The time may come when Vladimir Putin changes his mind or revises his strategy for steamrolling Ukraine and amends his present path of destruction. But there is a strong case to be made that, were it not for state-controlled Russian media providing a false, fantastical narrative with religious overtones of the dictator’s war on a sovereign neighboring state, the Russian people would almost certainly have risen up by now and demanded an end to the unprovoked devastation.
There is nothing to suggest that Russians writ large truly believe such a brutal invasion was necessary, or even care about annexing Ukraine. And yet, a recent poll demonstrates the power of state-controlled media. With Putin silencing those pesky independent-minded journalists and controlling the message delivered by the press, Russians, in general, appear to be swallowing whole the version of the war being force fed to them. The numbers are depressing: 58% of Putin’s countrymen support his invasion, while just 23% do not, according to a poll scrupulously conducted to assure both accuracy and privacy amidst the backdrop of intimidation in Putin’s Russia. In other words, even given the reluctance of Russians – going back to Soviet days – to criticize the government, Putin’s subjects have fallen for his monstrous lies hook, line, and sinker, according to a group of credible, independent (and understandably anonymous) Russian-based survey research organizations.
Are Russians so barbaric that they blindly support in overwhelming numbers an abhorrent attack on a neighbor of no offense to them? Or, has the lack of a free press simply, almost scientifically, produced the exact public opinion on the matter designed by the ruling establishment?
In such an environment, Putin can strike civilian targets at will, commit war crimes of stunning magnitude, or even employ a nuclear weapon, and his people would either be none the wiser, or unwilling to accept any alternative truth which might leak through the opaque wall of propaganda constructed by Putin’s minions in the media. After all, in the end, who are they going to believe, their dear leader, or those who would try to topple him? And so, those fed an unending diet of propaganda are led like lambs to the slaughter, supporting a man whose crimes against humanity would repel them were they aware of the truth.
Is this beginning to sound eerily familiar? In recent days, America’s once-mighty newspaper of record deigned to affirm that the damning evidence on the infamous Hunter Biden laptop is real – 17 months after it was discovered and deemed authentic. The device contained a multitude of emails detailing Hunter’s business relationships in Ukraine and China which implicate his father. Most significantly, of course, this admission comes long after the presidential election which landed their man Joe Biden in the White House.
Keep in mind that the New York Post story which broke the scandal wide open – since validated in its every detail – was not just ignored or criticized by corporate media during the election campaign. The story was actively censored. The newspaper’s Twitter account was snuffed out, temporarily. Biden’s praetorian guard summoned 51 former US “intelligence experts” to serve as water carriers, collectively suggesting the report was, what else, Russian disinformation. There you go – instant justification on demand for ignoring the story, and censoring those who dared pursue it. Given the opportunity to apologize by the Post in recent days, none of the 51 saw fit to do so, of course.
Following the 2020 election, a poll conducted by the Media Research Center in the eight most critical battleground states concluded that half (!) of those who voted for Joe Biden were not even aware of the damning contents of the laptop, or even that it existed. If they had been provided with the proven facts about the story, the poll revealed that more than enough voters would have switched their votes to reverse the outcome of the election.
Of course, in once again invoking Russia as the antagonist, activist media was drawing more water from the same well which had proved so useful in forcing Donald Trump to govern with one hand, in the form of the scurrilous Russia collusion hoax, tied behind his back. As the left’s handmaidens in the media produced everything from non-stop screaming headlines to Pulitzer prizes for allegations plucked out of thin air (remember the one about Trump peeing on the Moscow hotel bed used by Obama?), the old saw that “a lie repeated often enough becomes the truth” took hold.
Once their man was safely ensconced in the White House, like a defendant admitting guilt once a not-guilty verdict had already been rendered, one of the establishment’s own even admitted a broad conspiracy to remove Donald Trump. Molly Ball’s piece in Time magazine is one which should rightly live in infamy, describing “a well-funded cabal of powerful people, ranging across industries and ideologies, working together behind the scenes to influence perceptions, change rules and laws, steer media coverage and control the flow of information,” in order to “keep the peace and oppose Trump’s assault on democracy.”
Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson (R) actually compared Amazon founder Jeff Bezos – owner of a prominent Washington newspaper that walks in lockstep with New York’s gray lady – and social media titans to state media spouting propaganda about the war in Ukraine. “These are big-tech billionaires. You go to Ukraine and the complaint is always about the media oligarchs corrupting the political process in Eastern European countries. We have our own media oligarchs. We just called them big-tech billionaires,” Johnson said Sunday on The Cats Roundtable radio show.
So, we witness Putin gaining the support of his people for a ruinous war by creating a false narrative, suppressing the truth, and censoring the media. And what did the American establishment do? They destroyed Trump and got Biden elected by creating a false narrative, suppressing the truth, and censoring the media. Indeed, we end with the question no one wants to ask. When you strip away the differences between the US and Russia – primarily the first amendment privileges enjoyed (freedom of the press) and inconveniences suffered (freedom of speech) by elite media in our constitutional republic – and consider that their advocacy for the central state has become so strikingly and chillingly similar, is establishment media in America really much different from state-controlled media in Russia?
~ Read more from Tim Donner.