Archive for western media

PBS vs. Vice

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on May 28, 2014 by Adrian J Ivakhiv

How is it that PBS’s respected public affairs show Frontline could produce a sensationalistic portrayal of Ukraine as a divided, bloody, chaotic mess — airing two days after an election that produced the clearest majority ever in a Ukrainian presidential election — while the internet-based Vice News could produce this comparatively sensible portrait of a country that showed courage and a very clear consensus in its belief that the political process is far preferable to warfare?

It is good to know that there are extremists on both sides, and PBS is right to show that. But we’ve been seeing that for months now.



Nation vs. New Republic

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on May 6, 2014 by Adrian J Ivakhiv

While it’s not the first time that The Nation and The New Republic — two of the most influential left liberal newsmagazines in the U.S. — have disagreed on matters of foreign policy, their divergence on the Russia-Ukraine conflict has been interesting to watch. (See note 1.)

In “Cold War Against Russia — Without Debate,” The Nation‘s Russia specialist Stephen F. Cohen and his wife, the magazine’s editor and publisher Katrina vanden Heuvel, have penned the latest in a series of critiques of the Obama administration’s — and mainstream media’s — move toward portraying Putin’s Russia as irrational, dangerous, and requiring a critical U.S. response.

Writing in The New Republic — which has featured a series of substantial pieces on Ukraine and Russia in recent months — Julia Ioffe’s “Putin’s American Toady at The Nation Gets Even Toadier” responds to Cohen’s and vanden Heuvel’s argument. (See note 2.)

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Snyder: Europe and Ukraine

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on April 16, 2014 by Adrian J Ivakhiv

It’s difficult to provide a well-rounded history of Ukraine, from Kievan Rus onward, in a few dozen paragraphs. Historian Timothy Snyder does this in his newly published piece, “Europe and Ukraine: Past and Future,” which originally appeared in German in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

The piece covers the collapse of Kievan Rus, relations with the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, the Cossack state, the emergence of Muscovy and later the Russian empire, the fall of empires and Soviet revolution, the world wars, and so on. Along the way we get oligarchic pluralism (in the Poland commonwealth, and then again in the last two decades), self-determination (led by the Cossacks), the rise of a nationalist elite that “rebel[s] against [its] own biographies and present[s] the subject of history not as the elites but as the masses,” the twists and turns of Soviet policy, Ukraine’s positioning between Stalin’s “internal colonialism” (as Stalin himself called it) and Hitler’s “external colonialism,” the war in all its messiness, the rhetorical “politics of fascism and anti-fascism” — which in a convoluted way have managed to accompany both Stalin’s and Putin’s courting of the European far right — the Brezhnevian cult of the Great Fatherland War, the fall of the Soviet Union and emergence of independent Ukraine, the politics of hydrocarbons, and the future of the European Union.

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Ishchenko: For nuance

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on April 15, 2014 by Adrian J Ivakhiv

In “Maidan or anti-Maidan? The Ukraine situation requires more nuance,” sociologist Volodymyr Ishchenko attempts to carve out a progressive socialist position on the Ukraine conflict, one that would “support progressive wings of both Maidan and anti-Maidan, and try to unite them against the Ukrainian ruling class and against all nationalisms and imperialisms on shared demands for social justice.”

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Žižek: What Europe should learn from Ukraine

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on April 2, 2014 by Adrian J Ivakhiv

In “What Europe Should Learn from Ukraine,” leftist cultural theorist and philosopher Slavoj Žižek argues that the “Europe” Ukraine’s Euromaidan activists were aiming for was not an illusion, so much as it was a Europe that (EU member) Europeans themselves should be aiming to create.

Žižek writes:

“Predictably, many Leftists reacted to the news about the massive protests with their usual racist patronizing of the poor Ukrainians: how deluded they are, still idealizing Europe, not being able to see that Europe is in decline, and that joining European Union will just made Ukraine an economic colony of Western Europe sooner or later pushed into the position of Greece… What these Leftists ignore is that Ukrainians were far from blind about the reality of the European Union: they were fully aware of its troubles and disparities, their message was simply that their own situation is much worse. [. . .]

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Media frames of Ukraine crisis

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on March 28, 2014 by Adrian J Ivakhiv

Below is a link to the presentation I gave at a teach-in on Ukraine and Crimea at the University of Vermont this past Wednesday.

My presentation focused on the dominant media frames of the crisis, with “ground-truthing” based on my research of the events over the last 4 months. (The other speakers dealt, respectively, with social media use, geopolitics, and Russian media perspectives.)

The slides were just a starting point, and much of my commentary (not included) consisted of critical and contextual interpretation of the images. But there are some minimal explanatory notes below the images (if you open the file in Power Point), and the fifth last slide provides a brief summary of my comments and analysis.



Snyder vs. McGovern

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on March 18, 2014 by Adrian J Ivakhiv

While it does not contain much new information, this debate on Democracy Now stages two very contrary views on the Ukraine crisis prevalent among observers in the western (especially U.S.) left.

On one side is historian Timothy Snyder, whose detailed articles have been mentioned several times on this blog. On the other side is former CIA analyst Ray McGovern, who presents the left-wing critique of U.S. “meddling” in other countries. The stark contrast between the two makes for an easy opportunity to judge and evaluate the two sets of views. Read more »

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