04:16 GMT +317 February 2019
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    Truth About 'Russian Influence'

    CC BY 2.0 / Jennifer Moo
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    Finian Cunningham
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    Western governments and media have reached a “magical thinking” stage in their fantasies about alleged Russian propaganda and influence. The magical thinking is such that there is no longer even a need to prove claims. It is simply “fact” by assertion.

    Take the US Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats. He testified before the Senate last week that Russian meddling in US politics will be a lot greater and in the near future much more sophisticated than was done allegedly during the 2016 presidential campaign. He warned that the 2020 presidential election will be targeted by Russian malfeasance in a way that won't be even detectable.

    In other words what the top intelligence official is saying is:

    Despite not providing any credible evidence of Russian meddling in 2016, henceforth the Kremlin's influence campaigns on the American public will be so slick and so devious, we won't be able to even quantify it.

    This is subjectivity and Russophobia on steroids. Here, the logic goes from unproven assertion to imaginary assertion. This is "magical thinking", or put another way, delusional paranoia. And from the supposed top US intelligence official too. How is a country meant to formulate effective policies when it is guided by such deluded people?

    Another example of this "magical thinking" was seen in a recent article published by the New York Times, supposedly America's finest newspaper. The headline ran: ‘Russia's Playbook for Social Media Disinformation Has Gone Global'.

    READ MORE: Kremlin Dismisses Reports About Possible Russia's Meddling in Israeli Elections

    It refers to social media platforms Twitter and Facebook which reportedly detected "a spike in domestic disinformation, or Americans targeting fellow Americans with false or misleading information".

    Right, so now because social media companies are lately discovering all sorts of trash information on their sites and wacky discussions, that is being cited as "evidence" that "Russia's playbook has gone global".

    Still another example of "magical thinking" — away from the US for a moment — was given by French President Emmanuel Macron who blamed "the Russians" for partly fueling the nationwide public protests in his country. Again, no evidence is required, just a wild assertion that because France is in turmoil from popular revolt, then it must be the "devious Kremlin" behind it, not say, the fact that the French people are disgusted with an elitist president and his pro-rich economic policies.

    The truth about "Russian propaganda" is lot more mundane. The fact is that Russian news media like RT and Sputnik have been arguably giving far more accurate perspectives and coverage of recent international events than Western media counterparts.

    And it is this service of public information that has gained the Russian news media a fairly respectable following among international audiences, including large numbers of people in the US and across Europe.

    It is not so much a malign case of "information or propaganda warfare", and much more a prosaic case of Russian news media providing people with more reliable, accurate reportage, which then tends to explain events.

    Any number of topical issues attest to this. The war in Syria, for instance. Western news media have completely disgraced themselves in peddling a fantasy that the war was a "pro-democracy" cause. The government of President Bashar al-Assad was, they relentlessly claimed, a despotic regime gassing its own people.

    Russian media have, by contrast, given a more accurate and explicable rendering of the conflict as being due to a criminal regime-change operation orchestrated by the US government and its NATO partners. The facts of Western covert backing for proxy terror groups have emerged, in large part because of Russian media reporting and analysis.

    The Russian media coverage thus accords with the objective conditions in the Syrian conflict. Ordinary citizens around the world have recognized that Russian media coverage on Syria is far more reliable than the self-serving fantasies propagated by Western media dutifully in hock to their governments' covert and illegal regime-change agenda.

    Or look at the latest debacle over Venezuela. Western media are at it again, churning out the line from Washington and European lackeys that elected President Nicolas Maduro is somehow "illegitimate" and must be replaced by a minor opposition who is anointed by foreign powers.

    READ MORE: US Tech Giants Impede ‘Russian Meddling' Probe — Report

    Again, the official position of Russia and the perspective given by Russia news media is healthily skeptical of Western claims on Venezuela. Russian media have not indulged the false claims of "bad regime/good opposition". They have afforded important space and air time to critical analysis which more reliably explains the unrest in Venezuela as the outcome of criminal regime change instigated by Washington.

    People around the world appreciate this kind of intelligent, realistic perspective. This is simply good and independent journalism.

    But what the magical thinking of Western governments, so-called intelligence agencies and media is doing is portraying decent Russian news media as some kind of "ultra devious Russian propaganda". Why?

    Because Western audiences are rightly influenced by the Russian media coverage of world events. Not because these audiences are being duped into absorbing a "Kremlin agenda" but simply because the information and analysis they are obtaining actually accords with their perception of world events.

    We could go on. Is Ukraine being attacked by Russia, or was it taken over by a CIA-backed Neo-Nazi coup? The Western media give the former view, while Russian media at least give the latter perspective. Again, people can decide when they are properly informed.

    Western states and their media claim that Russia is "winning an information war" because Russian propaganda is so "magically"

    sophisticated and subversive. The truth is Western governments and media are losing "their information war" because they have been exposed over and over again telling bare-faced lies.

    READ MORE: Jerry Brown Says Russian Midterm Vote Meddling 'Very, Very Small' in Prank Call

    The truth about "Russian propaganda" is simply that Russian politicians are much more principled and decent than Western counterparts. And Russian news media are at least trying to genuinely provide a realistic account of major international events to reflect objective facts. Not so Western media which are foghorns for lies and disinformation.

    The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

    Related:

    BBC's One-Sided Narrative of Alleged Russia's Meddling is 'Ridiculous' - Analyst
    S&P Warns India Against Political Meddling With Central Bank
    US Tech Giants Impede ‘Russian Meddling’ Probe – Report
    Tags:
    Russiagate, Russophobia, meddling, intelligence, elections, 2016 US Presidential Run, 2016 US Presidential election, 2016 Election, United States, Russia