Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Ukraine Unspun

How To Project A Fringe Website Onto 'American Media'

"American Media: Obama Supports State Terror In Eastern Ukraine"
"American Media: Obama Supports State Terror In Eastern Ukraine"
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, 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
This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Ray Finch from: Lawrence, KS
June 09, 2014 15:30
Absolutely agree and I suspect that the fallout of this media distortion will ultimately have disastrous consequences. Just as Putin may not control the forces he has unleashed against Ukraine, so I fear that there are now legions of true Russian believers who long to find their salvation in fighting and dying in the fight against the ‘great Satan.’

by: saucymugwump from:
June 09, 2014 16:06
RFERL wrote: "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"

KGB defector Oleg Gordievsky said, "The KGB loved The Guardian. It was deemed highly susceptible to penetration," because of the plethora of communist wannabes working there. Gordievsky noted that Guardian editor Richard Gott was one of the KGB agents he managed.
In Response

by: Rascalndear from: Ukraine
June 12, 2014 07:09
The Guardian, like most leftist organizations, has traditionally treated Ukraine as though it smelled just a little bad until recent events. It still continues to publish Kremlin shills like Seumias Milne and John Pilger, but they now stand in sharp contrast to relatively balanced and fair reporting on what Russia has been up to in the region. Congratulations to the Guardian!

by: Nikolay from: Russia
June 09, 2014 19:49
According to, the had in may 2014 over 500 000 visits from USA, here is statistic:

And roughly the same amount of visits had your own website

And Alexa ranked in USA - 42,904, not much, but here is your own ranking: 17,817 it is better
In Response

by: Bill
June 10, 2014 03:47
Such rankings don't by default determine the degree of who is and isn't being accurate in their reporting and/or commentary.
In Response

by: Sandy from: NY
June 10, 2014 13:55
True. But inaccuracies in WSWS coverage have to be demonstrated, not simply stated. To say the the American-backed Kiev regime came to power with support of and today maintains itself by the ultra-right and fascist forces is simply a statement of fact, one downplayed or denied outright by the "mainstream" media in the US. The transformation of outlets such as the New York Times into US government propaganda organs is the real story here.

by: Sandy from: NY
June 09, 2014 20:59
Alexa certainly does rank wsws [dot] org's US visits. It is, in fact, according to Alexa’s metrics, the most widely read socialist news source on the Internet. Whatever Mr. Kates's definition of "mainstream" may be, certainly the rigor of this website's journalism and its bold and honest approach to historical issues of economy, politics and culture facing the vast majority of the world’s population makes it a credible and legitimate source of news and opinion. The WSWS provides a necessary alternative to the corporate-controlled and government-moderated media, especially in the US.
In Response

by: American Tolerast
June 10, 2014 12:00
"the most widely read socialist news source on the Internet"

Likewise, my Breaking Bad/My Little Pony crossover fan fiction is the most widely read BB/MLP FF on the entire web and probably commands a similar-sized audience. Gus & Rainbow Dash forever!

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
June 11, 2014 10:25
According to Ukrainian news agencies, the Ukrainian army has only 10 combat helicpters left - all the other ones have been downed by the armed forces of the Donetsk People's Republic. Good job, Strelok, keep giving the Beavuses and their friends lessons!

by: JLNancy
June 14, 2014 08:24
Per How to Project a Fringe Website onto American Media

By George, ya snared one.

Agree w/ your colleague, Robert Coalson, re your piece - a nice “one small example of how Russia uses bogus media outlets and social media to create buzz for fake news.”

Always does seem so very apparent that anything that Putin/the Kremlin is thinking about lying about and hallucinating about ends up on Russian state-TV, on unscrupulous fringe websites and social media.

The Russian propaganda,*Liar’s Club*, has been *prepping* and ensnaring their world audience for years. Open Western critics and closet-fascistoids suck up the counterfeit as facts.

Oddly, regardless that there’s little truth in the information -*news* that it disseminates re Ukraine, a current anti-Kyiv, pro-Moscow audience still thrives on *plausible* lies. That’s how that audience likes it. It makes them feel comfortable and in-the-know.

Re your story, it’s really all about dishonesty, isn’t it? It’s about getting someone with more illusionary respectability to lie to others for you.

No integrity nor moral remorse nor legal accountability for slander and/or libel.

After all, even RU *journalists* get Putin-awards for achieving similarly obtained * results*. Must be the way a successfully winning [yet unprofessional] mindset becomes legitimized. > Nu vot. “All journalism is propaganda, No?”

by: American Kulak from: Somewhere in USSA
June 22, 2014 04:47
"When CNN appeared to implicate Kyiv in a blast at the Luhansk administration building last week, " in other words, when CNN admitted a Ukrainian Air Force rocket strike killed 8 civilians and wounded 20 more. Get it right RFE/RL, my taxpayer money pays for this drivel.

"RFERL wrote: "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" Heil Galician 14th SS division, with my tax money no less! You RFE/RL Prague Palace bastards ought to all be ashamed of yourselves, one of your Russian employees was openly violating the Hatch Act and campaigning against tea party on US taxpayer dime saying Ted Cruz and Rand Paul bizarrely were Russian agents, or some similar crap, before she shuttered her Twitter account. Oops! I'm sure RFE/RL has big plans to desperately try to link all American critics of US foreign policy to the Kremlin through pure lies and fraud. What next, gun rights supporters are closet Putinists or GRU assets because they buy Tula works ammo at Wal-Mart? I can see the fascist propaganda tricks coming down the line a mile away boys, and I don't like it.

About #UkraineUnspun

The information war is in full swing in the tense standoff between Ukraine and Russia. In an attempt to present a clearer picture, #UkraineUnspun will unravel information coming from Russian and Ukrainian media, politicians and activists. Written by Glenn Kates and contributors from RFE/RL.

Follow the hashtag #UkraineUnspun on Twitter and let us know what we should be covering -- or to weigh in on any of our stories. Or write us at

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