Fake News

Half-Truths and Blunt Lies

A Malaysian air crash investigator works at a crash site of the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 near the village of Hrabove (Grabovo), Donetsk region
Investigator at the wreckage of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17, which was shot down on close to the Ukrainian border with Russia in July 2014. Source: Reuters

What follows is a letter to the editor from Mergen Mongush, a Russian economics writer and linguist in Moscow, in response to Handelsblatt Global’s January 26 article ”Europe’s Tiny Band of Truth Warriors.” The article was about efforts by an E.U. task force to shed light on “fake news.”  Mr. Mongush questions the West’s one-sided assessment of information surrounding the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17, which was shot down close to the Ukrainian border with Russia in July 2014.

On reading your scare-headline, ”Europe’s Tiny Band of Truth Warriors,” I remembered a recent visit to Moscow by my Norwegian friend. Needless to say that reading the Western media – including, possibly your daily – he was sure that we were about to invade his country. But he was quite baffled at hearing from me that our Buk (the Russian missile system Dutch investigators concluded was used to shoot down flight MH17) is a radar-guided missile and could hardly have been launched by a Kalashnikov-toting pro-Russian rebel. That fact is carefully suppressed in the West, isn’t it?

Even the Dutch prosecutors are using your media’s poetic license of cozening its readers with half-truths by refusing to reveal the radar data during the Malaysian Boeing crash at their last press conference, with the Ukrainian side bluntly lying that all their radars were switched off on that day.

Such tailor-made news is nothing new where you are. Many of you still believe that an American married to a Russian woman killed President Kennedy by sending two bullets at him from two different locations from one manually-operated bolt rifle within two seconds.

Yes, sir, two seconds as a film proves. That’s what comes of being chivvied into believing that even a Russian woman can turn her American hubby into a superhuman villain.

Treating derogatorily what Moscow says (we do occasionally say a lie) and believing blindly what Kiev does (they do occasionally say the truth) somewhat distorts the picture.

Unfortunately, that bigotry is riding again. And the Ukrainians exploit that in their propaganda to string you along, although less and less successfully. I know what I am talking about as your media wisely ignored this fake (and rather stupid) story by their army and Kiev this time failed to pile on the agony.

No doubt in this catch-as-catch-can Internet propaganda era, Russia led by a po-faced, stiff-necked autocrat with all the media in his pocket, is the only evil. Well, I understand. Now every Tom, Dick, and Harry anywhere in the world, including Russia, can broadcast his real or fake news via the ‘net. I am just saying that treating derogatorily what Moscow says (we do occasionally say a lie) and believing blindly what Kiev does (they do occasionally say the truth) somewhat distorts the picture.

 

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