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I thankfully missed most of the Ukraine-related disputes on ET in recent weeks. But, all across the internet forums and blogs, I didn't fail to notice how readily an awful lot of commenters critical of Western governments and mainstream media accept any conspiracy theory based on claims from official Russian sources or crackpot sites. Some people are so focused on Western propaganda and spin that they go on paranoia overdrive and can't notice propaganda and spin from other sources, and then call ET an Atlanticist, Russophobic trash heap.

What this reminds me is the despair over the thinking of Baby-Boomer-generation intellectuals in my own region I felt from around the time of the Iraq War: they lived through 'real existing Socialism' in which they learnt to suspect and de-construct the all-pervasive state propaganda, but just couldn't see that there is all-pervasive propaganda in the "free" West, too (be it state- or corporate-funded), which they ere parroting without any use of that critical thinking they prided themselves with.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Aug 15th, 2014 at 03:47:48 PM EST
Wow, we get talked about. Well, I guess it's better than not being talked about.

I guess I've missed all the recent stuff about Ukraine here, there's only so much mileage you can get from "we don't know"

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri Aug 15th, 2014 at 03:54:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"We don't know" means you are Atlanticist and Russophobe. Just like "Israel does wrong things" means you're an antisemite.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Aug 15th, 2014 at 04:37:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Atlanticist, Russophobic trash heap."

O yes! The North Atlantic will rise again!

Jeder Schuss ein Russ!

Must be a first, this acccusation.

by IM on Fri Aug 15th, 2014 at 04:06:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sorry, what were you saying? (I was busy picking up my paycheck from the Agency).
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Aug 15th, 2014 at 04:35:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Some people are so focused on Western propaganda and spin that they go on paranoia overdrive and can't notice propaganda and spin from other sources

I was wondering about the exact same thing, and settled on a variant that slightly differs in formulation, though I think it comes down to much of the same: some people distrust (their own, Western) government so much, that any information coming from non-western parties is considered trustworthy.

There is Kool-Aid being drunk in the States, so what do people drink in Europe or Russia?

by Bjinse on Fri Aug 15th, 2014 at 05:05:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Dunno, but beer works for me

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri Aug 15th, 2014 at 05:29:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think people distrust Western governments so much because - you know - there's a gigantic, vile, stinking pile of evidence that Western governments lie a lot.

At best.

Suggesting this means everyone immediately believes Russian propaganda seems odd, and not entirely convincing.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sun Aug 17th, 2014 at 05:39:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If it were only a suggestion, and if it included "everyone". But there's a tendency for some to see the West™, its governments and media, as systematically 100% lying (I'm not saying that's necessarily a mistake), while Russia is an honourable victim, the white knight on the world stage. This is the mirror image of Cold War propaganda that posited the US as the champion of freedom and Soviet Russia as the Empire of Evil, and it is even blindly espoused by some on the left. We've seen examples here recently, and there are others elsewhere on the internet.

Nothing wrong with keeping a healthy, sceptical distance from it.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Aug 17th, 2014 at 07:13:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
afew:
But there's a tendency for some to see the WestTM, its governments and media, as systematically 100% lying (I'm not saying that's necessarily a mistake), while Russia is an honourable victim, the white knight on the world stage.

We are conditioned heavily to think dualistically... either/or instead of both/and.

We seek polarity and polemic because our brains are softwired that way through what passes for Kulcha.

50's thinking, iow. Freaking John Wayne BS. The senescent reptiles running the planet have prolonged their dissipated existences with secret monkey-gland extracts and infusions of endangered species' genitalia so they can resist death, preferring to visit it on the rest of the biosphere instead.

Probably something to do with Id-projection in a narcissistic fugue state of limbic predation fantasies, you never can tell these days...

Or they could be just nuts!

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun Aug 17th, 2014 at 10:54:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well - up to a point.

Thing is, the official policy here at ET has created a site that almost no one reads any more, because it's perceived as hostile to any point of view that challenges the mainstream Western line on foreign policy and almost guaranteed to dismiss other views as 'conspiracy theory.'

If that's your aim, great.

But I'll just remind you historically, Western governments have been deeply involved in conspiracies, and it's counterfactual to pretend that they haven't - and by extension wouldn't now.

I think there's a misguided attempt to make ET more credible, when in fact - paradoxically - it actually makes ET less credible as a source of useful political commentary.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Aug 18th, 2014 at 11:30:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ThatBritGuy:
hostile to any point of view that challenges the mainstream Western line on foreign policy

You've been here for years. You can write that and keep a straight face?

And can you further enlighten us as to what you actually know about the perceptions of large numbers of readers who you say don't read here any more? As compared to other political discussion sites that, presumably, all go in for CT scuttlebutt and pull in the crowds, with a resulting high standard of interesting discussion?

ThatBritGuy:

a misguided attempt to make ET more credible

It's not that at all. It's simply to keep discussion along lines where we can make a different (and imo better) contribution than the hair-on-fire battles over this or that supposed piece of evidence.

 

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Aug 18th, 2014 at 12:22:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
...evidence that Western governments lie a lot.
"When it is serious you have to lie."

Of course this also applies to Putin. An important factor in the success of a lie is the ability of the liar to assert control over as many information sources as possible, so as to ensure that the desired opinions are supported and to prevent the release of dis-confirming evidence. See Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden and the Alexander Litvinenko incident. Inside Russia, Putin has a higher degree of such control than does the US Government in the USA. Outside Russia the USA has the highest level of control, not least because of NATO, but not extending to China, Venezuela, etc. The 'bible' for this was Bernays' Propaganda, which was the formal statement of his views on how this is done, based in part on his time at the US Office of Public Information during WW I.

As a US citizen I am most concerned with the actions of my own country, the current hegemon. Had the former Ukrainian government likely fallen from internal conflicts or natural death, which no one here believes, I would be much more critical of Russia. I fail to see how 'Western' control of Ukraine will benefit any but a tiny group in the USA, even though it would greatly gratify the Neocons. The current, ongoing civil war in Ukraine has been a disaster for those in the Donbas and it will get worse if/when the government of Ukraine succeeds in crushing the oppostion, not least because of the resulting gutting of the economy of the Donbas.

Propaganda is, first and foremost, a tool of war. IMO the current civil war in Ukraine was provoked by the USA through it euphemistically called 'soft power'. This does affect how I look at further developments. This sub-thread began with an invitation from Bjinse to discuss actual evidence, of which he provided a link to five photos. Two of those photos raised qualified questions in my mind and I so stated.

I hope that his be my last post on the subject of MH 19. At a minimum it is not clear that the propaganda generated by this incident is proportional to the actual cause of the incident, what ever that might be. In any case such discussion seems unwelcome.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Aug 17th, 2014 at 12:16:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
(Or MH 17, 18 as I have variously referred to them.)

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Aug 17th, 2014 at 12:28:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Already familiar gap patterns in the Western posturing and media are already enough to have suspicions. The variety of crackpot cites I casually visit is not great - and I do sorting out BS myself quickly. As for the Russian propaganda - I certainly see numerous moans about it much more often than encounter it myself. Didn't we just wonder why Putin is so silent? The only Russian site that I deliberately visit is pro-Western.
by das monde on Sat Aug 16th, 2014 at 04:23:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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