The New York Times’ Latest Report About “Russian Propaganda” Is Really A Nothingburger

The New York Times’ Latest Report About “Russian Propaganda” Is Really A Nothingburger

By Andrew Korybko

There’s nothing surprising about the claim that Russia’s military and intelligence services feed information to its national broadcasters since the US’ analogues do the same as evidenced by their outlets’ daily reports citing unnamed administration officials. This in and of itself doesn’t mean that the information they were given is false, but just that coordination between state structures and the media veritably exists all across the world without exception.


The New York Times (NYT) published an extensive report on Thursday titled “An Alternate Reality: How Russia’s State TV Spins the Ukraine War”. It purported to expose the workflow that Russia’s largest publicly financed media company, the All-Russia State Television and Radio Company (VGTRK per its Russian acronym), employed behind the scenes when the deciding how to cover the opening stages of the special operation.

According to allegedly leaked documents obtained by the NYT, the Russian military and intelligence services fed information to VGTRK that was later included in its broadcasts. Furthermore, the report claims that editors incorporated American and Chinese media reports – some supposedly more obscure than others – in their programs. The innuendo is that Russia media is supposedly nothing but a “propaganda” ecosystem that also apparently exploits foreign “useful idiots” like Tucker Carlson.

The reality, however, is that the NYT’s latest report is actually just a nothingburger. For instance, there’s nothing surprising about the claim that a country’s military and intelligence services feed information to national broadcasters since the US’ analogues do the same as evidenced by their outlets’ daily reports citing unnamed administration officials. This in and of itself doesn’t mean that the information they were given is false, but just that coordination between state structures and the media veritably exists.

Average folks across the US-led West’s Golden Billion subconsciously know that their own state and media coordinate in this way, with the comparatively more informed among them knowing this for a fact, but being explicitly told that Russia also does this as well is supposed to be shocking. That’s because their de facto New Cold War bloc’s perception managers rely on the false claim that they’re morally superior to their jointly BRICS– & SCO-led Global South rivals to artificially generate grassroots support.

Those who’ve fallen for this information warfare narrative would therefore react with shock to the NYT’s report while the comparatively more informed among them will just yawn since the details contained therein are literally no different in principle from the same workflow that their own media employs. That outlet’s inclusion of their Russian counterpart’s coverage of Tucker and Roger Stone, however, is intended to defame those two by implying that their “useful idiots” at best and traitors at worse.

To expand on that ulterior motive, those figures and others who’ve flexed their constitutionally enshrined freedom of speech by publicly contradicting their government’s official stance towards the Ukrainian Conflict pose serious narrative challenges for the Golden Billion’s American leader. Officials can’t formally censor them despite utilizing creative means to that end such as encouraging other media not to report on their work, which means that their programs still remain available for others to watch.

Therein lies the crux of the problem for the US’ perception managers since it’s indeed the case that “The Western viewer is looking for alternative information” exactly as DC-based VGTRK reporter Denis Davydov previously claimed as cited in the NYT’s latest report. Just because a so-called “Russian propagandist” (from the US’ official perspective) made that observation doesn’t discredit it since the grassroots popularity of Tucker and others testifies to this fact.

Nevertheless, by reporting on Russian media’s inclusion of their work in their programs and spinning everything in the nefarious way that they did by implying that those figures are just “useful idiots”, the US’ perception managers hope to impose additional pressure on others not to consume their content. Those who continue to do so, not to mention Tucker and others who refuse to self-censor their views that millions are eagerly seeking out, are subsequently painted as contributing to “Russian propaganda”.

Considering these soft power calculations, it can therefore be concluded that the inordinate amount of time invested in producing the NYT’s latest nothingburger was the result of that outlet and its shadowy state partners’ ulterior motive to defame their Russian peers as well as contrarian-minded Americans. This observation speaks to how increasingly insecure they’re becoming as their prior narrative control collapses in the face of their legal inability to officially censor “politically incorrect” views like Tucker’s.


Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Voice of East.


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Categories: Analysis, International Affairs

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