I apologize for sporadic postings, lately. I’m in in the midst of a writing frenzy — submitting proposals, responding to agents, and churning out text. My ego hasn’t swollen, yet, because nothing is set in stone. By the end of this month or the next, I’ll know more. Hopefully I’ll have a few contracts in hand.
When in a writing frenzy, my mind focuses on the text I’m writing as if it were a dot made by a laser pointer. I see nothing else. Think nothing else. It’s a great feeling. I LOVE being productive. I love to be shocked that five hours passed without my noticing. I love to see raw text the next day, written and ready for a re-read and edit. I LOVE it when my creative juices flow quickly downstream like a river of words. A writing frenzy is proof that I successfully climbed over the hump of many painful and difficult things in the recent past. I’m writing again! This, my friends, is glorious!
I’m writing on three completely unrelated topics, switching from one to the other as the inner muse directs. One of those topics is propaganda, specifically the propaganda swirling around the Ukraine war.
My research on wartime propaganda includes a spread sheet of battle claims made by Ukrainians, Russians, the English and Americans — the time it would take for me to translate French, since the language still challenges me, makes it impossible to include French-language sources. I’m sticking with English. For now.
Anyway, lets say there’s a battle somewhere near the Ukrainian-Russian border in which the Ukrainians claim they killed X number of Russians troops, Y number of munitions caches and Z number of missile launchers, etc. The Russians, in contrast, make completing claims, often about the same things. On top of that, both the American and British media amplify, but rarely qualify, these claims.
So, which claimant is most accurate?
The answer will surprise you.
I’m not finished with the spreadsheet, but can tell you that Americans are the worst. They consistently bloat the success of the Ukrainian forces and harp on the failures of the Russians. Often, they’re not even close to the truth. At times, they’re an exponent off. This surprised me.
Long ago, when I worked as a reporter on a national daily I checked and rechecked every statement that could have possibly been in error. Today, it seems that most reporters in the American media accept Ukrainian claims uncritically. American reporters even go as far as to exaggerate the already inflated Ukrainian claims. They don’t appear to verify Ukrainian claims before their copy goes to the editor’s desk and it doesn’t seem that America editors bother to check these claims either.
Perhaps this makes sense. It is admittedly difficult to figure out what’s “really” going on. Few reporters are on the ground who would be able to feed the media accurate information. During the Iraq war, however, reporters were “embedded” with the troops — but in this war, as far as I can tell, they’re only embedded with Ukrainians, and rarely at that.
Why not just say this? Why not say that the Ukrainians claim 630 Russians were killed in a New Years attack on a training facility/school a few miles over the front line, and that the Russians claim that only 63 were killed? (I just made these numbers up.)
Ukrainian claims are almost as bad as the American ones. Brits are a bit better. England has a wider range of opinion writers. Sometimes, the truth slips in!
Russian claims are usually, though not always, the most accurate. The Russians are not truth-tellers in every circumstance, but are closer to the truth, overall, and by far, than the Americans and Ukrainians. Russians tend to go silent when they don’t want information to be publicized — Americans just lie.
Every skirmish leaves evidence or marks that can be analyzed. Satellite imagery can prove, or disprove, the veracity of claims made about a particular locale … but there is a delay. The evidence that either proves or disproves these claims becomes clearer days, if not weeks, later.
I must say that the Ukrainians are hysterically off the mark, at times. They’ll claim, for instance, that EVERY missile was intercepted even though on live television, twitter and other sources including cell phone footage, burning buildings are clearly seen. Since the Ukrainians and the CIA/NATO propaganda machines are joined at the hip, whatever the three-letter agencies want Americans to see in print is quickly picked up by the American media, amplified a bit, and regurgitated without shame or attribution to the American public.
As my spread sheets expand, this pattern is becoming clearer.
We’re the worst liars of the bunch. The Russians lie far less frequently. Maybe the fear of the truth is why, in Europe, political elitists censor the news? It’s easy to get around their silly censorship, but takes effort and a bit of know-how. The fact that Europeans censor and Americans outright lie troubles me.
I’m ashamed to be an American, right now.