17 March 2015

Sting? Probably not

If you haven’t read Patrick Armstrong’s thorough and ruthless takedown of the coverage of Putin’s disappearance these past two weeks, gentle readers, you really ought to. Armstrong showcases and proceeds to very justly mock some of the most outlandish, tinfoil-hatted, boggle-eyed, gutter-level tabloid speculation and gossip which has somehow become the stand-in for actual reporting on Russia from some of the Anglosphere’s finest – okay, sure, perhaps one might expect as much from The Daily Mail and the New York Post, but the BBC? The Independent? The New York Times? The Washington Post? The Economist? Aren’t they supposed to be better than this? Armstrong writes:
The West has developed a hysterical obsession with Putin and this “absence” was a chance to display it and make fools of themselves. Certainly, the Western media, losing ground and credibility steadily, will not have gained any from this preposterous performance. I can't help wondering whether Putin and his team (which has shown itself to be much smarter than anybody in the West) didn't concoct the whole fake disappearance to allow the West and its tame sources to be-clown themselves and take their reputation down another couple of points. Now, that would be clever. And fun to watch; a tiny hint from Putin? “Life ‘would be boring without gossip’”.

Also notice the assumption in practically every one of these stories. Which is that Russia is a tremendously unstable place held together by one man. This despite the fact that the Constitutional successor, a long-time member of The Team, has actually been president before and that The Team has demonstrated a remarkable coherence – to say nothing of competence – for fifteen years now.

The second thing to notice is this crackbrained obsession with one man. Putin is the Qaddafi, the Saddam Hussein, the Milosevich, the bin Laden, the Aidid, of Russia. If only he would go, the bear would roll over and expose his tummy. Well, getting rid of those guys didn't work, and getting rid of Putin won't either. It's not just one man, it's a whole country. When are they going to learn this?
When, indeed? I agree with Mr. Armstrong that this probably isn’t a psy-ops sting operation by the Russian government, though that is a fun possibility to think about. Personally, I really have to laugh at the absurdity of this sort of thing. If I didn’t, I’d probably go insane. In other news, it’s truly unfortunate that we’ll be losing Jon Stewart’s presence on The Daily Show. In an age when the instruments of propaganda have abandoned any possible pretext at decency or self-awareness, let alone sanity, the task of being sane will have to fall to the clowns. Thus it’s ever been.

No comments:

Post a Comment