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November 12, 2008

All the Propaganda That's Fit to Print

By: Bernard Chazelle

The New York Times editorial, August 11, 2008:

There is no imaginable excuse for Russia’s invasion of Georgia. The United States and its European allies must tell Mr. Putin in the clearest possible terms that such aggression will not be tolerated.

No imaginable excuse? Russian aggression? Let's see what this blog had to say on the matter.

A Tiny Revolution, August 17, 2008:

Let's be clear about one thing: Russia did not attack; Georgia did. Yes, Russia has been destabilizing a region that, incidentally, wants nothing to do with Georgia [...] But is that an excuse for unleashing a massive, sustained barrage of rockets in the middle of the night on a civilian population?

Three months later, the Times makes a U-turn and adopts the official ATR line.

The New York Times, November 6, 2008:

Georgia’s inexperienced military attacked the isolated separatist capital of Tskhinvali on Aug. 7 with indiscriminate artillery and rocket fire, exposing civilians, Russian peacekeepers and unarmed monitors to harm. Neither Georgia nor its Western allies have as yet provided conclusive evidence that Russia was invading the country [before Georgia's attack].

For the record, Russia has now withdrawn all of its troops from uncontested Georgian territory.

The Independent, November 12, 2008:

The US and UK left the impression that Russia was the guilty party [...] The journalists [including some from the NYT] travelled to the region separately and by different routes. They spoke to different people. But their findings are consistent: Georgia launched an indiscriminate military assault on South Ossetia's main town, Tskhinvali. The hospital was among the buildings attacked; doctors were injured even as they operated [...] What has now transpired, however, is that the US and Britain had no excuse for not knowing how the war began. They were briefed by the OSCE monitors at a very early stage, and those monitors included two highly experienced former British Army officers.

Let's go back to the Times editorial:

Georgia’s president, Mikheil Saakashvili, foolishly and tragically baited the Russians — or even more foolishly fell into Moscow’s trap — when he sent his army into the separatist enclave of South Ossetia last week.

Indeed, just as Hitler fell into Warsaw's trap when he sent his army into Poland and bin Laden fell into Washington's trap when he sent airplanes into the World Trade Center.

— Bernard Chazelle

Posted at November 12, 2008 10:28 AM

I, for one, am shocked by this intrusion of reality on to the pages of the New York Times. Once this sort of thing gets started, where will it end?

And I wonder if Georgia had been a member of NATO, and we had gone to war with Russia over their "aggression", how much longer would it taken for the Times to acknowledge what really happened?

Posted by: SteveB at November 12, 2008 12:40 PM

Eh, katso, say what you want about Georgia, but they definitely have the best folk music in the world. Cut them some slack.

Posted by: abb1 at November 12, 2008 12:44 PM

abb1 Remember the war against Franco?
That's the kind where each of us belongs.
Though he may have won all the battles,
We had all the good songs.
Tom Lehrer

Posted by: Bernard Chazelle at November 12, 2008 01:45 PM

Once the mainstream media gets a hold of a story plot, they can't let it go. The NYT spin on the Georgia attack even now is not a surprise.

What interests me more is how come all the mainstream sources in US and UK have immediately jumped on the plot that scary Russia has attacked defenseless Georgia. Is it because the US has been funding and backing Saakashvili? Is it because of the planned oil pipe through Georgia? Or is there something more sinister?

I'm seriously curious, because the Georgia's story has been on the back-burner before this. Would the journalists themselves be prone to this indoctrination, or does this level of partisan reaction require editors to step in?

Posted by: weaselword at November 12, 2008 02:06 PM

Here's their version of Lili Marleen:

Posted by: abb1 at November 12, 2008 02:26 PM

Thanks for the link. BEUTIFUL!
Now, only if they could have cultural exchange instead of missiles and dropping bombs, life would be so much easier and pleasant for the innocent civilians!

Posted by: Rupa Shah at November 12, 2008 02:49 PM

Nah, that was an aberration; these guys, like the Italians, are better lovers than warriors. Here's their cute propaganda film:

Posted by: abb1 at November 12, 2008 03:17 PM

They changed the story line when the other guy won the election.

Posted by: An Outhouse at November 12, 2008 03:21 PM

Well, they have been supported by the USA for a while so they had to learn SOMETHING! from USA tactics, so why not propaganda?

Posted by: Rupa Shah at November 12, 2008 03:50 PM

"-and bin Laden fell into Washington's trap when HE SENT AIRPLANES into the World Trade Center."

Excuse me? Que?

Posted by: james at November 12, 2008 11:34 PM

It's not just the US government, btw. I was watching BBC World a few days ago and they had this documentary and it was all about Gori and an apartment building Russians bombed there. I'm not sure I saw the whole thing, but from what I saw there was no context given whatsoever; as if that was an isolated event. So, it's the UK government/media as well.

Posted by: abb1 at November 13, 2008 10:44 AM

Saakashvili is just another Somaoza or Pinoche, nothing new in OUR long tradition of puppet dictators. No more shocking than what WE ALWAYS DO. Read the Church Committee Reports, just substitute eastern european names for the spanish ones and U have the whole story. I'm wiling to bet even "Ole Death Squad Negroponti" shows up in Georgia somewhere in the tale. (should have ARRESTED and TRIED Nixon)

Posted by: Mike Meyer at November 13, 2008 12:08 PM

Indeed, just as Hitler fell into Warsaw's trap when he sent his army into Poland
What? South Ossetia would be analogous to Poland there and England analogous to Russia. Indeed, England declared war and bombed Germany well before Germany bombed England.

Posted by: TGGP at November 16, 2008 01:11 AM