is a Serbian-American journalist, blogger and translator, who wrote a regular column for Antiwar.com from 2000 to 2015, and is now senior writer at RT. Follow him on Twitter @NebojsaMalic
17 Mar, 2020 23:10
When all else fails, blame Russia. That seems to be the EU approach to deflecting blame from its response to the coronavirus pandemic, no doubt because it has worked so well for Democrats in the US or London in the Skripal affair.
As Brussels finally got around to locking down the EU borders on Tuesday, London’s Financial Times ran a ‘bombshell’ story blaming “Russian pro-Kremlin media” for a “significant disinformation campaign” to stoke “confusion, panic and fear” in the West and “aggravate the coronavirus pandemic crisis.”
This is based on a nine-page report by the strategic communications division of the European External Action Service, the EU’s de facto foreign ministry. The EEAS did not officially comment on the FT story.
First things first: “strategic communications” is bureaucrat-speak for public relations, meaning that this report – assuming it is authentic – was produced by the EEAS propaganda division. Secondly, it consists of generalities, cliches and tropes already worn out from four years of “Russiagate” hysteria in the US, down to these alleged efforts being “in line with the Kremlin’s broader strategy of attempting to subvert European societies from within by exploiting their vulnerabilities and divisions.”
It’s almost as if the PR flacks in Brussels plagiarized the work of James Comey, Jim Clapper and John Brennan from the infamous US “intelligence community assessment” blaming Russia for the 2016 election – down to segueing into a diatribe against RT instead of offering evidence.
Whether the EEAS report does so or not, the FT story takes just such a deceptive leap, going on about “Russian state-linked false personas and accounts” before abruptly bringing up the entirely unrelated subject of RT Spanish, whose number of social media shares recently put it “ahead of some big western media outlets.”
How dare they, as Greta Thunberg might say.
This isn’t the first attempt to blame Russia for “disinformation” about the pandemic. The US State Department bandied about one such conspiracy theory just last month. It seems to be the go-to tactic of Western propagandists to deflect criticism from their own governments, whether it’s Theresa May using the “highly likely” Skripal affair to distract from Brexit woes or the US establishment trying to leverage it against President Donald Trump via “Russiagate.” It doesn’t appear to matter that both ultimately failed to achieve their objectives; propaganda always doubles down.
Their insistence on conflating RT with the Russian government deserves a separate analysis, but suffice to say that various Western hacks just can’t seem to comprehend that a news organization will perforce cover a major news topic – which the covid-19 pandemic most certainly is, literally on the global level.
Those looking for “confusion, panic and fear” can find an abundance of them in the pronouncements of their own government officials and health experts, as well as mainstream Western news outlets.
There indeed is an epidemic of fake news about the coronavirus – witness the recent “marshall law” hoax in the US – but what the Eurospooks and FT either missed or chose to ignore is that it has targeted Russia too.
Completely ignoring their erstwhile rhetoric about universal values and global solutions, governments and media across the West are using the pandemic to settle internal political scores, while projecting blame on Moscow in order to deflect it from themselves.
Much like the coronavirus, hypocrisy apparently knows no bounds.
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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.