English Journalism Politics Russia

Will Putin’s CNN Interview Herald a New Era of Media-Savvy International Leaders?

Matthew Chance of CNN writes about his interview with Vladimir Putin, some 7 years after the last one for the American news channel:

Putin […] was constantly watching CNN to see how the conflict was being reported. And he didn’t like it. He hated it […] there was no one on TV putting across the Russian version of events.

Why was there no one? Because there is no access in Russia, we were not allowed to go to the Russian side of the conflict zone. No Russian officials were available to talk to us, as usual. Georgia played the media game, Russia did not.

A decision was taken then to change tack, to engage with the Western media, to aggressively argue Russia’s side. The Kremlin, which constantly complains of a bad press, could have learned this lesson years ago. But hopefully they see the value of us now. Doesn’t mean we agree with them, or that appearing on CNN will convert the West to Russia’s line.

Putin has made a few allegations, some of them ringing more true than others. But their truthness is not as important as the fact that they have been heard by many people that until yesterday could only get their own Government’s propaganda. Now they can see an actual “foreign” and “enemy” leader speak his mind in front of the cameras, a person and not just a communique’.

Anyway, the simple fact that the American and Russian versions of events cannot be both right at the same time, could and should encourage a little more critical thinkings…and that cannot be bad.

Interestingly, the lesson of how to avoid a bad press has been recently learned by Prime Minister Wen Jiabao of China too.

Next in line should be Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, and Mohammed Ahmadinejad of Iran. For some reason neither of them has realized his potential in terms of worldwide media coverage. Perhaps Putin’s experience will change that: they do look like great TV material and if only they’d abandon the more hard-to-digest bits of their ideologies, many more people would watch (and listen) to them.

AGW catastrophism Climate Change Global Warming Omniclimate Science Skepticism

Enough With the Prostitution of Science

Dr Michael Fitzpatrick takes advantage of the publication of two new books on the lies behind much of the anti-AIDS campaigns to make a strong point about the dangerous coupling of political interests with experts’ high-minded society-changing goals:

in a 1996 commentary on the British AIDS campaign […] journalist Mark Lawson accepted that the public had been misled over the threat of AIDS, but argued that the end of promoting sexual restraint (especially among the young) justified the means (exaggerating the risk of HIV infection): as he put it, ‘the government has lied and I am glad’.

This sort of opportunism is not confined to AIDS: in other areas where experts are broadly in sympathy with government policy – such as passive smoking, obesity and climate change – they have been similarly complicit in the prostitution of science to propaganda.

A few details that may or may not sound quite close to contemporary AGW campaigning:

  • the AIDS bureaucracy [is] a ‘byzantine’ world…in which ‘money eclipses truth’.
  • the British AIDS story is an example of a ‘glorious myth’ – a tale that is ‘gloriously or nobly false’, but told ‘for a good cause’.
  • ‘estimates and projections are “cooked” or made up’.
  • [they were] manipulating statistics to maximise their scare value
  • exaggerated claims for the scale of the HIV epidemic (and the risks of wider spread) […] enable authorities to claim the credit for subsequently lower figures, as they ‘ride to glory’ on curves showing declining incidence
  • the main problem of the mendacity […] is that it leads to misdirected, ineffective and wasteful campaigns […] while the real problems […] are neglected
  • over the past decade, mainstream AIDS scientists, including most infectious disease epidemiologists, have virtually all uncritically accepted the many “glorious” myths and misconceptions UNAIDS and AIDS activists continue to perpetuate’
Italiano Olimpiadi

Scoperta Un’Altra Falsita’ Olimpica

Di questo passo, fra recitazioni nascoste e antidoping fasullo, la credibilita’ delle Olimpiadi scendera’ a livelli inferiori persino di quella dei Reality Show…

Un’altra finzione di livello olimpico e’ stata rivelata in Australia. L’orchestra che suono’ all’inaugurazione delle Olimpiadi di Sydney nel 2000 fece solo finta di suonare. I “pezzi” erano stati tutti pre-registrati, onde evitare imbarazzanti “stecche”…