BBG Watch Commentary

WARNING – The article quotes an obscenity.

Social MediaIn an National Geographic article “The Twitter War: Social Media’s Role in Ukraine Unrest Social media networks are powerful propaganda tools in the Ukrainian crisis – National Geographic,” journalist David Stern shows two of  Russia’s RT tweets from eastern Ukraine with these comments: “An unsubstantiated and incendiary claim of the number of fatalities” and “This is a good example of Russia Today’s coverage: The pro-Ukrainians are ‘radicals’ and the pro-Russians are “activists.” Only one side is throwing stones, though it was clearly mutual.”

We suggest reading this excellent National Geographic news report about using social media for propaganda since the U.S. taxpayer-funded Voice of America (VOA), a U.S. international media outlet funded by Congress with a congressionally-approved Charter which requires it to be accurate and balanced in news reporting, is posting retweets from President Putin’s propaganda outlet RT (Russia Today) and by someone who has a Twitter account as“Steiner – @Steiner1776 – A frustrated #german and #socialist. Pro-#Russia,#Assad,#Gaddafi. Fuck the #EU,#US.” 

The National Geographic article does not mention the Voice of America, but VOA appears to be supporting Russia’s propaganda and the Kremlin’s public diplomacy through tweets of Moscow’s anti-U.S. online supporters. No other major Western news organization posts multiple and random third-party tweets the way VOA does without any clear context, explanation or disclaimer of some kind. If they do embed tweets, they never embed multiple tweets and have a clear reason and an explanation for those that they do embed. They do not as a rule use RT tweets or tweets from unidentified pro-Kremlin, anti-Western sources pushing incendiary propaganda, unless they want to make a specific point in their news reporting.

SEE: Voice of America posts tweets from Russia’s RT and ‘pro-Russia, Fuck the #US, German socialist’ – BBG Watch, May 10. 2014.

National Geographic Daily News LogoIn his National Geographic article, David Stern writes:

“By providing only a limited, partial presentation of facts, which people can pick through until they find something to agree with, social media networks distort reality and play to preconceived notions. Through repetition, and because these ‘reports’ have appeared in a medium of mass communication, all this takes on the veneer of truth, or at least of legitimacy.” — David Stern, National Geographic

READ MORE: The Twitter War: Social Media’s Role in Ukraine Unrest – Social media networks are powerful propaganda tools in the Ukrainian crisis, David Stern, National Geographic, May 10, 2014.