Disarming the U.S. on the “Information Battlefield”

Paul Goble, a specialist on international broadcasting and the propaganda war being waged over Ukraine, writes that “…as effective as [Vladimir] Putin’s disinformation campaign has been inside Russia, it has been even more successful beyond that country’s borders.” One problem, he says, is that the Western media treat Putin’s lies as just another point of view.

Another problem is that the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), the federal agency that oversees all U.S. civilian international media, seems to be completely clueless as to how to win the information war and make sure truth triumphs over lies.

Concerning the role played by the Western media, Goble contends that “…many Western outlets report what Moscow ‘says,’ while describing any Ukrainian government statement as ‘claims.’ Invariably, doing so is called objectivity but in fact it is anything but. Instead, it gives an opening to governments like Putin’s, which are prepared to lie and to spread their lies widely, confident that what they say, however untrue or outrageous, will be reported.”

This is one reason why the idea that Ukraine shot down the Malaysian plane, thinking it was Putin’s jet, has gotten so much attention in the West. It gets picked up as just another point of view, even though it is a blatant lie and was designed as such. Russia has a propaganda channel, Russia Today (RT), which broadcasts this disinformation inside the U.S. on a regular basis.

Showing his own receptivity to Russian propaganda, former Texas Rep. Ron Paul went on a new conservative news channel, Newsmax TV, to suggest that the government of Ukraine had shot the plane down. The former Republican congressman has been a regular guest on RT, and has wandered far from the days when he claimed to be an anti-communist.

Goble says many in the West fall victim to Moscow’s lies, “either out of a confusion between balance and objectivity, a conviction that all governments lie and that no one should be surprised, or a commitment to maintaining good relations with the Russian government no matter what it does.” It is not clear what motivates Ron Paul, but his acceptance of the Kremlin point of view makes a mockery out of his proclaimed devotion to liberty around the world.

Goble writes that the real challenge is “countering disinformation campaigns,” and that an effective response “requires the development of channels to deliver alternative messages, including international broadcasting.” He goes on to say that “… if the U.S. had a capacity to broadcast to the Russian people directly, Moscow would not have been able to shape Russian public opinion in the way that it has.” This comment reflects Putin’s largely successful effort to ban or restrict international broadcasting inside Russia.

He is referring to another Russian propaganda operation known as the so-called “Institute for Democracy and Cooperation” in New York, described by Goble as “responsible for promoting Moscow’s views in the United States.”

The website of this Russian “think tank” says that it “actively creates and develops relationships with leading NGOs, universities, and research centers,” including:

  • New York University
  • University of California
  • Stanford University
  • Carleton University (Canada)
  • The Council on Foreign Relations
  • The Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • The National Democratic Institute
  • The Center for the National Interest
  • The Kennan Institute
  • The Center for Research, Regional Education and Outreach (SUNY New Paltz)
  • The International Republican Institute
  • The National Committee on Foreign Policy of the United States
  • The Russian American Cultural Heritage Center
  • The Foreign Press Association.

Goble notes that the group’s director, Andranik Migranyan, “gained notoriety earlier this year when he suggested that Adolf Hitler would have gone down in history as the greatest German leader of all time if he had stopped before invading Poland.”

Migranyan had written that “Hitler was gathering German lands,” and that if he had stopped at “uniting, without a single drop of blood,” Germany with these so-called German lands, “he would be remembered in his country’s history as a politician of the highest order.”

In a major scandal that we have covered for several years, taxpayer-supported MHz Networks distributes RT as well as Al-Jazeera, the voice of the Muslim Brotherhood, on public TV stations under the rubric of “Programming for globally-minded people.”

The facts are clear: not only is the U.S. facilitating Russian propaganda operations, but our tax dollars are going to make it all possible.

Is there anyone in Congress willing to expose and stop this insanity?

Full article: Disarming the U.S. on the “Information Battlefield” (Trevor Loudon)

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