Media Hacking: Western Media’s Circle Jerk on Putin’s “Disappearance”

How Western media descended to sheer Foxification and tabloid journalism to inflate rumors and gossip to “Media Hack” the news and quite deliberately indulged in projecting their fantasies, hopes and desires into various theories on Putin’s absense from the public scene for a week.

March 16, 2015

The manufactured hysteria caused by Putin’s absence from the public scene for a week may be gauged by the ravings of those who rides the gravy train of Western journalism: covering bashing Russia.  

This apparently consists of getting up in the morning, hastily reading some Twitter feeds, and penning out an anti-Putin diatribe before breakfast that approvingly get retweeted by fellow minded Western journalists, assorted (group)think tanks, Russian liberals and of course the Western Governments who underwrite the entire enterprise.   

Spew and repeat daily.  Collect paycheck. 

Research, facts, logic, rationality, weighing options, don’t come into the picture.   Kim Kardashian doesn’t earn millions because she informs, ponders facts and is rational, so why should Western journalists?  Those Columbia Journalism Graduate loans don’t pay themselves.

What is Media Hacking?

As Borthwick puts it:

Media Hacking refers to the usage and manipulation of social media and associated algorithms to define a narrative or political frame.  Individuals, states, and non-state actors are increasingly using Media Hacking techniques to advance political agendas.

In other words certain ideas / rumors / allegations are advanced for political purposes that become memes for further memes and gain critical mass to become news.  This is part of the allegation to accepted truth transmutation process I previously alluded to about how Western Media can manufacture News from Nothing.

The Where-is-Putin Meme

The whole “where is Putin” meme started because of Putin postponed trip to Kazakhstan, due to illness as per a  “Kazakh government source” that confided to Reuters, who dutifully reported it on March 12, 2015.

From Reuters

That was amped up by the well oiled social media machinery within and without Russia to a point where it became news.  Was Putin ill? Was Putin dead? Was Putin with his girlfriend having a love child in Switzerland? Was Putin “overthrown”?

In the piece referred to above that  I wrote a few weeks ago to illustrate how Western MSM can manufacture News from Nothing, I used a parody on how random allegations of Putin being an alien are transmuted by Western media into a news story (without examining the logic of the allegations), Putin’s spokesman Peskov is asked about these “Putin is an alien” rumors.

From the Parody

In reality Perskov having tried to humorously deflect several inane queries, finally had enough.

From the New York Times

Having had a hand in causing the media hysteria in the first place, the Western media blamed Putin for having caused this hysteria. The sheer circular (il)logic is that Putin is so ubiquitous (which is to be condemned) that his absence causes hysteria (also to be condemned).

The essential lie underlying the manufactured hysteria is that Putin never disappears for a day from the public eye (unless there is something wrong with him) is disproved by perusing the easily accessible and searchable Kremlin website showing for example  no engagements between Jan 1-14th (a period during which he had three engagements the year before, even if it is the traditional holiday time).

The Putin Is Ill Meme

It’s quite plausible that Putin was/is ill with the flu as some outlets suggested.

As to why Peskov would not admit this and instead joked that “his handshake is strong”, it could be both a combination of traditional Russian practice not to discuss their leaders illness, combined with the reality that it would actually be amped anyway to create more hysteria and questions from the Western press who would either ask for even more details or assume anyway that’s just a cover for something sinister.
And here, one must point out that the U.S. White House corps have a rich history of not only not asking inconvenient questions of their Presidents but covering up their infirmities.  For example, Roosevelt’s polio and his need for a wheelchair was though occasionally acknowledged in media, de-emphasized especially at a time of war; Kennedy’s bad back which required a brace (and that inadvertently contributed to his death by the second bullet, unable as he was to duck forward having been hit by the first) was rarely discussed as were his affairs which were fairly well known to the media; to the present where various rumors about Obama’s marriage being on the rocks  (which it can be argued is a mental distraction to a leader and thus open to public questioning) are not mentioned in the mainstream let alone asked about in White House briefings.

In France meanwhile questioning the sexual peccadilloes of French politicians even while widely known is frowned upon; even when these politicians indulge in hardly concealed orgies.  And then there is Italy…

In other words, while the Western press can sanctimoniously claim that the “public has a right to know” in their line of questioning,  not only do different cultures have different norms of disclosure, but the clear intent of the Western media to embarrass the Russians and do some pot-stirring  rather than inform, is clear.

The Love Child Meme

A rumor evidently starting in the Swiss tabloid Blick that Alina Kabaeva, the purported girlfriend of Putin had a baby.  With zero evidence of pictures, trying to find Kabaeva (or friends), or indeed any concrete evidence that one would associate with serious journalism as opposed to tabloid gossip, this “news” was blasted across the Western media spectrum forcing a denial from Peskov (when asked by a Western “journalist”) which of course became news in itself. 

Spot if you can the difference between tabloid and serious outlets:

Tabloid and “Serious” Media Headlines

To repeat: a tabloid story – like the ones finds in checkout counters in Western supermarkets everyday – became the source for a “news” story blasted across the Western media landscape without any credible evidence.

Putin Was Deposed / Dead Meme

This is ultimate wet dream of Russian “liberals”, their Western media amplifiers and the Western governments who back the endevour.

Apparently, one can only achieve true Democracy by illegally overthrowing a man with an 86% approval rating, and letting Freedom flourish.  This is the dream of the “liberals” whose support overall is at 5% at best.

This sounds lovely in theory.  In practice, not only can one point out to the various regime changes in states where this did not work (and instead created chaos that echoed far beyond the borders of said states), but there is actually a historical precedent when this approach was tried in the 90s, after the Soviet Union was dissolved. 

Russia, freed from the Union like the other states, and led by a cuddly alcoholic, was essentially taken over for a while by the USG-IMF combine in an era called “shock therapy“.

This era which resulted in plunging Russia into poverty with 40% decline in GDP, living standards, increased mortality rates, crime and every other metric that actually matters to a person on the ground, was precisely the one that the Putin-Medvedev-Kudrin trio rescued Russia from.  The graph below tells the story.

Russian GDP (PPP) 1989-2013

So the West had a chance to impose the same type of “liberal” “one-size-fits-all” approach on Russia before regardless of history, culture and reality on the ground….and failed.

And foiled in their attempt to make Russia, like Greece or indeed much of the EU, basket case economies wholly dependent on Western bankers, these “liberals” dream of a coup to achieve their concept of Freedom and Democracy. 

So there were rumors spread and amplified of tanks in the Kremlinn and deaths of bodyguards.  A summary of the more astonishing claims can be found in this article on Palace Coup Fantasies

And then finally…Putin “reappears”

On Monday, March 16th, Putin showed up at a scheduled press meet with the Kyrghyz president aware but unruffled by the hysteria his “disappearance” had caused in the Western media.

In a rejoinder to Kyrghyz President Atambayev’s remarks about rumors being false , Putin quipped “Life would get boring without rumors.”  


The sheer anti-Putin rumor mongering and pot-stirring by the “free” “objective” “responsible” “serious” Western journalism, and the wholly irresponsible, gleeful way sheer rumors were spread (via Tweets of these “journalists”) and made “newsworthy” is an indication of the absolute “Foxification” of Western MSM regarding Russia (and indeed any US Government enemies, eg Venezuela).  

What died during the Putin “disappearance” is any remaining credibility of the Western media institutions, already eroded by the wholly one-sided reporting of the Ukrainian crisis, in seriously reporting global news.

And it was wholly self-induced.

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3 Responses to Media Hacking: Western Media’s Circle Jerk on Putin’s “Disappearance”

  1. Pingback: Putin Bashing – Short on Facts, Long on Allegations | ludwitt

  2. Pingback: Western Media Blackout: When News is not News | ludwitt

  3. I totally agree with the author of this entry. Especially the Guardian which has become a propaganda mill for demonizing Putin/Russia in the Ukraine conflict. More broadly, I find the journalists and editors of the Guardian to be incredibly arrogant. I finally stopped reading the Guardian a few months back as it kept getting on my nerves reading ever more anti-Russian propaganda. Thankfully CounterPunch has some decent writers giving the other side of the story.

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