When Russian tanks rolled into Ukraine, most spoke of the engagement as the largest of its kind since World War Two. But the battle for Ukraine has been anything but an old World War. This war is taking the manipulation of information to a whole new level. Scott Thuman has our report.
The following is a transcript of a report from "Full Measure with Sharyl Attkisson." Watch the video by clicking the link at the end of the page.
When Russian airstrikes took out an iconic television tower in Kyiv, it wasn’t exactly the first blow in the information war, both sides have weaponized emotions and information.
For example, the viral social media clip of defiant Ukrainian troops on an island after they were ordered to lay down their weapons by a Russian warship replying:
Ukrainian soldier: “Go f*** yourself"
Their quickly reported deaths made them instant heroes; the fact they survived and were prisoners, did little to lessen the impact.
With Moscow's armies invading his country, Ukrainian president Zelensky is everywhere in military green, the former comedian and actor portrayed as the leader the world wants to see.
Sinan Aral: President Zelensky has been incredibly effective at propagating his narrative using video selfies, using telegram, and so on.
Dr. Sinan Aral is an MIT professor who studies information wars and says Ukraine is running circles around Putin's propagandists.
Aral: The reason the information war is important as part of the story is because it's motivating action in three places. In Ukraine, it is essentially motivating people to stand and fight, it's providing social proof to them that they're not alone and that others are fighting as well and that they're unified.
Generating millions of clicks, citizen-generated media coming out of Ukraine showing brutality on one hand, relatable, tender moments on the other.
With a global crackdown on its social channels, the Russian government is losing the ability to push its message.
Aral: The platforms are more prepared. so the policies of Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and so on are much more prepared and proactive than they have been in the past.
Still, for all Ukraine's success in the information war, it may not be enough.
Scott: When it comes to both the information war and the actual war, can you lose one and still win the other?
Aral: I think that Ukraine could win the information war and lose the actual war.
Sharyl (on camera): And so what's happening with the traditional media that's seen in Russia by ordinary people? https://fullmeasure.news/news/terrorism-security/ukraine-media-wars
Scott (on camera): Well, there's been a big Kremlin crackdown. Two of the last independent broadcasters, one radio, and one TV have been shut down in the last week. Meanwhile, Moscow's own international TV network - RT - has been banned across Europe and they've laid off their staff here in America. For perspective, one Nobel Prize-winning Russian journalist said Putin is shutting down everything that isn't propaganda.
Thomas Donlon says
The failure of the American media to value honesty is not helpful in understanding the conflict.
Few people understand the situation and therefore few can defuse the situation.
Stephen Triesch says
"Ukraine is running circles around Putin's propagandists"
That's largely because the Ukraine's propaganda is being disseminated and expanded by the international media; Putin's isn't. I don't remember our media supporting ANY of America's wars with any of the fervor of this one. Conversely, I don't remember stories of the civilian suffering caused by our unprovoked wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo, or Libya. An estimated 220,000 civilians died in the second Iraq war, and I don't remember reading much about their suffering.
Thomas Donlon says
If it is OK for me to put in a link, I will do so.
Adam was arguing that we "need to fight Russia over there, so we do not need to fight them over here." That means he was backing the war in the Donbass and opposing the Minkst(sp?) accord. Senator Lindsay was also telling war making people in Ukraine that the US was supporting them. Telling them we are going on the "offense" in 2017.
However the US media is spreading the narrative that Putin is the one going on the offense and must be stopped. The US Senate (or some of them anyways) have already declared war on Russia.
In the Bible, the apostle Paul was a prisoner on a ship and the ship was breaking apart and about to get slammed to pieces on the land. Paul ( a rather smart guy) recognized that the sailors were concocting a charade wherein all the sailors were going to get into the lifeboats ostensibly to run some anchors. Really they wanted to take the boats to shore in the storm. Paul just said to the soldiers, "Unless these men stay with the ship, you can not be saved." And then the sailors cut the lifeboats away and the sailors stayed and did their job and everyone managed to get safely to shore.
The one way to solve this Ukraine crisis is to make powerful people aware that they and all they love in this country (USA) will be wrecked, if those controlling the narrative are allowed to keep pushing war fever and the demonization of Russia.
I am loathe to do go through the Jimmy Dore program and start listing the experts and what they said. But as Jimmy pointed out in his 30 minute segment, a huge number of the very best diplomats and strategic thinkers in this country have seen this situation developing. For those that watch the link, the first two minutes are very powerful. Then it gets sidetracked a bit for 3 or 4 minutes and then much of the remainder of the video link will blow most people's minds and they will wonder how they were so gullible to have believed so many lies from the mainstream media.
Oh and one last thing about the media narrative. There are a billion people in China. Reporting there is mandated by the state to take the Russian viewpoint. So the war the US is drifting into won't only be with Russia. The Chinese see it also as a result of US and NATO expansion.
Perhaps from the US government perspective the collapse of the US dollar can be thought of as a necessary hardship the US will be undertaking as a result of our defense of the poor helpless Ukrainians. I don't suppose that most in government will want the collapse of the US dollar to be tied to spending 25 cents for every 15 cents or so collected in tax revenue. The national debt is so bad, few people are going to want to hold US dollars. But if the collapse of the dollar is thought of as a suffering we go through for a noble international cause, there will be less anger at public officials for bringing about the destruction of the dollar.
It is hard to know what aspects of the narratives being fed to the public are planned. Perhaps some in government see the US people as an angry bull, and they wave a big blanket to get the American people to focus on that, rather than real problems. Up to a couple years ago, few people would have cited what is going on Ukraine as a great national concern for US citizens. But, as the experts in the Jimmy Dore video compilation show, Ukraine has always been of utmost importance to Russia.
I think I even saw a video clip recently where Tulsi was a guest on Tucker Carlson and they seemed to feel the whole Ukraine fiasco was somehow a provocation by the US government. The outcome of the Ukraine situation was truly known by so many experts for perhaps even a generation or longer ago. Nothing could be simpler. Yet so many in the media act or pretend to be dumber than a rock. "What does Putin want?" I see the entire episode with Ukraine as US provocation and I think the facts strongly bear me out.
There was an episode in the Bible where two generals one named Joab and the other named Abner decided to count out 12 men from each army and have them fight each other. They did, and because they were all skilled and trained the same way, they each grabbed the beard of their opponent and struck each other down so that all 12 died. We in the US might think we have "mutually assured destruction." However, one side has places to go throughout the whole country to ride out the effects of nuclear fallout for the several weeks that radiation is at a deadly level. They have trained for this for decades. It will be terribly inconvenient for Russia to be involved in a nuclear war. But, the US is already pushing Russia into terrible inconvenience and economic hardship. They may or may not fear the effects of a "nuclear winter." Given some warming climate trends, maybe it could end up being appealing if a terrible heat wave hits. In any case your average Russian knows much more about what the US has been doing militarily and covert action wise than your average American knows.
One of last times I heard mainstream news it was sponsored by a defense company. Then we hear from experts from "think-tanks" who collect money from defense companies. Two of my more peaceful oriented friends have sent me a link to Jordan Peterson (sp?) interviewing a military expert about Putin. The guy is employed by an institution whose most prominent and advertised board member is none other than Dick Cheney. The guy then concluded his talk with arguing that we need to really spend much more money of defense. The media get substantial money from defense companies. Politicians also do. The think-tanks also do. And so we get this reinforced narrative from the media, the think-tanks, and government all saying the same thing. Like it says in the old testament, "By two or three witnesses let every word be established." But unfortunately they are all driven by money. "A man will do wrong for a piece of bread" it says in the Bible. And a "gift blinds the eyes of the righteous."
Maybe if other rich corporations and corporate leaders get wind of what is going on ... and if they have the brains to see what is happening... and if they have some courage.... and if they realize that a nuclear shootout with Russia isn't actually a fair fight ... they have on figurative "bullet-proof vests" meaning they have shelters stocked and supplied with survival supplies. In the Jimmy Dore video the late Stephen F. Cohen author of WAR WITH RUSSIA? can be seen saying "Putin will not back down" over Ukraine. This again was known for decades or a whole generation or two and our media still won't report the truth. "Brain cancer" is that I'm hearing? That is the best they come up?
"Cold, calculating" "cold-blooded" they used to call Putin and now they assert Putin is somehow becoming unhinged or emotional. Ok which is it?
Those who want to promote the "brain cancer" or such health problem to explain Putin's behavior ... people can listen to such nonsense if they want ... but that explanation is not going to stop an escalating non-conventional conflict, which Russia may have some sort of parity with the US.
Also keep in mind the insanity of this escalation gives Putin some incentive to strike first.
Please everyone take 30 minutes to listen to what Jimmy Dore compiled.
Bill Andrews says
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