Forgetting To Remember: News Coverage of the Russo-Ukrainian War

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WATCHING THE NEWS coverage of the Russo-Ukrainian War is a struggle. The entire Western news media, our own included, have hurled themselves into the fray on the side of “the brave Ukrainians”. There is nothing in the news coverage that encourages us to contrast and compare the events we are witnessing now, with remarkably similar events a great many of us have witnessed in the recent past. There’s nothing that encourages detachment, reflection or the exercise of sober judgement. As the war unfolds, our news bulletins have come to resemble George Orwell’s “Five Minute Hate” from Nineteen Eighty-Four.

The thing to bear in mind as you watch the news coverage is that it is the product of a whole team of journalists and technicians. They are the people who decide what is shown and how it is edited. They are the people who write the autocue script for the news anchor/s to read in front of the cameras.

What you are watching is a carefully constructed narrative which, in its essentials, does not change from broadcast to broadcast. We are supplied with a cast of heroes and villains to cheer on and condemn. An occasional nod in the direction of fairness and balance may be inserted, but any serious challenge to the narrative will be contradicted more or less immediately. Nothing is permitted to blunt the emotional impact of the coverage. The journalism to which we are nightly subjected is not intended to supply information, it is intended to be affective – that is to say it is aimed almost exclusively at arousing our feelings.

Pause here and think about that for a minute or two. At war with Ukraine is a nation in possession of more nuclear devices than any other nation on the planet. With each passing day the Western news media’s portrayal of the President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin, grows increasingly lurid. He has become a devil-like caricature: someone who is clearly either mad or bad – probably both.

The people responsible for our nightly news bulletins do nothing to dispel this characterisation, indeed, they reinforce it. No one anywhere appears to have asked themselves: “Is it wise to go on demonising Vladimir Putin? Is it prudent to promote the imposition of an ever-increasing number of crippling sanctions upon Putin, his supporters and his people? If he truly is as mad and bad as the Western media is suggesting, might such tactics not cause him to lash out with his nuclear weapons?

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Take, for example, the massacre of civilians at Bucha. Right across the West, Putin is being branded a war criminal, and calls are growing for him to be put on trial in the manner of Goering and Hess at the end of World War II.

Except that nobody knows what happened in Bucha – apart from the fact that many civilians lost their lives. There has been no independent investigation; no collection of evidence and eye-witness testimony, no patient piecing together of a timeline. The forensic work simply hasn’t been done.

The world simply does not know if the killings were the result of a deliberate policy, formulated by Russian commanders, at the behest of Putin; or, whether they were the awful consequence of terrified and panicky conscript soldiers who had seen dozens of their comrades killed and wounded as their armoured column was blown to pieces by the Ukrainian armed forces – fellow Slavs who, they’d been assured, were their friends and compatriots.

Inasmuch as he ordered the invasion of Ukraine, Putin is culpable. Without his order, the terrible events of the past few weeks would not have happened. In that sense, the Russian President does indeed have blood on his hands. But to hold him guilty of a war crime: without evidence, without witnesses, without a trial; isn’t that asking for trouble?

What incentive is the West giving Putin to negotiate a peace settlement? What is it doing to reduce the chances of the Russian Bear, backed into a corner, from lashing out with his thermos-nuclear claws?

Moreover, as John Minto so rightly points out in his latest post, if Putin is a war criminal, then so are the men who launched the illegal invasion of Iraq in 2003. As anyone who has watched the disgusting video, released to the world by Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange, of the crew of an American Apache attack-helicopter opening fire on a group of unarmed Iraqi civilians and journalists in Baghdad, on July 12, 2007, surely understands, there are no “goody” countries and “baddy” countries. The United States is no less guilty than the Russian Federation of plotting and waging “aggressive war” on a fellow member of the United Nations.

But, as John writes:

“There were no sanctions against the US, UK and Australia, there were no US soldiers, military leaders or politicians held to account. There were no arms sent to help the Iraqis facing overwhelming odds in their fight against the US and its allies. There were no moves to charge George Bush (US President), Tony Blair (UK Prime Minister) or John Howard (Australian Prime Minister) for war crimes before the International Criminal Court.” [In fact, the USA refuses to accept the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court! – C.T.]

As our nightly news bulletins are put together over the course of the day there is scant evidence that anybody on the “team” is raising these sorts of objections, or demanding at least some effort be made to place what is happening in Ukraine in its historical context. While it is true that many younger journalists would only have been children in 2003, that is certainly not true of their senior colleagues. As experienced journalists they should all have vivid memories of the Iraq War and its many crimes.

What that means is that, in putting together their coverage of the Russo-Ukrainian War, New Zealand broadcasters and publishers are either unconsciously, or deliberately, suppressing all recollection of the events that have shaped the last thirty years.

One almost hopes they are doing so deliberately: that, at least, would suggest they believe in something – no matter how bereft it might be of historical understanding and/or moral purpose. The alternative explanation: that the past has simply dropped out of their day-to-day consciousness, and that they receive the Ukraine “story” ready-made from “sources” they see no need to interrogate or challenge; is much, much scarier.

It was the Czech novelist, Milan Kundera, who said it best:

“The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting”

81 COMMENTS

  1. If Russia is so adamant that they did not carry out the atrocities against the civilian population, surely they would welcome a UN investigation. Why stonewall?

    Maybe the UN could call on Helen Clark to head up the investigative team. She has the credence and management experience.

    It took Russia 47 years to admit liability for the murder of 22,000 Polish officers in Katyn Forest. Germans were smartly on the job and got the Red Cross involved to verify their blamelessness in the massacre.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Katyn_massacre

    Ukraine needs to do the same but Russia has veto power at the security council and their ambassador went o great length to stymie an investigation and to lay the blame squarely on Ukrainian militia.

    This is not going to look good either way. Russia absolute have to let the UN investigate to clear their own name. Stonewalling will simple build the perception they have atrocities to hide.

    • I haven’t time right now to look back to links but Russia has demanded a UN investigation which has been denied by the UK who are chairing the relevant section at the moment.
      Russia sought an emergency hearing and investigation to be convened last Sunday.
      D J S

      • Gerrit seems to have it arse about face a is spouting fake crap about who obstructed and objected to a independent forensic investigation in Bucha ….

        Whose control was the crime scene and bodies under Gerrit ???

        How come you misappropriated Britians obstruction at the UN onto Russia Gerrit ??? ,,,

        War pig ignorance ???? Garbage in garbage out ?
        Disgusting Slav’s?? ,,,

        ,,,,,Or Blair faced liar where the butchers roles are reversed ,,,, in reality.

        ” as soon as the “the Ukies are kicking the Russkies’ ass” narrative becomes unsustainable, which it now has, it will be changed to “Russian atrocities”.

        Next, I fully expect NATO weapon convoys to be camouflaged as civilian and when the Russians begin striking them, there will be even MORE cries about “atrocities”. To be clear, I do NOT believe that NATO is sending weapons to the Ukraine to make a military difference, and I believe that the NATO leaders know that.”

        “The Empire of Lies already understands that it lost Banderastan*, so it executed the Bucha massacre to change the narrative and trigger a TOTAL “Cancel Russia” war.

        *Mariupol and the international Azov supremacists

    • @gerrit.
      “Maybe the UN could call on Helen Clark”
      Maybe they could. But she’d come with a toad in tow.
      Dob in your neighbour shipely, the liar, crook and traitor snuggling up to a bully.
      https://www.nowtolove.co.nz/lifestyle/career/dame-jenny-shipley-and-helen-clark-we-have-always-shared-more-solidarity-than-people-thought-38814
      “She has the credence and management experience.”
      She, and I use the term ‘she’ advisedly is a dull neoliberal fart looking for a pocket full of money to bully.
      “credence; plural noun: credences
      1. belief in or acceptance of something as true.
      What? Like 38 years of neoliberalism has torn our AO/NZ to shreds ?
      “management experience”
      What? Like managing us for 38 years while her pet rat douglas and his neoliberalism ate us alive and still does to this day.
      Yep. Her old slapped-arse face and bug eyed, sheep-shearer dialect will go down a treat at the UN alright.

    • ask the un why they don’t want an independent investigation….fighting in an urban area causes civilian casualties…though the corpses with bound hands do definitely warrant investigation if only the exclude ukrainian forces shooting russian ‘subversives’

      and the uk still hasn’t admitted to the amritsar massacre.

    • The UK has vetoed Russia raising the issue in the UN.
      The Ukrainians refused to let independent pathologists (etc) in to do their investigation.
      The appropraite UN guy was in Ukerain and RUFUSED to go.
      It was TWO days after the Ruyssian left that these bodies started to appear. For two days when the Ukeraine authorities were taking back the city, they did NOT find bodies, then suddenly they appear in broad daylight. i.e. HOW could they NOT have seen them on day one?
      NO ONE knows what truly happened. But best unbiased guess is retrobution by Ukeraine on citizens that were ‘too helpful’ to the Russians.

    • Gerrit It is surprising that someone who purports to understand information well and quotes it as you have, to be coming out with a naive statement as this:
      It took Russia 47 years to admit liability for the murder of 22,000 Polish officers in Katyn Forest. Germans were smartly on the job and got the Red Cross involved to verify their blamelessness in the massacre.

      Of course the Germans would deny and name the culprit if known.. They are not going to have a whiff of some other country’s crimes dumped on them: they have enough of their own, thank you very much! And the Russians and Germans committed atrocities against each other. It is a matter of shame on the human race that we do not control ourselves better. We push men usually, off to war and force them to violence that would be a crime in their ordinay lives. Their countries force them to be criminals and some, too close to the horrid reality, never recover their old selves. The men who fight as mercenaries are more culpable.

      • and any kiwi thinking of becoming a mercenary should understand and our govt should reinforce exactly how the russians view foreign terrorists, I don’t wanna see..
        aspiring kiwi rugby hopeful and DJ with 2 kids one of whom is disabled sentenced to 30yrs in perm36 we must get him home now….
        cos I will give zero fucks.

    • “surely they would welcome a UN investigation. Why stonewall?” Do you ever stop to think before committing such palpable rubbish to print? I’ve been saying for months now, that it is “our side” that is maneuvering itself into a position to start the Third world wat, not the Russians.. They are doing what they consider necessary to defend their continued viability as a nation, and society.. The Americans are responsible for the vast majority of the terrorist groups around the world having the equipment, and publicity to become a serious force.. They financed the coup in 2015 in Ukraine that delivered a puppet government.. They are currently doing the same thing in Kazakhstan.. Seriously, just how fuckin’ outrageous does it have to get before it becomes too obvious for even the “intellectuals” screaming for all out wat on Russia slink back into their caves? When we emerge from our shelters to purvey the smoking ruin we are responsible for creating.. The stupidity of people in my own country, and the so called “enlightened west” just tires me out.. It breaks my heart to think that those who have forgotten their own history so quickly are so gleefully ensuring my grandchildren will be living in the aftermath of the most unnecessary, and pointless mass slaughter in history.. That is, if they are going to be alive to see it… Idiots!!

  2. The USA has well and truly outed itself over the Ukraine.
    I hope the whole World will more than notice that the USA is not a force for good as it has always pretended to be. Their strongest asset has been their thorough propaganda and outright lying.

      • actually most countries don’t give a flying fuck…it’s ukraine vs russia…with nato acting as seedy voyeurs wanking as they watch.

        • Hear hear. Most of the worlds population (Govts) did NOT vote for Russian sanctions at the UN.
          This is CRUEL geopolitics, no worse than what the USA and Europe (to lesser of an extend) has been doing for many decades.
          Ukeraine is cruelly being used as a proxy war for USA/Europes needs to control Russia.
          It’s just the media is ‘pulling your strings’ to take you mind of the Covid fiasco.

    • Ru$$ia and the U$A have one thing in common. They’re the same-same thing just slightly different.

      • Well I’m interested in what they do with their central bank after they had their foreign reserves frozen, you might as well say stolen .Nothing like that kind of outright theft to change your ideas on monetary management and banking

  3. A summary in the Jerusalem Post of an astonishing essay it says was published by Russian state news media. Its writer essentially states that most Ukrainians are Nazis, and must be punished. If this thinking is common among Russian troops, it may be the ideological basis for the reported atrocities against the people of Bucha.
    https://m.jpost.com/international/article-703184

    Here is the purported Novosti essay in full:
    https://medium.com/@kravchenko_mm/what-should-russia-do-with-ukraine-translation-of-a-propaganda-article-by-a-russian-journalist-a3e92e3cb64

    • or they maybe dead russian speakers executed by their ukrainian liberators…not saying that is so, just WE DON’T KNOW

      • Several sources (or commentaries) allude to the possibility that some of the dead in Bucha are victims of Ukrainian reprisals against those less than loyal to the cause. Also, not mentioned much, is the fact that the Ukrainian government and various armchair generals in the West have positively encouraged Ukrainian citizens (civilians) to take up arms against the invaders – Molotov cocktails and all. Under international law as well, if the Ukrainian armed forces want to defend civilian areas and use them as military strongpoints it is their responsibility to protect/remove civilians. Whatever happened is truly ghastly but not unexpected (c.f Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria etc., just in modern times).

  4. Gerrit, did you note Russia called for a full UN investigation of the massacre. UK as chair of the relevant body vetoed this. Why?

  5. Yes, though it’s just the latest example of how grossly and uncritically tendentious our MSM is.

    There’s some interesting historical background on the present Ukraine conflict on “The Rest is History” podcast site, by a pair of very learned and very entertaining historians, Tom Holland and Dominic Sandbrook:
    https://play.acast.com/s/the-rest-is-history-podcast

  6. I agree with the essence of what CT is saying 100%

    The hypocrisy of the west when it comes to Ukraine is brazen. Everything evil or illegal the west a claiming Russia has done the west has done themselves with little or no consequences.

    The way international business and sporting organisations have boycotted or sanctioned Russia (seemingly in unison) is something we have never seen used against the West when the west have committed some terrible war crimes in foreign countries.

    The MSM is no longer giving us news reports from investigative journalists imploring us to examine all sides of a story and instead we are being drowned in a relentless sea of anti russian/pro ukraine propaganda. We are not being encouraged to think we are simply being fed a narrative and told to swallow without questioning or else be considered an ally of Putin.

    We have a PM in Ardern that talks of Ukraine being some unique war for her generation as if all the other conflicts brought about by the west in the last 30 or so years never happened.

    I cannot believe how low we have sunk

  7. Pathetic article . Russian guilt is assumed and left unsaid is the possibility of Ukrainian false flag despite publicly available evidence against Russian involvement i.e is Bucha mayor tweeting about Russian withdrawal 3 ? 4? days previously . So we’re expected to believe these corpses left on the street were undiscovered for all that time ?
    And speaking of historical memory have you forgotten the events that led to this war , such things as the western sponsored coup , the Mariupol massacre , the bombing of Luhansk market place , the Odessa massacre which ridiculously was reported by MSM as as the victims setting themselves on fire despite the perpetrators filming themselves and uploading to facebook , videos of smiling girls making molotovs which they gave to their menfolk to burn people alive? People jumping out of windows to escape the fire being shot and beaten to death by cheering hordes below? Forget that did you ?
    The people of Donbass , luhansk enduring 8 years of what the Ukrainians have experienced for a month and a bit ?
    So as you call for justice against Putin maybe you should also remember and condemn actual atrocities which have been memory holed by us the west .

  8. Thank you Chris for remembering one of the key tenets of our freedom as individuals, innocence before guilt, requiring evidence.

    By reporting to affect reality and facts become secondary considerations in our media. Truth however has an uncomfortable way of appearing, often too late and unquestioned by the masses. Hence the tragedy of Assange and Manning.

    In the case of Ukraine I have taken the principle of believing nothing until corroborated, or after a day or two made obvious by later information. The current scenario using that methodology is that Russia is regrouping to crush the Ukrainian forces in the east. The aim will be to leave Ukraine disarmed and incapable of meaningful negotiation. Whether they manage this who knows?

    As you state our media wont report this until an elephant stands in the room demanding peanuts.

  9. The avalanche of anti Russian propaganda appals me, particularly from US sources.
    It’s so bad that reading almost any of it serves no rational purpose.

  10. As much as Chris is trying to provide a balanced analysis of the media coverage I find it hard to cut the Russians and Putin any slack here. I have no doubt that the Ukrainian soldiers have committed atrocities also, in fact there was coverage of an incident where Russian soldiers were kneecapped and killed. Whether Putin ordered the killings in Bucha or it was random insanity from his soldiers may not be proved however missiles directed at apartment blocks, and other residential areas know to be sheltering civilians is plain for all to see. Putin would have given orders for this so in my mind there’s no doubt he is a criminal and a lier. To say his troops don’t kill civilians is a blatant lie not needing proof. Media coverage may be tilted in favour of the Ukrainian people. A small justice when they didn’t threaten Russia, didn’t ask to be invaded, didn’t ask for the insane destruction of their country. Ask the dead Ukrainian journalists whether they believe the media coverage is one sided.

    • Ukraine is right to the tips of its toes in this war. The major problem is Russia has a Sukarno diverting his impoverished people by ‘foreign adventures’ and threatened by near democracies in the old Soviet Union. Dictators … In our European neighbourhood we can’t allow them. And then we will pick off the rest. Which will involve more involvement of the people in governments. So we will respond to our worldwide challenge, unlike now.

      Which goes to the indifference to democracy everywhere in the West previously. This war is reigniting our support for democracy.

  11. Are you not really saying that claims (even if true) should be suppressed because

    1. backing a nation with nuclear weapons into a corner is dangerous
    or
    2. because it reduces the chances of negotiating an end to the violence
    or both?

  12. We are no different than our 5 eye allies. We sent our soldiers to Afghanistan to kill its citizens and made a national hero out of a man who was exceptionally well trained for that task.

    • Here’s an idea, there’s a precedent for it too.
      The Russians can conduct their own inquiry into Bucha
      What could be fairer than that ?
      The Americans , you know , our allies and besties ,did it in Afghanistan
      “A US air strike that destroyed a medical charity’s clinic in northern Afghanistan, killing 42 people, was not a war crime, the Pentagon has said
      No-one will face criminal charges.”

  13. Remind me about the illegal war in Iraq? Was the US, UK, and NATO fabricated a narrative for the media to pump throughout their global news media network?

    1 million innocent civilians were killed. What happened to those war criminals?

    The neoliberal MSM ministry of propaganda and enlightenment is well and truly alive in NZ.

    • The original claim was that 1 million citizens died because of sanctions before the regime change in 2003.

  14. In this video by independent journalist Patrick Lancaster in Mariupol from a couple of days ago (around April 5th 2022) the citizens talk about the number of other citizens killed by Ukrainian sniper fire. Which makes me think that in a place like Bucha it would also be quite possible to find a large number of bodies of civilians killed through snipers, artillery shells etc and re-place them to make it look like a massacre by the Russians – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lRtLFT2sbBg&t=446s

  15. WE ARE AT WAR WITH EURASIA
    WE HAVE ALWAYS BEEN AT WAR WITH EURASIA

    B-B
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    B-B
    B-B
    B-B
    B-B
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    B-B
    B-B

  16. As far as the Bucha “atrocity ” goes, I will be watching to see how independent the investigation is.
    It seems to me, there will always be corpses in a war situation .
    There will be victims of mortar shelling.Indeed, two of the victims can be seen lying near a crater in the road.
    There will be victims of crossfire. Bucha was intensely defended, and shelling from the Ukrainians continued while the Russians occupied.
    Civilians will become combatants if they use firearms to shoot at soldiers.Sorry but this is true.
    Obama showed the way and declared any male between the age of 16 and 60 was a combatant, whether they were carrying arms or not
    thanks Obama, that Nobel Peace prize was well earned
    “It in effect counts all military-age males in a strike zone as combatants, according to several administration officials, unless there is explicit intelligence posthumously proving them innocent,”
    A proper investigation will ascertain:
    how the victim was killed…classic assassination ..back of the head, or by crossfire or shelling
    When the victim was killed and where …to cross check with records of military exchange of fire
    Whether the bodies have been shifted
    The identities of the victims .Ukrainian patriots or Russian sympathisers…meaning did they help distribute Russian humanitarian aid?
    From what I can gather, cell phones were able to be used , there will be indications when the cell phone was last used , social media accounts.
    From what I can see so far, evidence is being gathered (with the aid of the Ukrainians)for purposes of prosecution .Already the scene is set.,
    or maybe as some would have it Russians are uniquely cruel and barbaric, can’t help themselves, its their nature to do such things…
    But I will not believe anything until a decent honest investigation has been done
    Like most here, I’m not holding my breath
    And maybe the Russian soldiers did retaliate to what they had seen of Russian pows being tortured and killed

    • With thefts and sanctions targeting all sectors of Russian life, the Russians will be unified like never before

  17. “The forensic work simply hasn’t been done”? So? And? Does it matter? It’s the era we live in.
    Forensic investigation isn’t needed. What we need is a leader telling us either “This is what happened,” or “Fake News.” Isn’t that how it works? WMD anyone?

    It’s war, it’s young men (largely) in life and death situations. It’s human beings with the foibles of mankind behind them in circumstances we can imagine, but only imagine. And go and put the jug on for another cuppa and say what should have happened, or not.

    Putting what’s happening in Ukraine in its historical context? Maybe average Joe and Josephine aren’t so much interested in what happened in 1888, 1928 and 1988 which led to what is happening. We can see it.

    In 1918 our predecessors relied on just the newspaper to find out what was happening in the war. To be told what was happening in the war. THE newspaper, with what had been filtered to it.

    Regardless of what is happening exactly now there are unlimited images and footage of stuff that has happened. We can see the bombed buildings and streets. We don’t have to be be told there are bodies under rubble. We don’t need propagandised commentaries. Were can see enough to say it shouldn’t be happening.

    Maybe our broadcasters should be giving us history lessons, putting events into context, telling us a sort of family squabble has led to a bit of a to-do.

    Like Afghanistan, the Middle East East and all over the world those there know the history and can’t sort things out, is us knowing what it’s all about going to help things?

    Hell, we can’t even sort our own stuff with the Treaty.

    • depth, background and context with the lightweights who populate the media…don’t hold your breath ..no seriously DO NOT hold your breath.

  18. The Iraq war was wrong, and the media reported on it being wrong constantly. I remember the news coverage of the massive demonstrations held in major capitals worldwide against the war. And there was certainly news coverage questioning the authenticity of the US claims of weapons of mass destruction. But the war in Ukraine is also wrong, and nothing being reported about it currently in western media is inherently incorrect. There is no value in prefacing every news item today by raking over what happened with Iraq. It doesn’t change anything about this current conflict. Ukrainian citizens are dead and they were massacred. Putin launched an illegal war and is ultimately responsible for what his soldiers do. The leaders who have called Putin a war criminal have also in the same breathe said that it should be left up to a court with all the evidnece to convict on these charges.

    I see nothing biased in the western reporting I’ve seen so far. And to say the western media are spinning some sort of narrative to get us emotionally engaged on the Ukrainian side is rubbish. We’re already emotionally right there with them, because we’ve seen a war launched against them on phoney grounds, their cities decimated, and their citizens killed needlesly.

    • Speak for yourself, Brad Cooke. I find your attitude gullible. Even satellite photos can be digitally modified nowadays, and our press have long had the habit of feeding us things that turned out to be lies. Look up the Tonkin Gulf incident if you want an earlier example..

      • or yellow rain
        and red mercury

        the problem with slapdash or lying journalism is you forfeit the automatic right to believed

    • Brad I call BS on that. At last CT has come to his senses after peddling no jab no job for so long how is that one going CT? It is greta to see so many supporting CT’s view and anyone who opposes you can be rest assured is a no jab no jab idiot

    • really brad? seriously….ok just one ‘grey ghost of kiev’ explain why our unbiased media didn’t at least try to verify before lauding the non-existant ‘ace’

      last week the media was touting (along with TDB ‘military experts) the russians as retreating in disarray now the narrative is they are regrouping and resupplying for a major offensive….which is it? I dunno but I do know for shit sure the media will just repeat the press handouts

    • Thank you Brad. I find CTs post unrealistic to have reportage dissected in each and everyway, giving full context. All these comparisons with the travesty of iraq, libya speaks to the hypocracy of the west and its system but is deeply unhelpful and should not be used as an excuse to somehow soften the atrocities occuring daily in Ukraine. Putin and Putinism has repeatedly demonstrated that he has zero regard for the rule of law over many years heading his kleptocracy. Despite all the faults of MSM western media, i’ll say its the lesser of two evils. At least they try to have some semblance of balance reporting versus media in autocracies which almost have no independence. Putin can choose not to invade but invade he did under false pretences and the poor Ukrainians and even some poor Russian soldiers end up paying the ultimate price. I strongly disagree with CT about continously skirting around Putin. I hope NATO calls his bluff and engages immediately. Putin is a thug and will only negotiate if he knows he can be overwhelmed militarily. I hope the Russians revolt when they find out the truth and see him for the monster that he is and that regime change happens from within.

      • so julian you’ll be donning your camo onesie and heading of to the ukraine to help nato will you? thought not..Chairborn Rangers are 2 a penny

  19. When the newspaper s and broadcasters are repeating everything the Ukrainian authorities are saying, without any attempt at verification, I think you can say that the media is very partisan and one sided .
    I am old enough to remember how the media portrayed Libya and the smorgasbord of atrocities, later quietly proved wrong by the UK parliamentary committee on Libya, itself reported on in the most minimal fashion .
    The role of propaganda has never been more striking than in this conflict.

  20. The only New Zealand politician asking questions is David Seymour the rest have jumped onto the main stream wagon of propaganda.

  21. “…. we’ve seen a war launched against them on phoney grounds,…”
    And there we have it in one loose prejudicial statement from you Brad. It is hardly phony to propose red lines that were consistent for seven or more years and to have proposed negotiations scuttled by Ukraine, acting as a proxy for NATO.

  22. Through gritted teeth, so many here offer a token criticism of Russia, before heading off down other rabbit holes.

    I had not thought of CT, such a brilliant essayist, as an appeaser. Disappointing.

    • Oh dear – CT an appeaser? Do you know the meaning of the word Tom?
      Do you not understand what was meant when he specifically stated, “Inasmuch as he ordered the invasion of Ukraine, Putin is culpable. Without his order, the terrible events of the past few weeks would not have happened. In that sense, the Russian President does indeed have blood on his hands.”
      Now what word would you are to describe a person who uncritically accepts only what he gleans from MSM that supports his prejudicial views? You sound like someone who is comfortable in his own little rabbit hole.

    • I’ve heard of ad-hitlerum, this must be ad-chamberlainum. Can you substantively argue against Chris’s essay instead?

      The appeasement argument only stacks up if before Chamberlain went to Munich, the allies had a peer military force along the German-Poland border and were funnelling huge amounts of weaponry into Czechoslovakia to fight the Wehrmacht and ethnic germans, especially in the Sudatenland. While continuing the full punitive force of the Treaty of Versailles.

      Chamberlain had no meaningful way to contain Germany. Any negotiation now with Russia does, which is why it’s strange that US-led policy and media shepherding of public opinion is NOT to allow Putin an off-ramp or face saving retreat. It feels righteous for sure, but what do you think the consequences are of backing the Putin into a corner? Russian elites already regard Ukraine as an existential issue. If they believe all conventional and diplomatic options are gone and they are personally facing loss of power, arrest and political or literal oblivion, what options are they likely to reach for?

      Robert McNamara (Kennedy’s Secretary of Defence during the Cuban Missile crisis) comments on this point. Unfortunately I see too many Curtis LeMays and not enough Tommy Thompsons in the current political class and media establishment.
      https://youtu.be/N0suadZ6AmM?t=156

      • I was brought up with the appeasement argument and it’s valid in a moral sense, BUT and it’s a big BUT, it gave the uk more time to rearm, to build more spits and hurries, the establishment of ‘shadow factories’ and send the most mechanised army of it’s day in the BEF (lost at dunkirk in the event) to france…etc etc etc.
        bad for the czechs undoubtably but a breathing space for the UK,
        bit like how the molotov-ribbentrop pact served the USSR

        • I agree with your point and the (inadvertent?) advantages it gave the UK. As a you say the UK was not prepared for war and I’d add had very fresh memories of the horrors of WW1.

          My gripe is more the casual throwing around of ideas like ‘appeasement’ such as now with Russia. It’s one of those empty slogans, invariably misused, often in concert with an ‘ad Hitlerum’ to justify any action ‘we’ take as righteous. Even a moral imperative with no consideration of downstream consequences.

          • indeed tui going nuclear as a 1st option with language is just stupid

            case – if you call massacre ‘genocide’ what do you say if actual genocide ie-rawanda occurs

            if you call massacre ‘holocaust’ what word do you use if a real holocaust occurs.

            over inflation of language is the work of people who don’t own a dictionary

  23. @Brad, this is not a pro-Putin comment but re your last paragraph, here’s a recap of recent history.
    https://mate.substack.com/p/by-using-ukraine-to-fight-russia

    Ukrainian civilians have been dying in their thousands for years, mostly in Donbas. From UN figures 81% of the civilian casualties since 2018 have occurred on the rebel-held, pro-Russian side. There were also earlier atrocities such as the massacre in Odessa where dozens of pro-Russian protestors were burnt alive.
    Western media only started caring about Ukrainian civilians when Russia is doing the killing.

    Article on US foreign policy goals, note the RAND study on ‘over-extending Russia’
    https://mate.substack.com/p/urging-regime-change-in-russia-biden

    Do you still see “nothing biased in the western reporting”? The Russian invasion is completely inexcusable, but there is a far bigger game of power politics here which goes back much further in time.

  24. 47 comments lining up at the starting line, the greyhounds with tongues hanging out ready to chase the fast-moving rabbit. That what this hou-ha makes me think. Meanwhile Myanmar etc but everybody who has nothing to do with Russia, soaks in all the anti-communist propaganda like liquor on a table into a beer mat,; so great putting the boot into Russia. Did you note that poor little woman in Poland who died because their law refused the medics the right to induce the birth of her twins early when one of them died. She got septicaemia. If you care about women that would make you feel bad but it’s only one more woman for the stats, and not hit by armaments. But in Gaza they often die from such attacks; does that fit within your concern sights? To be consistently moral, you must loudly condemn every egregious act of violence or wilful neglect of duty to others in need.

    • polands position as a rightwing theological dictatorship will be ignored by the LINOs as long as they toe the line on the ukraine…which they seem to be more than willing to do ‘sending tanks’ well they might just get their sticky fingers burnt…the ukrainians should look to polands habit of stealing bits of the ukraine and ethnically cleansing them.

  25. XstraightXedgeX. “ We have a PM in Ardern who talks as if … all the other conflicts never happened.” She knows alright. She knows, however much she may pretend otherwise. I wonder why.

  26. it’s great thing for nato, they get to wear down russia, arms sales increase to replace the ‘donations’, some western ‘experts’ are already talking about a long war being to the wests advantage…meanwhile ukrainians die, it’s a neat trick having a war and outsourcing the death and maiming..now that’s what I call the market in action.

  27. It’s a depressing cycle, finding your enemy of the moment to be the devil. I’m trying to resist demonization unbacked by the facts nor an equally good look at the other side. The hot short gush of ‘idealism’ followed by years of rendering unto Realpolitik for that. It didn’t happen after WW ll.

    • sumsuch said…It didn’t happen after WW ll

      tell that to the countries churchill and truman horse traded to stalin and the communist movements stalin betrayed in greece, france etc as a quid pro quo….now that’s what I call realpolitik

      • My point was The Nazis ‘were’ the devil so there was no regret about destroying them afterward. It’s a rare occurrence.

        • tell that to the numerous wearaboos, neo nazis and holocaust deniers out there..you’re probably right as far as the wartime generation goes but as time wears on the ‘excuses’ appear.

  28. Having now read the article! When I started noting TV news in the 80s, when they began daily noting the stockmarket and exchange rates (which irritated me as nowt to do with anything), I quickly realised it was for children mentally, and it hasn’t changed. If you wanted mental power you went to RNZ. Which shows up the unnecessariness of the unintelligence.

    If TV News had been strongly intelligent we could’ve avoided this destructive era of the rich’s rule. But then again TVNZ wouldn’t have lasted this long.

    • indeed sumsuch the ‘financials’ have degenerated into ‘sports reporting’ and are as relevant as a ‘hurricanes’ no score draw….

  29. Can anyone remind me of what objectivity means and while you’re at it. Balanced opinion means too.

    • Thanks G. Appreciate your concise and accurate summary.

      How can this be so difficult for news influencers these days?

      We keep getting told that they’re the most highly educated generation ever!

      I don’t think this is really true and accurate. Maybe a journo influencer could write an article about that?

  30. This is a post I wrote on March 7, 2022, same, same:

    This week saw the Russian state-owned media outlet RT banned across Europe. It has also been taken off (SKY channel 92) in New Zealand.
    Overnight, three-quarters of a billion people have just been prevented from accessing arguably the largest media outlet consistently critical of the West.
    RT is little more than a mouthpiece for the Kremlin when it comes to covering Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. But internationally, it has produced thousands of videos documenting struggles that are otherwise suppressed by the ‘free world’. Shutting down this reporting is a massive act of censorship.
    I don’t remember the BBC or Fox News being banned when the UK and US invaded Iraq.

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