As much as it dismisses the West, Russian media sometimes appears obsessed with Western coverage of the issues that affect Russia -- particularly when that coverage even peripherally supports Moscow's message.
When CNN appeared to implicate Kyiv
in a blast at the Luhansk administration building last week, Russia's two main state-controlled channels ran stories on the CNN report, as did the state-run RIA Novosti news agency and the Kremlin's international RT network.
In May, when "The Guardian" ran a controversial (and widely debunked
) opinion piece by John Pilger
that claimed the United States and the West had unleashed "fascist forces" on Ukraine, virtually all major Russian media provided coverage.
But what should Russian media do if the English-language source criticizing the West is neither "The Guardian" or CNN?
What if there's a picture-perfect, hyperbolic, red-meat headline -- in this case, "Obama Backs State Terror Against Eastern Ukraine" -- but the publication running the piece is called the "World Socialist Web Site
What if that website is sponsored by the International Committee of the Fourth International, which is apparently a group devoted to implementing the teachings of Leon Trotsky.
In other words, what should Russian media do when it wants to quote a fringe source but give it mainstream credibility?
Apparently it can follow the example of "Vzglyad," a website founded by Konstantin Rykov, a pro-Kremlin media entrepreneur. It can bury the source, while projecting its opinion on American media in general.
Here is "Vzglyad's" headline: "American Media: Obama Supports State Terror In Eastern Ukraine
The article never mentions the "World Socialist Web Site," although it does link to "Axis of Logic," another fringe website that republished the original opinion piece.
A tweet by Rykov, with just the headline, has been retweeted 90 times as of this writing:
According to Alexa.com, a company that provides web-traffic data, "Vzglyad" ranks 82nd in visits and page views in Russia. The "World Socialist Web Site" ranks No. 42,430 in the United States.
Correction: This post originally stated that Alexa did not provide a U.S. ranking for the "World Socialist Web Site." In fact, it does, as noted in the comments.
-- Glenn Kates