Antidote to Putin-Bashing
Hearty thanks to Stephen F. Cohen for a long-overdue counterbalance to the media’s endless Putin-bashing: “Media Malpractice?: Distorting Russia” [March 3]. I don’t recall NBC or the other networks being this hypercritical about China and the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.
In “Media Malpractice?” Stephen F. Cohen seems to practice his own brand of “one country” propaganda. I wonder what Anna Politkovskaya, or any of the fifty-six other Russian journalists who have been murdered for their reportage, would think of Cohen’s assertions?
Stephen F. Cohen accuses the press generally, The New York Times and even The New York Review of Books of “media malpractice,” i.e., Cold War attitudes. This is a challenge that demands a useful response. What should be done about it? I suggest a symposium with the widest range of views, not excluding Russian and Ukrainian ones. Aside from the value of hashing out the issues, it could bring the issues to a wider public. (It could even result in better policy.)
Thank you for this thorough, informed, well-written article about the media’s treatment of Russia and President Vladimir Putin. I could not agree more with Mr. Cohen. He is correct about the EU’s mistakes. The German weekly Die Zeit introduced me to the Ukrainian writer Serhij Zhadan. He explains the division in his country well. Cohen’s contribution is another example of the importance of The Nation. Keep up the good work.
Stephen F. Cohen has adroitly pulled back the curtain that exposes the US media’s misrepresentation of Putin, Sochi and Ukraine. Russia, according to the popular media, is the place where the Cold War arrived first, where it never ended and never left. Russia, like Cuba, is a country suspended in time, one that exists off modernity’s grid. It’s a place where the heirloom of paranoia is taken down and polished daily by the US media and politicians.
An example is an editorial diatribe by NBC’s Bob Costas in Sochi, reminding viewers of Putin’s many undemocratic goings-on in Russia. Of course, if a sports announcer during the Atlanta or Lake Placid Games reminded viewers of the US support of repressive dictatorships throughout the world, he would be looking for a new job in the morning.