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Thread: Russian Media: Do Russians trust them - why/why not?

  1. #1
    Hanna
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    Russian Media: Do Russians trust them - why/why not?

    Everyone in the Western world has read about "Putin's propaganda" in Russia. We are supposed to believe that Russian domestic news are nothing but lies and pro-Putin agitation...
    I want to hear what Russians think.

    How reliable are newspapers like Izvestia, Kommersant and Rossiskaya Gazeta? What about news channels, i.e. Vesti/Rossia24 and LifeNews?

    Do they report what you perceive as the real problems in society? Do you feel that they are covering things up? Do they report critically about the government and local authorities?
    Do they expose corruption, pollution and abuse?
    Do you want them to?

    If you do not trust mainstream media, what alternative sources do you use for Russian domestic news?
    What do you think of media in UA/BY/KZ?

    (And I am not saying this as criticism against Russia - I believe we have a serious problem with news reporting in Europe. Plus - I am a fan of RT and Sputniknews. However, if I turn on Rossiya24 I cannot determine whether they are in tune with local news in Russia, or not - since I don't know the conditions well enough, or public opinion in Russia)

  2. #2
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    Without any doubt there is shift of accents and filtering of information in media. Any kind of media.
    I sometimes read Guardian, Washington Times and New York Times and laugh. Because I see simmetrical distortions.

    To say the truth it works.
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    P.S.

    Worker class and people who are far from politics tends to belive in the picture which media creates.
    "Intellectual class" (emm... I doubt that I correct in the meaning of "интеллигенция") sees these distortions. And again, some of them sees distortions in "alternative sources". So there is mess. There is constant fighting in internet, for example, vice and versa. And, if, after USSR decay, "truthness of mass media" was some ideal. Now this ideal is broken. Many of "интеллигенция" not only see distortions, but support them because of idea "if everybody lies, let's lie against other lies".

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    P.P.S.

    It is internet who messed this up. Because people not only listen to media, but become some sort of self-made media too. Blogs, forums, etc.

  5. #5
    Hanna
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    Thanks Alex for interesting insights.

    I have noticed that Russians are majorly into conspiracy theories - almost as mainstream. It's quite interesting.

    I also realise that intelligent Russians have a very well developed "bullshit" detector from Soviet days, and realise that it's always a good idea to seek out an alternative perspective if something doesn't sound quite right.

    All this makes for a public that can't be easily fooled, I think. Therefore I have a hard time believing that Russian media is as propagandistic as Western media would have us believe.

    My take on it is that they simply refrain from serious criticism against Putin, and I think that this gap is filled to the brim on Russian internet, anyway.

    Another thing to bear in mind is that the public genuninely seem to support Edinnaya Rossiya, in Russia. So either the media is representing public opinion, or possibly - media is leading public opinion...? No amount of media manipulation can make somebody feel positive about a bad situation though.

    Also there is Novaya Gazeta, which IS critical.
    And Russians can watch Euronews in Russian - definitely not pro-Russia/Putin.
    There are lots of radio broadcasts in Russian that are critical against Putin, i.e BBC, RFE etc.

    So I don't believe that Russian media can get away with bullshitting on any large scale, even if they wanted to.

    That said, I have to laugh at the participation of a certain Johan Bäckman on Rossiya24, when Finland is discussed. They really should bring in somebody else. 25% of what he says is true, the rest is nonsense + I think Bäckman seriously believes Putin is God. He is not representative of Finland.

    I took a university class that was essentially on media and propaganda: How to do it, and how to recognise it. A long time ago. At the time, it was said that Russian media was the freest on earth (early to mid 90s) because it received state money to fund it, but was not subject to any kind of steering regarding content, at all. It was a unique situation and must have been nice for the journalists.

    I also know that Russia has a very well developed blogosphere of truly independent people.

    The reports of Russian "troll factories" are disturbing, but it's definitely something the USA is already doing and I also believe that it's not impossible that the whole thing is made up as part of a propaganda war. I'd like to see some concrete evidence before I believe it.

  6. #6
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    So I don't believe that Russian media can get away with bullshitting on any large scale, even if they wanted to.
    It is more about shifting accents and filtering.
    For example dozen of "activist" people went for 10 meters with couple of transparants. Media reports "huge protest actions takes place in ...". I saw this kind of bullshit in both of pro-russian and anti-russian media. And so on.

    ..."troll factories"...
    Often it is personal initiative. I acted in such manner in Guardian comments ~1 year ago. Why? Beacause I saw lies like above there. Now I just tired of political holywars. Trying not to waste time.

  7. #7
    Hanna
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex80 View Post
    It is more about shifting accents and filtering.
    For example dozen of "activist" people went for 10 meters with couple of transparants. Media reports "huge protest actions takes place in ...". I saw this kind of bullshit in both of pro-russian and anti-russian media. And so on.
    Yeah, that's a classical tactic though, and if Russian media uses it, they are not the only ones!

    Here in London there can be manifestations with 100,000 people and media just ignores it, or writes that it was hooligans or extremists. Meanwhile a small group of people demonstrating about the "right" matter gets lots of attention.

    RT is brilliant for bridging that gap, for the UK. Thank you, Russian tax payers... They will cover the issues that mainstream ignores. I also don't see them having an agenda to the same degree as mainstream media. The only agenda they have is that they don't like the EU or the USA. That's not a problem for me though. I am neutral on the issue of the EU and appreciate hearing the negatives even if I think they are exaggerating a bit.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alex80 View Post
    Often it is personal initiative. I acted in such manner in Guardian comments ~1 year ago. Why? Beacause I saw lies like above there. Now I just tired of political holywars. Trying not to waste time.
    Same here:
    I defended Russia in a debate in a Swedish forum (in relation to Crimea) and was accused of being a paid Russian troll by several people. They said things like "What's the weather like in Moscow", "Hope Putin is paying you well" and "Your Swedish is pretty good, Ivan".
    Several other people got similar comments — Very infuriating, in addition to simply ridiculous and ludicrous.

    But it's just a genius form of propaganda, because it instantly dismisses anyone who goes against the official version. Nobody would listen to somebody who was a paid troll, even if they happened to be right.

    In the meantime we know for sure, from Snowden's leaks, that the US is doing this through its military. Not to mention "think tanks" that are known to take on university students and housewives to spread their message online.

    I do think that the Russian news are quite biased in the issue of Ukraine/Donbass, but 1) it's understandable..... and 2) I can't point out any concrete errors because I have no personal knowledge about the situation on the ground. It's just a feeling. And based on what I hear about media censorship in Ukraine and banning of Russian journalists, UA is just as bad...

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    I feel that levels of biasing in our countries are not far from each over. Russia is now under direct charges, so, maybe bigger by 50%, because government feels uncomfortable. But not 1000%. Primary media tend to bias, but not to lie directly.

  9. #9
    Hanna
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex80 View Post
    I feel that levels of biasing in our countries are not far from each over. Russia is now under direct charges, so, maybe bigger by 50%, because government feels uncomfortable. But not 1000%. Primary media tend to bias, but not to lie directly.
    Do you feel as if there is a sort of anti-USA or anti-EU hysteria in Russian media, or do you feel like they are quite objective about it?

    (I personally think that Russian media is very negative about the EU. But that's not unique for Russia. British media only writes negative about the EU, and looks for the faults, just like Russian media.)

    When it comes to the USA, I don't think Russian media is as propagandistic about the USA as American media is about Russia.

  10. #10
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    Do you feel as if there is a sort of anti-USA or anti-EU hysteria in Russian media...?
    Yes. USA is in the center of this "hysteria". England is apart from EU in many ways, and represented as "center number 2" (much lower in rank, but it has "evil will").
    EU represented mostly as "gutless, fell under the bad influence, but not bad itself, fellowship of countries" (powerful! but "fell under bad influence").

  11. #11
    Hanna
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex80 View Post
    Yes. USA is in the center of this "hysteria". England is apart from EU in many ways, and represented as "center number 2" (much lower in rank, but it has "evil will").
    EU represented mostly as "gutless, fell under the bad influence, but not bad itself, fellowship of countries" (powerful! but "fell under bad influence").
    Haha..... It may be propaganda, but I personally think it's more or less true, and I am not the only European with this opinion - and I am not influenced by any propaganda in this respect.

    Quite the opposite, I reached this opinion despite propaganda that says the exact opposite, i.e. USA stands for freedom, democracy and fighting evil... Russia is an aggressive and dangerous dictatorship....

    For me, it's very hard to understand that people fall for the "Evil Russia" narrative, when there is so little actual proof. But the power of media and Hollywood can never be underestimated.

    However, I can understand that from your perspective it may be frustrating to have a narrative stuffed down your throat every time you turn on the news. Particularly if you don't agree.

    And there are two sides to this story. While I lean towards the Russian view on things, I don't believe that to be the full story by any means.

  12. #12
    Завсегдатай Antonio1986's Avatar
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    Without being Russian I can provide you with an answer Hanna.
    Russia is a quasi-democracy with a long term undisputed one-party government so you shouldn't except objectivity of media.
    The owners of media are either members of the ruling party or even receivers of public funding and financing (directly or in the background).
    There are of course many additional minor sources of information (e.g. newspapers, radio programs) that try to present a different angle of interior and foreign policy but they are extremely small to affect the public opinion.
    Чем больше слов, тем меньше они стоят.

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    Russia is a quasi-democracy with a long term undisputed one-party government so you shouldn't except objectivity of media.
    The owners of media are either members of the ruling party or even receivers of public funding and financing (directly or in the background).
    Just want to ask, if you change "one party" to "two party" in this sentence (keeping all other things the same) - will it be better and bring more democracy?

  14. #14
    Hanna
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex80 View Post
    Just want to ask, if you change "one party" to "two party" in this sentence (keeping all other things the same) - will it be better and bring more democracy?
    I don't know - we'll have to see what Antonio thinks.
    But it's not like the other parties are banned: KPRF is the second biggest with many millions of supporters and members. I doubt they would improve the media situation if they won though....

    The reality of the situation is that the majority in Russia seem to prefer Edinaya Rossiya over anything else - and media reflects it.

    The interesting question is: What will happen if Edinnaya Rossiya and/or Putin makes some huge mistake, and Russian public opinion turns against them? Will it be possible to openly discuss that in media? Will it be possible to demonstrate against them? Will it be possible to get rid of them in an election?

    This said, I think democracy is very hollow in most of Europe too. There are constantly things going on that the majority is against. Only Switzerland has a democracy that I think is genuine, with their referendums...

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    What will happen if Edinnaya Rossiya and/or Putin makes some huge mistake, and Russian public opinion turns against them?
    We will elect "lesser evil", which is (by media) something like Prohorov.

    I can ask the same question to USA:
    "What will happen if Democrats makes some huge mistake, and USA public opinion turns against them? Which party do you elect?" (n years passed)
    Ok, but...
    "What will happen if Respublicans makes some huge mistake, and USA public opinion turns against them? Which party do you elect? (n years passed)
    Ok, but...
    "What will happen if Democrats makes some huge mistake again, and USA public opinion turns against them? Which party do you elect?" (n years passed)
    ...
    I found it very convenient, yes.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex80 View Post
    Just want to ask, if you change "one party" to "two party" in this sentence (keeping all other things the same) - will it be better and bring more democracy?
    Nope.
    The level of democracy in one country is not calculated by the number of parties that take or leave the power.
    Japan which is a real democracy for many years (I think half century) had only one ruling party with overwhelming majority.
    At the moment Russia cannot become a real democracy because the "social capital" which is indispensable for the formation of a real democracy simply does not exist.
    Media will remain under the control of Putin.
    Nevertheless let's hope that things will change, but in order the things to change we should have an improvement of the economic conditions in Russia.
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    Чем больше слов, тем меньше они стоят.

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    Japan which is a real democracy...had only one ruling party
    But the Japan has the one of the most highest levels of suicide in the world!
    Obviously, it is consequences of the one-party regime which suffocates people.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex80 View Post
    But the Japan has the one of the most highest levels of suicide in the world!
    Obviously, it is consequences of the one-party regime which suffocates people.
    I'm pretty sure this is because they have abandoned all hope since Putin's gonna come and subjugate them anyway.

    P.S. Not to joke about suicide... I just couldn't pass up the opportunity.

    Ontopic:

    I for one don't really trust certain Russian media if I see something related to politics. One should realize that political news is slanted at best... Usually it is grossly distorted. All in all it should be taken with a big grain of salt, especially when it comes to TV. For example if there is a controversial topic, Russian TV shows don't really discuss it in terms of should we do this, but in terms of why we should do this and why this is good for all of us. This is particulary true when it comes to Russia's involvement in Syria.

    Another example would be a very interesting trait a lot of Russian shows exhibit when talking about Ukraine. They often invite a Ukrainian guest, needless to say that guest holds a pro-Ukrainian view and that'd be fine if the guest was there to provide a different perspective on the situation in Ukraine, so that the viewers could draw their own conclusions. Instead, everyone there would just treat the Ukranian as if he is utterly insane, they'd never give them an opportunity to speak out or defend. Others would just constantly interrupt, yell or just shut them up. Oh, boy, such a cheap trick to sway people's minds.
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    I do not claim that my opinion is absolutely true.
    If you've spotted any mistake in my English, please, correct it. I want to be aware of any mistakes to efficiently eliminate them before they become a habit.

  19. #19
    Hanna
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex80 View Post
    We will elect "lesser evil", which is (by media) something like Prohorov.

    I can ask the same question to USA:
    Yes - I know. I almost want to believe the propaganda against Russia.
    I am beginning to feel like a FREAK because I don't believe that Russia is a dangerous dictatorship.

    Almost everybody else seems to believe it, and media is constantly writing it.

    I feel a bit alone with my different view of politics and the state of the world.
    It would be a lot easier to have the same view as everybody else around me.

    Prokhorov is an oligarch! How can anybody trust an oligarch?!
    According to Wiki, he got 7.5 percent of votes, coming in third in presidential elections in 2012.

  20. #20
    Hanna
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    Quote Originally Posted by Antonio1986 View Post
    Nope.
    The level of democracy in one country is not calculated by the number of parties that take or leave the power.
    Japan which is a real democracy for many years (I think half century) had only one ruling party with overwhelming majority.
    At the moment Russia cannot become a real democracy because the "social capital" which is indispensable for the formation of a real democracy simply does not exist.
    Media will remain under the control of Putin.
    Nevertheless let's hope that things will change, but in order the things to change we should have an improvement of the economic conditions in Russia.
    I have been in Japan quite a lot because my step-mother comes from there.

    As a democracy, it is a joke! The Japanese never particularly wanted democracy.The reason they have it, is because the US defeated them in the second world war, and decided that it should be a democracy.

    My step-mums elderly relatives for example, didn't seem to even understand the concept. I think they believed that it was some kind of patriotic duty to turn up and cast their vote for the LDP every year, so they did it. In reality, their actual opinions on things were not even in line with the LDP.

    There is an "emperor" mentality about leadership in East Asia and I think Russia has a touch of that too. And there is nothing wrong with that - it's a matter of culture and circumstances. In many ways it's better than just worshipping money and rich people, like the US and it's supporters do.

    Quote Originally Posted by iCake View Post
    Another example would be a very interesting trait a lot of Russian shows exhibit when talking about Ukraine. They often invite a Ukrainian guest, needless to say that guest holds a pro-Ukrainian view and that'd be fine if the guest was there to provide a different perspective on the situation in Ukraine, so that the viewers could draw their own conclusions. Instead, everyone there would just treat the Ukranian as if he is utterly insane, they'd never give them an opportunity to speak out or defend. Others would just constantly interrupt, yell or just shut them up. Oh, boy, such a cheap trick to sway people's minds.
    Yeah, I noticed that when I was watching Rossiya 24.
    In comparison with two countries I know well:

    I think that British media is a little bit better than Russian media. All British mainstream media have more or less the same view albeit with variation about their views on the EU and immigration. There can be a debate as long as everybody stays within "acceptable" parameters. But you couldn't for example see somebody who was pro-Assad and speak freely.

    On the other hand, a British paper was able to publish the Snowden material. In comparison, if somebody defected from Russia with compromising material, I don't think a Russian mainstream paper could publish it (?) So in that respect, British media is more free.

    On the other hand, Russian media is better than Swedish media which is extremely narrow. There is only one acceptable view on everything in Sweden, and all mainstream media with no exception take this view. People who think differently can't have a say at all. As a result, people blog and use forums online.

    In Russian media on the other side, you see quite lively debates on a wide spectrum of things, with lots of very different viewpoints represented, including very controversial ones.
    In many ways, Russian media reminds me of American media - just with different opinions, but the format and presentation is quite similar - a bit more "serious" but more flashy and in-your-face than European news.

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