukovych, was among the pro-Russians, but he nonetheless was interested in the entrance of Ukraine in the European Union. When the negotiations were going toward terms economically unfavorable to Ukraine, the president suspended the negotiations, which led to peaceful protests. Western financed NGOs sent agents to sustain the demonstrations and convert them into violent attacks on police and government properties, which created the conditions for the parliament to remove Yanukovych and install a government favorable to U.S. interests. This is what “color revolutions” do. They convert peaceful demonstrations, which may reflect legitimate concerns of the people expressed in a lawful manner, into violent confrontations, establishing the conditions for determined interests to seize power. This has been successfully carried in other nations. It was attempted in Cuba in July, but it fizzled, because of the high level of political consciousness and customs of political participation of the people, forged since 1959 by the Cuban Revolution.
(4) The government of Russia has accused Ukrainian nationalists of setting fire to an auxiliary building of a nuclear power plant. High security officials of the U.S. government have stated that they have no evidence of involvement by Russia, as some Western media have claimed. The Russian military has taken control of the nuclear power plant in order to prevent further sabotage by nationalists. The power plant continues functioning normally, and it is providing electricity to Europe.
(5) The Western media have disseminated the lie that Ukraine is the victim of Russian aggression. The truth is that the Ukrainian government has attacked the Russian population in Donbass for 12 years, and this is one for the reasons for the Russian military operation.
(6) The major media construct reality, rather than report on what is happening in reality. They repeat and repeat false claims until they become truth. They construct both facts and values. This media construction is a new form of cultural colonialism, which can be called Colonialism 2.0. The construction of reality is carried out both by the mainstream media and social media, which should be called “anti-social digital media.”
(7) The Western media completely overlooks fascism in its narrative on Ukraine. Fascism, and violent confrontation between fascism and communism, has a long history in Ukraine and in Europe. The Ukrainian civil war that began in 1944 and continued in the 1950s, was essentially a conflict between fascism and communism. Fascism declined during the period of European economic ascent in the world-economy, but it has reemerged recently in response to the abandonment of the needs of the people by neoliberal governments, and to the phenomenon of uncontrolled migration, stimulated by the implementation of neoliberalism globally and by imperialist wars. In the case of Ukraine, renewed fascism expresses itself in the form of hostility toward Russian people and culture. The Western powers have allied with Ukrainian neofascist nationalist to attain their interests with respect Ukraine and Russia.
The New York Times: Advocate of war; promoter of racial division
I have long respected The New York Times as an objective source of national and international news. I understood, of course, that The New York Times wrote from a Western perspective, and accordingly, it did not see neocolonialism; it thus could not understand the logic and necessity of anti-imperialist movements throughout the world. However, within the limitations of that framework, it could be relied upon to report reliably on basic facts and express reasonable opinions on the basis of those facts.
However, in recent years, I have observed that The New York Times selects from available data in a form that constitutes distortion. This has been true with respect to its reporting and analysis on China and Russia, through which it prepares the ideological ground for a new Cold War with the giants of the East. And it has been true with respect to the historically difficult issue of race, concerning which it writes without accuracy and with the consequence of stoking racial division.
The distorting and ideologically driven journalism of today’s New York Times has its logic. In the 1960s, the U.S. political establishment and corporate class had an interest in peaceful coexistence with the Soviet Union and in a transformation of racial laws and customs in the United States, because it controlled a good part of the planet in a neocolonial system that depended upon indirect forms of control and coercion that could be presented with a democratic façade. In this global reality, neither extreme conservatism nor Jim Crow were what the situation required.
But during the 1970s, the world-system entered a sustained structural crisis, which constituted a serious threat to the imperialist, neocolonial world order. In this context, the corporate class and political establishment, which may not have understood the root causes of the crisis, made the collective decision to aggressively maximize profits within existing neocolonial structures, rather than investing in new and more sustainable forms of production and commerce in a more cooperative world order that broke with neocolonial structures.
This turn to placing profit above people required cold war with the East and racial division at home. Because, in the first place, in the competition for declining profits within established structures, the USA had an interest in growing the market for all things military, because arms are its strongest and most competitive industry. And because, in the second place, the maximization of profits required a turn to financial speculation, instead of state investments in such areas as health, education, and social services. This meant that the needs of the people would be increasingly unattended, which would require stoking division, inasmuch as the most important weapon of the people is their unity in resistance.
The people were beginning to understand this in 2008, when during the financial crisis, the people expressed the concept of the 99%, a dangerous notion for the 1%. For the next fifteen years, the major institutions of the nation embraced ahistorical and unscientific concepts of race that functioned to divide the people, reversing a half a century of slowly but surely improving racial relations.
The New York Times, therefore, along with the rest of the mainstream media, have betrayed the people and the nation, as individual journalists have been more inclined to forge successful careers, rather than challenge the prevailing orientation of the corporate elite and the political establishment. The situation requires the emergence of effective leaders among the people, capable of learning from the more advanced people’s revolutions of the Third World plus China, and of communicating to the peoples of the United States the necessary road in defense of themselves.
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