What does “media bias” in Russian TV mean? A short example as of today

Sep 1, 2014 by

What does  “media bias” in Russian TV mean? A short example as of today

I have been watching “Rossija 24” in Russian today, a few news sections in a row. I had not done it for a while so I hoped for a fresh view from the outside. I  noted down phrases that struck me as different from the one used in the Western media.

The first minutes of the news sections are devoted to the Ukrainian crisis. The Eastern part of Ukraine is called:

  • “Luganskaya narodnaya respublika” – The Lugansk People’s Republic.
  • “Donetskaja narodnaya respublika”- The Donetsk People’s Republic.

The Ukraine crisis in in the Russian news is called:

  •  Gumanitarno-vojennaja (or bojevaja) operacja – The humanitarian-war (armed) operation

“Humanitarian-armed” seems like a contradiction in terms, but this is exactly the wording that is being used. It is a headline and a recurrent motif which appears in between the military scenes like a short add during a longer film.

Whenever there are army movements shown, a warlike dramatic music is playing in the background, reminiscent of a heroic film. At this point I cannot escape an impression that violence is shown in a way that is more pertinent to entertainment programs than to transmission of current information.

After the war on Ukraine, we get a short snapshot on Crimea. We see departed hotels and empty beaches. Despite sunshine, the view is rather bleak. In the commentary, we hear about “positive developments in the Crimean case”. The speaker points out that previously all those hotels belonged to a Ukrainian oligarch who has now been imprisoned. His finances have been given over to a Russian fund, he says.

The economic news is devoted to “Sila Sibiry”, the force of Siberia , the name of the company which will operate the new gap pipeline from Russia to China – a project opened today in Yakutst . We see a huge pipeline, from three different angles, mostly from below so that it appears even bigger. The commentator stresses that this long-term strategic project will   bring new employment to Russia.

Parallel to that, we see the moving subtitles with short news all along. The moving  bar consists of around 10 different news snapshots, out of which 7-8 begin with “Putin”. Unfortunately I was not able to note them down.

There is a short snapshot on the interview of Mr. Putin with a BBC correspondent. Putin speaks of a need for dialogue and small steps in the process. These appeals are the opposite of what is shown explicitly and suggested implicitly on the Russian TV: the politics of decisive (armed) steps which are being presented in a heroic light.

The problem is that using a specific expression, no matter if true or not,  in a similar contex tmany times has a high potential of being believed. How high the prophetic nature of those phrases is, is another question that I dread to pose.

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