Digital Empire

Questions You Should be Asking the World Around You

American Journalists Sometimes Get Stupid, but Sometimes, they Advocate Genocide.



From RI

Not much surprises me anymore when it comes to the treatment of Russia by mainstream Western media. But this floored me.

My first thought was that the author must have been the victim of a bad editor and that he couldn’t possibly have approved of the headline himself.

Then I saw him tweeting this and was promptly disabused of that notion.


Is now a good time to “launch an attack” on Russia? I don’t know Ezra, why don’t you tell us? You seem to know a thing or two about it.

I suppose it really depends on whether you think dropping a nuclear bomb on and murdering hundreds of thousands of Russian men, women and children would be a “good” idea in the first place. After that, the timing would seem pretty irrelevant.

But really, where do you suggest, Ezra?

Moscow? St. Petersburg? Maybe that’s too obvious. Might be better to catch those awful Russians off guard with something less predictable. Vladivostok? Irkutsk?

You see, replying to critics on Twitter, Ezra says he wants us to “see past” the headline to the real meat of the piece — but frankly, when you publish something so utterly shameful and incendiary, the content underneath it becomes almost irrelevant.

Try as I might, I can’t understand how any journalist or editor could hit the publish button on something like that. Here’s a question Vice might want to consider.

Could you just imagine the US media reaction if @RT_com had a headline: “Now would be a good time to nuke the USA?”

— Bryan MacDonald (@27khv)
July 10, 2015

I can only imagine the outrage and sweeping condemnation RT would face after such a headline. The word ‘propaganda’ would be flying around for days, and rightly so. The headline itself would be making headlines:

Russia Today suggests launching nuclear attack on the US

RT thinks it’d be a “pretty good” time to nuke America

Putin’s propaganda channel suggests nuking the US

Because we can talk about nuclear strategy, early warning systems, first strike capability and ICBMs all day, but what it comes down to is that we are talking about human beings — and this kind of thing dehumanizes.

This dehumanization is not restricted to Russia. In fact, Russia gets off easily compared to some. Flippant headlines about nuking Iran have already been gracing the pages of newspapers for years. And here’s a particularly outrageous one from US News & World Report recently about Iraq:

Apparently the US is “too careful” when it comes to civilian deaths & we should all just “get used to” Iraqis dying.

— Danielle Ryan (@DanielleRyanJ)
June 28, 2015

Irresponsible dehumanization of perceived geopolitical foes prepares Americans for endless war. It prepares people to not really care too much about the human costs of war.

To stand by, unquestioning, you’d have to see these places not as countries filled with normal people living normal lives, but as filled with menacing, backward barbarians who probably deserve it.

And here’s some proof that it’s working.


As I wrote to Vice’s editor — and rarely do I feel bothered enough to write to an editor — this is not about taking ‘sides’ on the debate over Ukraine and Russia. This is about not losing sight of the responsibility on the shoulders of reporters and editors to treat this subject with the respect, seriousness and restraint that it deserves.

We need to do better. No excuses.

h t t p : / /


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