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New World Bullies and Media Responsibility

The full attention of the media has moved from the pandemic to Ukraine. It is undoubtedly a concern with diabolical implications for global safety. But it also is a godsend for the media as listeners who had tuned out, weary of hearing about Covid tune in again. Simplistically, it raises media revenue through a higher number of viewers or listeners and associated advertising.

Putin is, according to accounts I have heard, a hell-bent dictator with dated geopolitical aspirations, who’s prepared to go to any length to secure his borders/economic and security interests/wealth. However, I note there is almost no coverage given here to the contribution of western countries to the background of this latest crisis. Are we entirely without blame?

  • A buildup in former Soviet Union Satellite states (e.g. Estonia), of troops, weaponry;
  • Pontificating on Ukraine developing closer ties with Western allied powers
  • Ukraine’s political desires to be part of NATO, an organisation birthed of the desire to keep Russia in check.

Is it naive of me to think that imbalanced media coverage and reporting means we might never move closer to understanding the motives of others with interests diametrically opposed to our own?

Except in Hollywood movies, has anyone ever solved their problems with a schoolyard bully by walking right up to them and poking them repeatedly in the stomach? Or by deliberating dancing around the bully’s enemies or opponents saying we will consider accepting you into our social circle?

Journalists could and must do better to present a balanced perspective to the public. Media sways public opinion. Governments respond to public opinion when it suits them politically and shy away from making hard decisions that will be unpopular with the electorate.

We must discard any, ‘them versus us’ mentality if conflict is to be avoided.

Subduing a bully with force has a history of failing miserably, and ordinary people pay the highest price.

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78 thoughts on “New World Bullies and Media Responsibility”

    1. I agree, M-R. The journalistic duty of care is sorely lacking. A year or so ago, I read a book on Geopolitics. Almost every political conflict could be seen purely in those terms. It foreshadowed this kind of reaction by world powers – on all sides.
      This makes me envy the resilience of the non-aligned powers to resist participating in a them or us scenario, even more.

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  1. Nor is every bully really a coward who will run away if confronted. Gang leaders and political bullies must save face and rarely back down from their poor decisions. The media, it seems to me, only makes this worse.

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    1. Well said! Bullies are not always stereotypical! Especially if they are nationalistic, tyrannical or mentally unstable, they will react in unpredictable ways. Saving face is very important to them.
      I do feel the media could step up to their responsibility to do much better.

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  2. May I suggest you may be misinforming some of your less politically sophisticated readers with your veiled allusion re possible ‘blame’ attendant to the NATO and EU presence in the Baltics, Poland etc. Readers ignorant in recent history may be unaware of the nearly 50-year-long brutal occupation of these totally sovereign highly cultured countries of entirely differing backgrounds to Russia . Are you really suggesting these countries which lost two generations to the horrors of Communism should not belong to NATO and should not have peace-keeping forces within their borders ? When did such EVER stop the Communist murderes doing anything within their own borders. Perchance you better listen to our former Foreign Minister Julie Bishop or even Maryse Payne talk on the subject ere you act like the media tou supposedly decry.

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    1. I am in no way blaming NATO any more than I blame the other side, Eha. Instead, I am saying that both sides makes mistakes and we sometimes only get one point of view presented.
      In attempting to make things safer, tensions may be inadvertently inflammed. The Western way is not always the only right way. Neither is the Russian way. If the people of Ukraine want to be part of NATO that is naturally their choice, as long as their government is representing their choice. However, they are in a delicate position and with such an aggressive bully of a neighbour, the way forward is delicate. I appreciate your perspective and input. Please keep commenting because we can all learn from real stories rather than just what the Murdoch media want us to hear. Does that clarify?

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      1. Thank you for taking the time to reply. Normally I would agree that there are two sides to almost any question. Not here. Not at this moment in history. The murdering bullyboy thug just wants his stolen ‘Empire’ back . . . please see the brief wording Marise Payne used regarding the situation this morning. In this instance there is no ‘other side’ . . . sorry ! I lost my home and homeland to Stalin . . . I hope the world has become a somewhat wiser and little bit fairer place and manages Putin. And, actually the media films being shown are helping considerably . . . so many people have no idea what ‘war’ looks like to the common man !

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        1. I remember the gulf war looked very much like the footage they are showing on TV. I think this war was regrettably inevitable but certainly not desirable. I suspected it was only a matter of time – when I saw so many tanks on a train heading to Ukraine, Putin only had one thing in mind. His rhetoric reminded me of so many other invaders in history. It gives them time to get into position. He seems to want to restore the old Soviet Union to give him economic might to counter the west. But the participants have to back him for it to be a success. If the participants do not want a return to the old Soviet Union it will never succeed.
          I

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          1. Methinks today’s video of the neonatal intensive care ward of the Dniepro hospital having had to be moved into the freezing cellars with no amenities to avoid the Russian bombs, the dozens upon dozens babies just placed side-by-side on any flat available surface, many to die I daresay . . . seemingly affected a lot of readers as did the crying children holding onto fathers who had to go and fight as did the look of families trying to walk to the Border, some tiny kiddies barely able to walk holding onto their only toy . . . . don’t quite understand why that should have been ‘news’ . . . what do people think happens in a war ? . . . over-and-out . . . sorry to have taken up the room but I do have six years plus personal ‘experience’ and feelings attendant as do tens of thousands like I . . . . .

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            1. It sounds quite traumatic for you, Eha and I can understand it brings back painful memories. I agree that some images are not helpful nor newsworthy and I wonder at the motives of the executives wanting that footage displayed. I saw somewhat similar images in Iraq and heard personal reports from friends in Bosnia and Kosovo. It is just horrible. War is horrible. As I said ordinary people pay the heaviest price. I am a bit like an ostrich at the moment. I almost don’t want to hear about the human tragedy – Hugs.

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              1. Sorry – back for a second – I an actually very glad some of these photos, videos and interviews have been published . . . .some ignorant people just might step back and think for a moment. I am fine . . . it just frustrates me when I see how incorrectly some people see the situation . . . way back when there were tens of thousands of us with the same stories . . . *smile* !!!

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          2. Some of the footage has been proven old and false. The ones of Ukraine’s pres “on the front lines” was last year.

            It’s crazy to me ( it shouldn’t be) how quickly the media can Make everyone believe in the villain and the victim. There’s so much more to the story….

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            1. You are correct, Samantha. We need to be vigilant and see everything with an analytical eye. Is this what we are really seeing, or some footage added to give clickbait/interest to a story? Or worse still, outright propaganda.

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  3. Amanda, you bring up some interesting points about the role of journalism in reporting accurate news. I agree that news media play a huge part in influencing public opinion, as does social media and so-called influencers. I find it distressing when news media fall into the trap of succouring public opinion rather than informing it. There are many examples where pandering apply – in partisan politics and pandemic mandates, – and it’s clear that some media companies unduly dictate narrative and extreme bias.

    However, I don’t think Putin’s action fall in that category. There is too much mendacity with deliberate and deadly aggression shown here. Is he a school yard bully being poked with a stick? or is he a bully who’s wasting a playground and holding off interference by threatening nuclear detonation?

    I don’t know enough about eastern politics to determine the right course of action. I only know that after reading the stories & perspectives from people on the ground, in Ukraine and in Russia, from academics and political scientists, and conversely, from Putin advocates, that I cannot condone Putin’s actions.

    Is your sentiment based on Murdoch’s media holdings in Australia? I see that his holdings account for 66% of news holdings there. He also owns Fox News in the US, which I admit has zero credibility in my books. I hope that you have better news outlets than that. Personally, for world news I choose to read The New York Times, The Atlantic and The Guardian.

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    1. The situation is tense, Sandy and you said it well when you wrote the “trap of succouring public opinion rather than informing it.” I don’t watch the Murdoch press – I really dislike it but it is sometimes on in my house and I overhear. I generally read the Guardian mostly, but my opinions are shaped also by my own experiences and knowledge. I need to read more but sometimes it is too much to sift through the rhetoric, the manipulated information and all the hype. I am most critical of the changes in the way things are reported from days gone by. Although I take Graham’s point that the media are not to blame for everything. We have a duty to make ourself informed as much as we can do so. Rather than have a knee-jerk reaction to an emotive video showing missiles launched and children being traumatised which has been shown by both sides in previous wars. Everyone will have a bias based on their experiences and that frames their viewpoint. I would not condone what Putin did and it was my error not being able to write that in a way that conveys that information. But neither do I believe the opposing side is always right in the steps they take. And we don’t always know the truth. The Tampa incident in Australia taught me a valuable lesson about how politicians manipulate traumatic situations so that the sceptic in me is alive and well.

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      1. I totally agree with you that as readers, we have a responsibility to get information and differentiate opinion from fact. It’s not always easy. It is human nature to tribe-together and seek POVs which re-inforce what we want to believe. It is also human nature to respond to emotional rhetoric, even when it’s pure manipulation.
        A bit of scepticism is good especially when it makes you be more informed.

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          1. Yes & Yes. There’s always been ‘rag’ media that favored sensationalism and serious news media that favored responsible reportage – and it used to be relatively easy to differentiate. Nowadays, it’s not so easy.

            I don’t lay this all at the door of news media. I’d lay the cause at the door of social media which allows for more reach than print , radio & TV media have ever had. Anyone with a mobile phone can read, create & distribute information. 99 % of it is nonsense but it sets a bar of immediacy, sensationalism and egoism for all information. Because of it, some media outlets have crossed the line of responsible journalism.

            IMO social media has been both the scourge & salvation of professional journalism. Free media was a death toll for many news organizations. Prevasive misinformation is the salvation for responsible journalism

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            1. You make a point that I had not yet considered, Sandy. That the depravities of social media and the poor reliability of social media news actually is a driver of readers towards the more responsible outlets. In this free world of news, however, it seems that those outlets struggle to stay financially afloat. I hope more can stick around until the tide turns away from social media and rag rubbish.

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  4. Yes, but let us also not forget the homes and lives lost to the millions in Iraq, Afghanistan and before that Vietnam. And what was all that about? The imposing of a democracy US style?
    I too came from a bombed out country and city but I am not sure that the west and especially the US is all that pure of heart.
    I spent a few weeks in the USSR and as a tourist loved it.. Gershwin was being shown at he Bolshoi. The hospitality of its people and the food. Sure, the TV wasn’t working and the bathroom a bit dodgy. But the poetry and its people.
    Of course, Putin is not to be condoned but neither is the push to irritate and inflict NATO on its direct neighbour.

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    1. Just bear with me for the ONE query, Mr Oosterman, if you please ! What on earth does your appreciation of Russian literature and theatre arts have to do with the fact that Ukrainian civil population is being blown apart by vacuum bombs as I write this – unable to breathe they are simply blown apart ! And I presume you have seen innocent civilian cars run over and over again . . . that I can assure you is par for the course ! Seems to me Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Slovakia have all been NATO powers for many years – who has been hurt by its forces in Russia ?

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      1. Yes, Eha,
        Just let Mr Oosterman explain why he thinks it is not that simple to just put Putin in the tyrant basket. It might just be that the west lacks the understanding what it means to have an identity unique to a country and culture different from other countries. Not worse or better but different.

        It seems to coincide with the west having lost their way somewhat to Coca Cola and Big Macs and the cult of individualism where the individual is elevated to the point of alienation. We seem to have lost our moral and political core.

        It might be a far shot but I reckon Putin is trying to prevent the same happening to its neck of the woods including its former Ukraine.
        No one condones the killing of innocent people but do hear that might include condoning 40 000 people getting shot in the US by their own guns each year?
        Regards,
        Mr. Oosterman

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        1. Gerard, I don’t understand what you mean by this statement: “It might be a far shot but I reckon Putin is trying to prevent the same happening to its neck of the woods including its former Ukraine.”

          Are you insinuating Putin is merely trying to ensure his nation’s sovereignty by invading eastern Ukraine? If that’s the case, then you are wrong. Putin IS a tyrant; he has held onto the Russian presidency for more than two decades – something no reasonable and decent national leader would do. That he’s invading Ukraine is testament to his belief that the former Soviet Union was an ideal state.

          Benito Mussolini held a similar belief when he took over leadership of Italy in the 1930s; he wanted to restore his nation to the grandeur of the Roman Empire. That was impossible since ancient collapsed under the weight of its own expansion – which is pretty much what happened to the Soviet Union. They grew too big, and the expanse was simply unsustainable.

          It was similar to what happened with the former British Empire. The American Revolution was born out of a desire to free itself from the British monarchy. A century ago Mahatma Gandhi told British leaders in India that a few thousand of their people couldn’t control several million of his people. And he was right. Britain eventually lost India, as they did Canada. They then began losing one country after another on the African continent.

          The Spanish Empire also couldn’t sustain its Latin American colonies. One by one, individual nations began fighting against the Spanish monarchy, and the latter ultimately had no choice but to relent.

          More recently, Brazil’s President Jair Bolsarano said he longed for the days of his nation’s military stranglehold – a time when freedom of speech and journalism were suppressed. That attitude is parallel to what Putin and China’s leadership have instituted.

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          1. I may be wrong but I think Gerard may have been referring to Putin trying to avoid an Americanization of Ukraine, an alignment or cultural displacement of Russian ties with Ukraine that could lead to Ukraine distancing themselves from Russia which would put Russia and Putin at a disadvantage in business dealings and economically.

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    2. Thanks Gerard for sharing your thoughts and experiences. I like that all opinions have a voice here and we can share what we believe and know. Putin is a dangerous tyrant and although he is ultimately responsible for this invasion, whether he was provoked or not, the leaders generally are never held to account for the awful numbers of civilian and military losses that occur and the trauma that is life-long. I am less and less supportive of any kind of fierce nationalism, although I can understand that it is important to some. Especially when it relates to centuries-old conflict. How far back should/can we go? To Neanderthal times? Where is the end point? Correct me if I am wrong, but
      didn’t Hitler want to restore German greatness, Putin to return to the old Soviet Union, Serbia wanted territory from 700 years before and in Rwanda it was tribe against tribe and so on . Ethnic cleansing has occurred many times even since WWII. But times and circumstances change. The motives for global domination or invasion of a sovereign country hides under the face of nationalistic pride but I wonder, if it is based more on fear, power, greed/resources and security for the invader?

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  5. It’s easy to blame the media for all our troubles, but media users have a lot to do with it. There’s a saying here that ‘the price of freedom is eternal vigilance.’ It’s generally attributed to Lincoln, but that’s not correct. Regardless, the average person in the U.S.A. not only doesn’t maintain eternal vigilance, they seem to take pride in being ignorant and misled. I don’t think that is restricted to the U.S. either. It’s everywhere. The media has biases; it always has, but, as Sandy says, there are reputable news sources out there. People just have to make a bit of effort to identify them. Most people don’t and won’t bother.

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  6. Vladimir Putin doesn’t seem to realize the sun set on the Soviet empire decades ago. Just like Great Britain, in many ways, doesn’t realize the same thing happened with their own dominion, none of them understand the world is no longer impressed with or intimidated by them. Colonialism is archaic and unsustainable in the present world, although it’s trying to reinvent and manifest itself in cyber warfare.

    The slew of economic sanctions being imposed upon Russia right now ultimately may prove to be a deterrence, but it’s obvious Putin is maniacal enough to pursue his brutal attack on Ukraine. I really don’t know what the democratic world is supposed to do aside from the sanctions, lest we risk a nuclear conflict.

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    1. It is a very difficult situation dealing with a powerful tyrant leading another country who has immense power. Your country has had some experience of this in the past. Dealing with Trump and Kim jong and further back, others. We have so many nuclear weapons around the world it is a deterrent in some ways, at least to using them.

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      1. I still believe Russia has some incriminating information about Donald Trump, which is why he was loathe to criticize them. Trump even praised Putin’s intelligence! I also believe quite strongly that Russia played a key role in ensuring Trump’s ascension to the U.S. presidency. While it’s disturbing that the U.S. Supreme Court essentially chose George W. Bush as our president in 2000, it’s downright frightening that a foreign super-power chose our president 16 years later.

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        1. Indeed, Alejandro. A terrifying thought if it is true. There seems to be evidence of this happening in many parts of the world. Surreptitiously, China has been putting tentacles out in our region. My IT son thinks though that we won’t ever go to war with China, as there is already a technology war happening now.

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          1. As I’d stated earlier, cyber conflicts are more insidious and difficult to fight. Like the demonic entity in the film version of “The Exorcist”, we, the audience, know the monster is in the house. We can hear it and sense, but it’s just not visible. And that makes it even more terrifying.

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              1. Indeed it is! It’s frightening because of what I said: we can’t see the monster. We know it’s there and we can’t understand why the characters in the story don’t sense the gravity of the situation.

                My parents saw the film in 1974, about 6 months after it was released, along with some close friends. My mother’s hairdresser had seen the movie when it came out and admitted it terrified him like nothing else. My mother said it was all she could do not to pass out in the theatre, seated beside my father. She had actually read the book beforehand, as she preferred to do that first. She told me, one evening after I’d gone to bed and my father had returned to work, she sat down to continue reading whereupon she heard scratching in the wall behind her. If you either read the book or saw the movie, you’d know one of the earliest signs something is amiss in the townhome is the sound of something rustling about in the attic. We had been in the house about 18 months, and my mother thought – based on her devoutly Roman Catholic upbringing – we needed to have the place formally blessed by a priest.

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              2. Actually the cause was more mundane: rodents in the walls and attic. This neighborhood used to be farmland. I recall visiting the area with my parents sometime in the fall of 1971, shortly after they’d purchased the lot for our new house. For many years after we finally moved here in 1972 a large meadow stretched behind us. We used to see cows grazing. The new development displaced many of the land’s long-time residents – mice, squirrels, spiders and scorpions. My parents realized we needed an exterminator – not a priest!

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  7. You’re quite right: and here in this country, most journalism represents a particular standpoint from which – certainly in the case of the redtops – the popular press in the UK – they never deviate, and choose information highly selectively. Political parties which have been financially underwritten by Russian oligarchs now find themselves compromised. It’s a mess.

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  8. I spent years as a journalist—I called myself a reporter back then. Later I taught journalism for 4 years in a US university. I’m not sure how to respond to this post. I taught my students to report the facts. I suspect many reporters try to do the same.

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    1. I do hope you are right that the journalists are still instructed to report the pure facts from both perspectives, Peggy. I hear lots of journalistic opinions being expressed in the media as opposed to pure presentation of facts. I also hear condemnations of public figures, more often female than male, and poor, foolish questioning. It seems different, compared to reporters from decades ago. I don’t know when it changed and I don’t always blame them as people, for it may be coming from editorial staff. There are still great reporters out there.
      What do you foresee as the obstacles for reporters being impartial in presenting the facts?

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  9. As a child I didn’t poke the schoolyard bully with a stick BUT I mocked him with words in front of the class and our teacher. Everyone laughed at him– and that was that. For the rest of our schooldays that kid avoided me like I was the plague. There is power in words.

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  10. Not all journalists fail in their reporting of facts, unfortunately it’s up to the public to sort the fact from the fiction. It was, and is, the public who allowed Trumpism to emerge and become something horrendous in public life, and something that dictators worldwide now seek to emulate as they look on and witness its success. Nor can all journalists be aware of what repercussions can come from political decisions. As we now see, to our horror, the nuclear deterrent only deters the ones with principles!

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    1. Fair point that dictators look upon Trumpism and it inspires them to be bold. No wonder he was pro-Putin. I agree it is unfortunate that it’s up to us to sort fact from fiction. It could be so much better than this but then the people who think this way seem to be in an ever decreasing minority. The, “every man for himself,” philosophy where bribery and corruption reins is rampant in the majority of the world’s nations. It is heart-breaking but still I remain optimistic.

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      1. After the terrible loss of life in Russia during WW ll (nearly 9 million military, over 7 million civilians and over 14 million military wounded) Stalin said that Russia would never fight another war on its own territory – hence the satellites which became the USSR. Then came the cold war and NATO. During the stand-off in the Cuban Missile affair which was the last big near-nuclear crisis, the conflict was solved by the USA agreeing to remove its missiles from Turkey (where they were aimed at Russia) and Russia agreeing to remove its missiles from Cuba – a good all-round solution, both sides could claim victory and no one lost face. This time we don’t seem to have that leverage but we would do well to look back on history.

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        1. Thank you for the abridged background to the Ukrainian crisis. In some ways, the war against the Naziis would not have been won without that mammoth sacrifice of the Russian people. As a student of modern history, I found the cold-war era fascinating to study, particularly the Cuban crisis and how close we came at that point to nuclear war! It is a huge shame politicians of that calibre and interest aren’t to be found in power, and instead we have see hardline, determined, tyrannical leaders hell-bent on destroying chances of a collaborative, co-operative society and securing control for themselves. I fear that as environmental and resource issues loom larger, military action will become more common. Instead of advancing, the world is regressing.

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  11. I am impressed with the platform you have created for your readers, Amanda. This has been a great discussion to read, and educational for me to see other perspectives. I can’t help but appreciate one point you were trying to say in your post, about the contributions through history from many different sources for any conflict. I take Eha’s point that right now, right at this moment, Putin is clearly in the wrong. And I don’t know enough about this particular conflict to say anything more, but I do know that for other conflicts, there is no clear good side/bad side, or even merely two sides. War is nearly always due to a history of multiple powers and personalities posturing and trying to influence each other and gain an advantage. When fighting erupts, all interests spin the tale in whatever way they think will again, give them an advantage. Graham and Mari are right to say it’s up to us to figure out which news to use, and that’s a tough job, but worth it.

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    1. Indeed a tough job for us, but an open and analytical mind will help us sort fact from rhetoric. I can see when you wrote the following that you understood my point that I was not or never condoning what Putin has enacted, but that we have to look at the bigger picture if we are to ever avoid this kind of two-sided, them/us conflict. “War is nearly always due to a history of multiple powers and personalities posturing and trying to influence each other and gain an advantage.” Well said. I remain optimistic despite the dreadful news out of Ukraine.

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    2. And I wish we would teach empathy in schools. I read recently that the star of Peaky Blinders, Cilllian Murphy, is a strong advocate for this and is already involved in such a project in Ireland. Empathy is surely what we need today, the ability to see and understand the other side. Putin looks around him and sees the USSR’s once satellite countries grouping together within the west’s defensive shield NATO, and re-acts. Wrongly, and badly, and there is no excuse for the attack on Ukraine, for the destruction of life and the infrastructure of an independent and sovereign nation, but a bit of empathy wouldn’t have come amiss.

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      1. Mari you are absolutely right about Russia and Putin reactions to the old USSR buffer nation’s political inclination towards the west. I feel that you are on to something with the suggestion of empathy lessons in schools and whilst it is hard to “teach,” empathy itself, there are definitely ways that we can foster and instil that quality in others! Having such programs in schools is a fantastic start. Do you have a link to the program in Ireland? I am interested in reading more about it.

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      1. A very interesting article and the historical context, Crystal. Thanks for linking it. There was a lot of information that I already suspected of which Fiona Hill confirmed. The statements:”Russia would not be able to afford this war were it not for the fact that oil and gas prices are ratcheting up. They’ve got enough in the war chest for now. But over the longer term, this will not be sustainable without the investment that comes into Russia and all of the Russian commodities, not just oil and gas, that are being purchased on world markets. And, our international allies, like Saudi Arabia, should be increasing oil production right now as a temporary offset. Right now, they are also indirectly funding war in Ukraine by keeping oil prices high.” was valid. The fact that Putin is facing elections in 2024 was also relevant.
        One point she didn’t make was the role of the Russian people. If so many were distraught by the loss of their young people in Chechnya, Georgia and continued military intervention they do have some electoral punch, even despite Putin authoritarianism. Putin’s propaganda must be rife!

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  12. I am so glad you raised this question.
    When I was growing up there was a varied ownership of the press…and while advertising was very important it too came from various sources.
    Today the written press – and the sound and vision media – seem to have very few owners and rely heavily on government advertising budgets.
    It makes for a monolithic press which makes it difficult for the ordinary reader to find other sources of information.
    The internet – despite censorship by Facebook, Google, Youtube – does offer a variety of views and information, though the recent prosecution of Craig Murray – https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/ – in Scotland appears to hold internet journalists to a far higher standard than those of the regular press if they seek the protection of the law.
    For years the media have fed us scare stories about Russia and demonised its President…..I wish equal attention had been paid to the governments of the U.S.A and its interventions in the Middle East, where the mere cry of ‘terrorism’ seems enough justification to back ISIS in destroying ancient Christian communities, and to bomb Libya almost out of existence..
    We seem to hear only one side of the story, and that is not a reasonable basis for people in a democracy to judge either their own governments or others.
    I agree t hat readers have a responsibility…but the greater responsibility lies with governments who should be ensuring that the press is not a monopoly.

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    1. Helen, I can read that you fully understood my point but stated it much more articulately than I could do, and I do thank you for that.
      Interesting that you think that internet journalists are held to a higher account and I wonder if that is because they are perceived to have a larger audience?
      Another moot point in this discussion highlights the difficulties journalists must face in conveying information, and how those ‘facts,’ get interpreted by the public. Media outlets reach a much wider audience than previously and encounter varying experiences and attitudes. Consequently, public reactions are much more intense and this is where the greatest change has occurred in recent times.
      The readers’ eyes/ ears, the bias of confirmation and cognitive dissonance can at times, twist the interpretation of the writer’s word to something much more controversial and provocative than it was ever intended. Particularly on sensitive topics. A very emotional reaction is often the result.
      Journalists as well as contending with the pressures of a less than diverse media ownership, have to navigate the owners’ peccadilloes and directives and perhaps also subtle pressures of having to write from a pro or anti-government stance. All this makes for a very narrow path for journalists to tread. I feel sympathy for their difficulties. My editor tells me she knows personally several journalists who have gone bankrupt after being the subject of lawsuits and defamation claims. Perhaps it is too difficult for some. Thus, a Government or an independent body does have a very important role to not only prevent the concentration of media ownership in too few hands, but also to allow media to do its job to the best of its ability, impartial and immune from corruption. It can do this!
      At the danger of readers thinking I am now talking specifically about Ukraine – when really I am talking of many issues, I will say that when the other side of a story or a new ‘truth,’ is finally heard, in less than mainstream publications, there is often a realisation, a kind of, “Ah well – that explains/justifies/forgives .xyz. I wasn’t aware of that,” style of comment. Had they known this information before, the outcome might have been different.
      Ultimately,
      We can disagree and still be respectful of others.
      We can disagree and let others choose to think differently, (as long as it doesn’t hurt others).
      We can seek to or be open to understanding others, but not necessarily agree with their POV or condone their actions.
      We can agree as that is also our prerogative, (as long as it doesn’t hurt others).
      Changing our perspective or POV can reveal important things about opposing views.
      And finally,
      There is always more than one side to a story.

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      1. Thank you for such a compehensive reply. We do need to respect other’s views while requiring respect for our own ,when properly arrived at and demonstrated. It worries me when there are ad hominem attacks rather than reasoned arguments,

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  13. 1. What’s the problem with that. Should Russia responded by attacking them?
    2. So what if ukraine do get closer to the western allied powers? Ukraine is an independent country, right? As long as they don’t cause harm to others. Why would that be a problem? Unless, certain people intentionally make it a problem for certain purposes or obsession.
    3. Again? So what? Ukraine is a fre country. Why would russian has anything with what they’re doing if it’s not actually harm them, but the leader’s stupid and unreasonable pride. Which he has to deal with on his own. Not by attacking and blaming others for the leader inability to deal with the leader’s toxic pride.
    4. If the enemy still have humanity in them. Dialogue and certain strategy to bring them to reasonable act and learn to deal with the issues better will work. Otherwise, it’s better to detain them from harming society.
    Violent might be necessary cost to detain them from further harming society

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  14. I just have to comment, even if I haven’t read all the comments here before – but I have read many. I live in Sweden, and we all know what once happened to Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Krim, Georgia, etc. I have been closely following media and Putin’s language and ways to twist his own people’s minds. And I hear himself saying that Ukraine has attacked Russia, is lead by nazis who have killed millions of people already. Russia claims Ukraine will not listen to Russia, will not cooperate and stop the killing. Russia has to evacuate people from Luhansk and Donetsk…to “save” them. Then he claims Ukraine is no real and sovereign country, and never was. Those were his own words. A twisted mind used to get the approval from his people of a dirty war he has made up to get back the old and Great Russia. I have heard him say the biggest disaster was the downfall of his former realm.
    So he attacks – and before that he has forbidden demonstrations in Russia against war, he has forbidden any media except his own to report on the agression/invasion. And he forbids his media to use the word “invasion”. (Brings to mind a certain Trump who told his scientists were forbidden to use the words “climate change”…) Thousands have been arrested already, but luckily it seems people keep protesting. Brave people. They all know what they are risking. The only man who dared oppose Putin was Navalny – we all know what happened to him – poisoned and almost killed. Then, sentenced to many years in prison, and more… somewhere – maybe Siberia. I don’t believe we will ever hear from him again.
    Putin also deals in cyber attacks against Ukraine and the western world. This is a fact, they have been tracked to troll factories controlled by Russia, in Russia. Now he threatens with nuclear weapons if he doesn’t get what he wants. A very dangerous situation for the world.

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    1. Ann-Christine, I so value your input to this discussion. The more opinions and information the better and more diverse our knowledge of the situation. It is not hard to believe that Putin is experienced in delivering propaganda nor that he would use the spectre of Nazis and purported protection of the Ukrainians, as justification for his actions. He has to justify his orders in some way, even though he has absolute power. It is a shame Navalny was not able to escape while he could and conduct his work outside of Russia. I don’t think he will ever be seen again either, sadly.
      Currently, it is a very delicate situation and the mind of someone like Putin with that much power is bound not to end well – either for Ukraine, Russia or the world. It may be a pipedream but I like to think that there are moves afoot to oust Putin, or perhaps inside Russia to assassinate him due to his mental state and this is perhaps why he needed such a diversion at this point, a war that would secure his power and his intimidating tactics for the near future, thereby distracting from the rumblings at home. Perhaps that is naive and even if it happened, the successor might be of a similar mind to Putin. All regimes however, come to an end at some point. I just hope that is sooner than later. In the meantime, the West must tread carefully so as not to posture in a way that worsens the situation. We are dealing with an unstable bully with immense power. I suppose Trump and Putin are in regular contact as Trump tries to secure back his position. I agree cyber attacks and propaganda are something we all need to be constantly vigilant for and read as widely and analytically as we can do.
      I also agree there seem to be similarities in leaders who forbid certain words. A very slippery slope, indeed. It speaks of their insecurities and fears of losing control. Whilst I do not agree with the anti-vax protests here and around the world, I agree they have a right to protest if they choose, but they must be respectful and not infringe others’ rights. Thanks once again for your input.

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      1. You are welcome. I think you are doing a good thing in opening discussions like these. We all learn new things and the way to solve problems are always by communication. Now we are hoping for some rising of people inside Russia against Putin. Hope never dies.

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    1. You would feel the terror more than most, Tanja. I had close friends who lost everything in the Bosnian war including their father for 6 months til.he was found a POW. They were lucky to become refugees in Denmark before being accepted into Australia. They have lived here ever since and have a good life but still mourn for their old village in Bosnia. War destroys more than infrastructure- it destroys lives, families and spirits. I can only imagine what upsetting memories exist for you. People in Australia who have never known civil war have no idea. Are you managing okay?

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