An article by the Moon of Alabama (MoA) blogger, on February 5th, decimated the credibility of two American newspapers in just that one shot. It was aptly headlined “New York Times Editors Lie, Obfuscate Facts, To Reinforce Their False Russia Narrative”. The following commentary will presume the reader has already read it, because this is a commentary upon his commentary, which was a brilliant (though I shall also note, imperfect) analysis. So, that article should be read first, because the following builds upon it.
His central point — documented by links to sources that are vastly more credible than either of those U.S. ‘news’papers is — pertains to the vicious distortions in the U.S.-and-allied ‘news’-media concerning Alexei Nalvany, a Russian politician who back in 2012 got caught by Russia’s equivalent of America’s FBI having Navalny’s top aide try to persuade a person he thought to be an MI6 (UK’s CIA) agent that MI6 should annually donate tens of millions of dollars to Navalny’s organization because doing this would provide billions of dollars of benefit to UK corporations if Navalny would then succeed and become Russia’s leader. How much reporting about that videoed conversation is there in ‘news’-media such as the New York Times and Washington Post? None. Is that because American audiences wouldn’t be interested in seeing and hearing that conversation between a Russian politician’s right-hand man and a person he thought represented MI6? (After all, Navalny is all over America’s ‘news’-media these days.) Or is it instead because America’s major ‘news’-media are still propagandists for the U.S. Government, against what it — that Government by America’s billionaires — designates to be America’s ‘enemies’?
What would have happened if, say, a candidate for the U.S. Presidency had, years ago, been caught seeking financial backing from a Russian spy, and his right-hand man had told the spy that Russia’s providing help to that U.S. politician’s campaign would be enormously beneficial for Russians “who have billions at stake” in regime-change in America? Would that politician likely be tried for treason in America? Why isn’t this question being debated — not even being raised — in America? Is this a “free press,” or is it a government-controlled press — a press that’s controlled by the country’s billionaires (of both Parties), who also fund the political parties and who want Russia to be effectively controlled again by agents of the U.S. Government as had been the case between 1990 and 2000? (After all, during 1953-1979, America backed Iran’s Government, but after ‘we’ lost it in 1979, America has — yet again — been trying for “regime-change” there. America’s billionaires, once they grab something and then lose it, become obsessed to get it back.)
Near the end of MoA’s commentary, he quotes from the Times’s editorial, which said that,
The opposition [the Times pretending here that Navalny is “the opposition” instead of one of many political opponents of the current Government, and not even a dominant one] now has 40 offices across Russia, and most of its millions of followers are young people who have not challenged the Kremlin before. Among people ages 18 to 24, Mr. Putin’s popularity has slid [ https://archive.is/Jd2kK ] from 36 percent in December 2019 to 20 percent.
That link in the NYT’s article is to the Washington Post’s ‘news’-report.
MoA continues by saying, “The last sentence is an outright and intentional lie.” However, actually, it’s merely a blunder, the NYT repeating and linking to a false ‘news’-report by the WP. Then MoA continues further, by saying that, “The link provided goes to a Washington Post story which does not include those numbers.” That statement is erroneous: the WP story does contain those numbers, and it links to this Russian-language news-report from Levada, which doesn’t include those numbers — neither the 20 nor the 36. The liar was the WP, which fabricated the “20” and the “36.” The NYT merely repeated their lie. (Both ‘news’papers do lots of repeating other people’s lies as being, instead, truths or ‘news’. One common way to avoid reporting a given truth is to select to report only lies that have already been published to the contrary of it; and, especially, ‘news’-reporting about Russia does that, routinely, in America’s billionaires-controlled ‘news’-media, such as NYT and WP.)
The English-language version of that Levada poll-report is https://www.levada.ru/en/2021/02/04/presidential-ratings-and-the-state-of-the-nation, and it says actually that 18-24-year-olds 51% “Approve” and 46% “Disapprove” when answering to the question “Overall, do you approve or disapprove of Vladimir Putin’s actions as president of Russia?” However, the “Approve” percentage among all voters is shown in this Levada polling-report as being 64% — and the WP doesn’t mention that fact, at all; they instead hide it (a far more important fact) from their readers. So, not only does the WP article lie about both the ‘20’ and the ‘30’, but it ignores the far more important fact that the poll found that 64% of the total sample “Approve” of Putin’s job-performance.
Furthermore: the Levada-poll’s question “Name a few politicians, public figures whom you most trust” got 14 persons named by more than 1% of the 1,616 respondents, and at the top of those 14 was “Putin” at 29%, next “Mishustin” (12%), next “Zhirinovsky” (10%), next “Shoigu” (8%), next “Lavrov” (7%), and next (6th-place, for what the Times calls the leader of “the opposition”) “Navalny” (5%, which is his highest percentage ever). The Washington Post’s ‘news’-report (which was being cited uncritically by the New York Times) asserts only the lie: “Putin’s popularity among people ages 18 to 24 has slumped from 36 percent to 20 percent since the end of 2019, according to December polling by the Levada polling agency.” Those American ‘news’papers are about as trustworthy as they were back in 2002, about ‘Saddam’s WMD’ and his threat of ‘a mushroom cloud’.
On February 7th, John Helmer, the longest-serving foreign correspondent in Russia, did a detailed analysis of this Levada poll; and, at the end, he noted that, “Russian disapproval of Navalny has been growing, however. In September, 50% of Levada’s national sample expressed their disapproval of him; this has now risen  to 56%. More than two-thirds of those polled said they had not changed their view of Navalny during the months of intensive publicity. The growth of positive sentiment towards him during this time, according to Levada, has been concentrated in the 18-24 age group and those viewing Twitter, Instagram, Telegram, and other social media.”
On February 1st, Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Russia’s equivalent to America’s State Department) issued a detailed 8,000-word “Press release on Russian-German contacts on the ‘Alexey Navalny case’” responding to and largely contradicting statements that had been made by the German Government regarding Navalny, and his alleged Novichok poisoning and the medical treatments he had received for that in Germany. How much reporting about this detailed reply by the Russian Government has been published in the U.S. and its vassal-nations (‘allies’)?
Maybe the New York Times should replace its motto (always a lie), “All the news that’s fit to print”, by “All the lies that fit we print.” Any lie that’s against Russia will “fit.” Always has — probably always will. They (like the WP) have been reliable, in the wrong way.
On January 21st, Felix Salmon headlined “Media trust hits new low” in America, and documented it mainly from the “Edelman Trust Barometer 2021”, which found, for example, that during the prior 12 months, Americans’ trust in media had declined 15% among Trump voters, and 3% among Biden voters. It also found that, overall, worldwide — among the 27 countries that were surveyed — trust in the media was the highest in Indonesia, China, India, and Singapore, and the lowest in Russia, Japan, France, and UK. U.S. was slightly below average — slightly worse than Brazil and Italy, and slightly better than Nigeria and Spain.
Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.