Extra! Azov: From ‘Neo-Nazi’ to ‘Celebrated’

Media branded Darya Dugina as an agent in Russia’s “disinformation war.”

Coverage of Dugina Bombing
Put Journalists ‘on Front Lines’

When Russian journalist Darya Dugina
was killed by a car bomb in Moscow
in August, CNN (8/27/22) framed her
death not as a terroristic attack on
the media but as a blow to “Russia’s
vast disinformation machine,” saying
Dugina was “on the front lines” of
Russia’s war effort. (CNN noted that
Dugina ran a “disguised English-language online platform that pushed
a pro-Kremlin worldview to Western
readers,” scolding her United World
International for not disclosing its
Russian origins—much like CNN
does not describe itself as a US-based
outlet, but rather as a “world leader
in online news and information.”)
NPR (8/24/22) called her a “Russian
propagandist” whose killing signaled
the war was coming to Russian elites
in their own territory. Foreign Policy
(8/26/22) called Dugina a “dead propagandist” whose “martyrdom” did
more to achieve her goals in death
than she could have hoped for in life.
These suggestions that journalists
who support their nation’s war aims
are fair game for assassination put
many US journalists in dangerous
positions—including name-brand
pundits like Thomas Friedman and
Bill O’Reilly who have called on the
US to commit war crimes in terms
more bloodthirsty than any attributed to Dugina (FAIR.org, 9/23/22).

Azov: From ‘Neo-Nazi’
to ‘Celebrated’

Three years ago, describing an
Australian white supremacist charged
with massacring 49 people in New
Zealand, the New York Times
(3/15/19) wrote: “On his flak jacket
was a symbol commonly used by the
Azov Battalion, a Ukrainian neo-Nazi
paramilitary organization.”
Last month, the Times ran a story
(10/4/22) that began, “Commanders of Ukraine’s celebrated Azov
Battalion have held an emotional
reunion with their families in Turkey,
Ukrainian officials said, honoring
the fighters released from Russian
confinement last month.” The story
went on to say that the group’s
fighting “has become a powerful
symbol of the suffering inflicted by
Russia and the resistance mounted
by Ukraine.”

Not a word in the article hinted at
the unit’s far-right politics, whose
founder hoped Ukraine would “lead
the white races of the world in a
final crusade…against Semite-led
Untermenschen (subhumans)”
(Guardian, 3/13/18). The group’s
insignia is closely modeled on a symbol of the German SS; an FBI report
asserted that Azov is “believed to
have participated in training and
radicalizing United States–based
white supremacy organizations”
(RFE/RL, 11/14/18).

The Washington Post,
Which Considers Itself a

Reporting on Russian citizenship being granted to Edward Snowden, who
revealed massive illegal domestic
surveillance by the National Security Agency, the Washington Post
(9/26/22) referred to “the 39-year-old
Snowden, who considers himself a
whistleblower....“ Maybe the Post
should return the Pulitzer Prize it
won (Washington Post, 4/14/14) for
reporting on the revelations of the

‘Democracy Dies in Darkness’
Washington Post headlines compiled
by Alan MacLeod (Twitter, 10/7/22):

• The CIA Funded a Culture War Against
Communism. It Should Do So Again.
• Biden Has Requested an Increase in
Defense Spending. It’s Not Nearly
Enough. (3/29/22)
• Drone Strikes Are Bad; No Drone
Strikes Would Be Worse (5/1/15)
• In the Long Run, Wars Make Us Safer
and Richer (4/25/14)

Fitting the Narrative

“I’ll never forget when the New York
Post sent me to Penn Station to ask
New Yorkers their thoughts on fare
evaders. Not one person cared. After
I sent my notes to the rewrite desk,
I got an angry call from an editor:
‘That’s not what we wanted.’ The
reporting didn’t fit their narrative.”
—Reporter Blake Patterson, now at
NOLA.com (Twitter, 10/5/22)

‘Holding Up the Hope’

David Barsamian: Talk about the
importance of independent progressive media like Democracy Now!
and Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting.
And, may I say, Alternative Radio?
Publishers like Verso, Haymarket,
Monthly Review, City Lights and
the New Press. Magazines like
Jacobin, The Nation, the Progressive and In These Times. Online
magazines like TomDispatch, the
Intercept and ScheerPost. Community radio stations like KGNU, WMNF
and KPFK. How important are they
in countering the dominant corporate

Noam Chomsky: What else is going
to counter it? They are the ones holding up the hope that we’ll be able
to find ways to counter these highly
harmful, destructive developments
we’re discussing.
The core method is, of course,
education. People have to come to
understand what’s happening in
the world. That requires the means
to disseminate information and
analysis, opening up opportunities
for discussion, which you’re not
going to find, for the most part, in
the mainstream. Maybe occasionally
at the margins. A lot of what we’ve
been talking about is not discussed
at all, or only marginally within the
major media. So these conversations
have to be brought to the public
through such channels.
—The Nation (10/11/22) 

‘High Crime’—Compared to What?

“GOP Redoubles Efforts to Tie Democrats to High Crime Rates,” the New
York Times (9/26/22) reported. The FBI estimates there were about 396
violent crimes per 100,000 people in 2021; that’s down 2% since 2020, up 9%
since 2014 (the safest year for violent crime in recent decades) and down
48%, nearly half, since it peaked in 1991. The New York Times summed
that up in its headline as “high crime rates”—because, after all, that’s what
Republicans want to tie Democrats to.



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