July 2018.

Media & Propaganda. Hurrumph.

Sometimes it's hard not to be irritated by the casual social manipulation and sometimes very subtle propaganda offered up by the media that supposedly inform us. Whether it is from Euronews, Russia Today, the BBC, CNN or a host of others. Two that irked me in the last week or so.

Last week, in relation to heath fires in the UK, the BBC reported that they were caused by motorcyclists throwing their cigarette butts onto the verge. Now, the more pertinent fact is that they were smokers who were also litterbugs, and their mode of transport has nothing to do with the fire. Presumably, had they been a troupe of trapeze artists in a Volvo, they wouldn't have been described as motorists.

It made me recall the article in the New York Times that I read a couple of months back, on a flight home from a business trip. Written by its Moscow-based reporter, it described one of the May 9th celebrations (the Victory Day for Russians) in Moscow and noted that the marchers sang “Katyusha, or the Little Katya, a wartime song about a truck-mounted rocket launcher.”

I’d be amazed if Mr. Andrew E. Kramer didn’t know that Katyusha is a song about a girl, Little Katya indeed, who sends her love together with a song she sings to her boyfriend who is serving in the army, and promise to be true to him and wait for his return. If he doesn’t know it, The New York Times should probably ask him to brush up his knowledge of the country where he’s based and its culture.

Unless of course, the explanation was intentional. In which case… well, do I need to add anything?

Just for the readers of my musings who are not journalists based in Moscow and reporting for major international outlets: the rocket-launcher was nicked named Katyusha at the beginning of the WWII, when the song became a hit—and continued to be hugely popular long after, especially with foreign students studying in the Soviet Union during its hay days.

The caution: fear feeds off ignorance. And if that fear is further stoked by fake or at best erroneous information, that is irresponsible.

End of rant.