The Fake Story vs the Real Story

On the first page of the New York Times (the first page! the New York Times!) there is an article on the protests of Russian truck drivers that I recently told you about.

The entirely clueless, dumb and lazy author of the piece not only refers to truck drivers as “middle-class” (truck drivers! in Russia! middle-class!) but insists that the protests demonstrate that the people of Russia are getting fed up with Putin (fed up! with Putin! in Russia!).

There is nothing I would love more than to believe that Russians are getting enough of Putinism but one has got to be delusional to believe that. The Internet is filled to the brim with videos and interviews of the protesting truck drivers. Time and again, they repeat how much they love, adore and support Putin and repeat that their real enemy are Jews in general and two Jewish brothers with the last name of Rotenberg in particular.

There is a really important story here, and that story is not the imaginary anti-Putinism of entirely fictional middle-class truck drivers. Rather, the story is that anti-semitism has come out of hiding in Russia and is now almost overshadowing the anti-Ukrainian and anti-Chechen sentiments. (“Almost” being the operative word here.) But it’s obviously too much to ask that journalists run a couple of Google searches to find out what is really happening.

8 thoughts on “The Fake Story vs the Real Story”

  1. \ But it’s obviously too much to ask that journalists run a couple of Google searches to find out what is really happening.

    If they don’t know Russian, how can they run those searches?

    Also, I begin wondering whether it’s not entirely a matter of bad journalists who don’t know the real story. Their job is to sell newspapers. Those journalists and the public may not be interested to read about Russian anti-semitism, but will read a story about Russians being anti-Putin. To let an average American reader identify most easily with the protesters, they have to be presented as middle-class. Just as our American reader imagines himself to be.

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    1. “If they don’t know Russian, how can they run those searches?”

      • It is not that hard to find a Russian-speaker who can do this work for pay. Obviously, you can’t report on a country without accessing its cultural and media space in any way. I mean, would I report on Bahrein? Obviously, not.

      “Those journalists and the public may not be interested to read about Russian anti-semitism, but will read a story about Russians being anti-Putin. To let an average American reader identify most easily with the protesters, they have to be presented as middle-class.”

      • This is an even worse possibility that what I suggested. I don’t want to believe it! But yes, you might be right. On a Saturday morning, readers might want to see a feel-good story about an imminent defeat of Putinism at the hands of middle-class truckers. Bleh, makes me want to vomit.

      The really disturbing thing is that this is information I can verify. But when the paper reports on Bahrein, Mozambique or Hungary, I can’t verify, so how do I know the stories that appear in the paper are even marginally correct?

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      1. —But when the paper reports on Bahrein, Mozambique or Hungary, I can’t verify, so how do I know the stories that appear in the paper are even marginally correct?

        You may assume that they are not. I know some Americans who actually do not believe anything their media says… It has some unexpected effects though – I had to explain one of such people why Putin had no right to mess with Ukraine, and that the US actually did once upon a time guarantee the sovereignty of Ukraine. But at least that person asked me…

        —It is not that hard to find a Russian-speaker who can do this work for pay.

        Key words are “for pay”. 🙂
        Did you ever wonder why the “Russians” in the movies rarely speak decent Russian?

        And, by the way, aren’t truck owner-operators actually considered middle-class in the US?

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        1. I just finished a recent novel by Lisa Gardner, and the main character is a trucker who owns his own rig. He’s definitely not middle class in this novel.

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  2. You could hobble along on Russian sites with google translator – Russian don’t seem to be the trickiest job for Google. And several Russian sites are in English or bi-lingual, it seems. (Finnish often gives surrealistic and absurd results…)

    The US seems to be the top non-muslim country to support DAESH – ISIS – IS – ISIL by tweeting on Twitter. But omitting France, Belgium, Germany and the Scandinavian countries makes it dubious. To say the least. My city alone has around 150 legionaries in DAESH aso. With more than 300 from Sweden, they are now passing the number of Swedes who fought for Germany 1939-1945.

    http://i100.independent.co.uk/article/where-isis-supporters-tweet-from-mapped–lJVRG3x4dg

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    1. After the fall of the USSR, all state property was distributed amongst a small group of people affiliated with the KGB or the Communist Party. This was called “privatization”, although the property wasn’t really privatized. It was simply assigned fake “owners” to make it look like it was privatized. Most ow these assigned “owners” have recognizably Jewish lady names to make it easy to blame the Jews for this injustice.

      The Rotenberg brothers are two among such Jewish “owners” of enormous chunks of state property. They have lost quite a packet because of the sanctions and Putin is trying to compensate them by squeezing the truck drivers.

      It’s all one huge criminal organization that is involved in all kinds of crimes.

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      1. I had a run in with a (perfectly) Swedish writing Putin troll, who claimed that the official Dutch investigation showed that the Malaysian airliner was shot down by the Ukrainians – because it was stated that it was shot down with cannon fire. Russian built jet fighters have had 30 mm cannons since the 50’s – they shot down two Swedish planes over the Baltic with those – but now? Air combat is done by rockets and missiles in these days. By checking the Dutch investigation’s English text on the Net, you could easily find that the Dutch are 100% sure that it was a SAM – (surface to air missile) judging the damage done to the fuselage by high-velocity shrapnel. Why the Russian-friendly militia shot down the airliner travelling at 30.000 feet may be a mystery – or not. From the newsreels of the time, it was hard to spot any militia man NOT considerably drunk.

        Liked by 1 person

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