Wednesday, April 16, 2014

How to spin Ukraine news into anti-Russian propaganda

Versions of this story are all over the internet today.

What seems to be a common thread in most of these stories is this; a column of six Ukraine Army armoured vehicles were on their way to Kramatorsk, a city in eastern Ukraine that has been suffering from mob violence by a pro-Russian mob.

By the time the column reached the town, the Ukraine soldiers aboard had either defected to the other side or had been removed from control of their vehicles. Either way, by the time they reached their destination the armoured vehicles were sporting Russian flags.

The main point of the story would seem to be that Yatsenyuk, America's non-elected leader in Ukraine, has little popular support among either the people or the Ukraine military.

But the headline at the CBC, Canada's government owned broadcaster, frames the story as "Combat vehicles in east Ukraine fly Russian flag."

That's subtle but slick; it leads the reader to surmise that these combat vehicles are part of some Russian subterfuge. They're not armoured cars, they're "combat vehicles." The fact that they fly the Russian flag is proof of Canadian government allegations that Putin is behind the unrest in eastern Ukraine.

That lets the reader avoid the realities of a) Ukraine soldiers defecting against the non-elected and illegitimate goverment of Kiev, and b) massive popular resistance against that government.

This allows the public broadcaster, under severe attack by the Harper government, to score some brownie points with its benefactor. All they had to do was slant the narrative ever-so-slightly to align with the Harper-Baird commitment to that illegitimate government in Kiev.

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