For a few hundred million people, Petro Poroshenko’s latest offensive in the east of Ukraine crushed the separatist defenders at Donetsk airport. Reuters readers now fully expect, all of Mother Russia to fall beneath the Ukrainian onslaught.
For those who may not believe it, we have no less than five Reuters correspondents to testify. Surely, the hundreds of stories being read in America and Britain today, are ample proof Putin’s Russia and the Donbass rebels are on the run now. Well, all except for one detail, that is. Sergey Prokofiev International Airport is fully in the hands of the Donetsk People’s Republic.
Mis-reporting of wartime events is not so uncommon, and this Reuters story would not be so bad if someone in charge cared enough about accurate information to amend it. But no one does. It took 5 people to make the story, all 691 words of it, but not one writer or editor took the time to verify facts. Natalia Zinets and Lina Kushch apparently penned the news bit for Yahoo News and a few hundred others to pick up. They’re apparently on the ground in Kiev someplace, and their collaboration with Jason Bush in Moscow, along with and Pavel Polityuk, and with something (I know not what) added by Alessandra Prentice, if sheer numbers ever impress for such stories. And too, all that reporting expertise for this the latest “story” in a series edited by Ukraine bureau chief Richard Balmforth and Reuters’ regional editor Tom Heneghan from Paris, it’s astounding for a writer who types 700 words in 20 minutes with more accuracy.
When I saw this story yesterday, I had no idea who these people even where. I was certainly astounded by the news Donetsk airport had fallen, especially since my friend and colleague Graham Phillips was almost simultaneously streaming images and video asking; “Where are the Ukrainians?” Graham, you see, he’s been imprisoned, shot at, captured, tossed around, and banned and banished from Kiev, all since he began reporting the wrong story. Excuse me, but there’s no way to remain without snideness or cynicism, not given all the bullshit from Reuters and the like. But misinforming, like I said, is not so unusual. What is unusual is when reporters or news outlets are told there is evidence and reporting to suggest inaccuracy, and no one does anything about it. This is the case so far with Reuters, and with Bloomberg. Both outlets ran with this version of reality, and I contacted both to offer up imagery (neither had) and testimony, neither media outlet took the time to gather.
As I write this, Alexander Zakharchenko has spoken directly with Graham Phillips about the “attempts” by Kiev forces to retake the airport. Phillips, who had been walking unmolested all yesterday about the airport, shared dozens of photos and video showing exactly the opposite of what the Reuters story suggested. What’s most important here though, is the fact Phillips was not even contacted by ANY of the media I tweeted or messaged, or any of those tagged. This can only mean one of two things in my opinion. Either the mainstream western media is so sure of ANY story line that supports Kiev, that they are immune to dissenting views or other evidence. Or, journalism in general relies only on the broadcasting of the same story, over and over, in propaganda form, period. Maybe both of these are true.
Introduced to the sheer obtuse character or abject arrogance of these entities, I looked up who these reporters are. At least three of them, are interestingly associated with such a story. You see FIVE people, this sticks in my mind like a splinter. What is more sticky for me though, are the roles of the people.
Richard Balmforth – He’s the Chief Correspondent in Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova for Reuters, and the former Information Officer for NATO.
Tom Heneghan – He’s the Regional Editor stationed in Paris, and in charge of religious news. (You probably caught that, so I will leave off asking the logical question.)
Jason Bush – He’s the Chief Economic Correspondent for Reuters in Moscow. Again, the logic of economics meet world conquest escapes me, as I am sure it does you.
Pavel Polityuk – Now he’s an interesting one among the platoon of authors on this one. He usually reports from Ukraine on such things as commodities and energy, agricultural commodities, oil, gas, etc. An IT guy according to his LinkedIn profile, I am not sure why he is involved, maybe they’ll finally explain.
Anyway, the other authors, and these, they are part of a bigger team that has covered many stories about Ukraine since the unrest began. If I pointed out that almost all of these lean toward Kiev and Washington, and in the general direction of NATO, I don’t guess anybody would be amazed. Here’s one telling of Russian misdeeds and not a lot more. That example only took two major editors and one writer though. What’s crucial to understand here though, is not the singular effect of one bad story. It’s the downhill slide of misinformation that trickles from the fingertips of these authors.
Reuters reporting ends up at places like the London Free Press, with some of the same writers. Stories like these, spread far and wide from London to Washington, New York City, Paris, worldwide really, so imagine the overall impact. Yahoo News pics up these stories, and hundreds upon hundreds of other newsrooms. I know the astute reader grasps the implications. Once it’s said, at least by Reuters or BBC, it’s done and over. You cannot really take back the implication and the social sense of these kinds of information fumbles. Of course Reuters is not even treating this one as a fumble, now are they?
Has the media become so immune to the public view, as to ignore even the possibility of being wrong? What kind of people are behind media with such immense power and so little scrutiny? Whether these reports are outright lies and propaganda, or lazy and mediocre incompetence, the end result is the same. Did Kiev’s forces attack? No one has denied this. Is the airport in their hands now? No one has provided imagery or video to that effect yet.
What we have seen are images of, as Reuters puts it; the “Ukrainian Interior Ministry’s Azov battalion line up before they depart to the frontlines in eastern Ukraine, in central Kiev January 17, 2015.” Now what’s significant in that for me is, “who had the foresight to snap images of recruits headed to a front nobody else knew about? The time stamp on this is the day before yesterday folks. Was this story being crafted BEFORE the airport was “taken over?” Or, did the FIVE authors craft, re-craft, edit with two different editors, all on European time, as the battle was going on?
It’s a bit like when the press announced Dewey had beat Harry Truman. Or you tell me.
Additional image credit: Feature image of Patrick Lancaster in Ukraine with Graham Phillips – Courtesy the reporters.
Dear Phil thank you very much for your articles. Ukrainian crisis has showed how little honesty and integrity in this world. O my God, fifteen years only when my country Russia has become to stand up from its knees. All this fifteen years we wanted to be friends with everybody, was learning to be Europeans. We went to visit and called to us. Now everything has destroyed, we stopped to respect each other. America and Europe have “punished” Russia, but what for they punished Ukraine? In fact now Ukraine can not get out from this crisis. Ukraine lost most of all. Say hello to Graham Phillip. I am sure there is no money that would force person to climb under the bullets.
Phil Butler says
Thank you Larysa, for your kind words and your time. I am glad you said this, as I have tried to tell this story of a surfacing Russia many times. Many, do not care to hear, but a few do. I am sorry that Russia and America, Europe, cannot be together and in peace as we were meant to be. We have to throw off the jackals that have pitted us against one another again. My countrymen are standing by, and watching world peace fly out the window. This makes me very sad.
I will pass your good wishes to Graham, he is a very brave lad indeed.
Good article. Thanks for the insight.
I’m afraid the lack of visuals from the Reuters story comes from a concerted effort by mainstream media outlets to do away with photos and the photojournalists that are experienced at crafting them.
Why? Control of the message. This Reuters story would not be believable if accompanied with actual stills or video.
In every corner of the plant, people live in a completely visual society. Imagery has changed the course of wars, politics and the world around us. It is a powerful story telling tool.
We have to ask ourselves then, why, when digital stills and video have never been cheaper and faster to publish, are news organizations getting rid of the professionals that craft these visual stories at break-neck speed? (Reuters has been laying of photogs by the hundreds worldwide recently)
Agenda and control of the message. Without visual proof, the corporate media can regurgitate any propaganda countries like the US spit out – and people will believe it.
Without images and professionals to create them, our history is easier to manipulate.
Phil Butler says
Yes, and part of the reason is laziness too, not to mention being cheap. These reporters operate remotely from offices or their homes and write as if they are there. The imagery, it cannot be up close and personal without someone being on the ground in east Ukraine. Parroting what Reuters and AP etc. put out, it is just cheap and easy.
Media outlets, once citizen journalism and the web took hold, had a huge problem keeping up monetization wise. I was one of the first bloggers to take advantage of digital media, even the New York Times wrestled with staying afloat back then and now.
Once these media got in a money pinch, snapping them up by the elite became logical. Now, most of the mainstream media in the west is owned by people who want to control what we think. It is a fact, and one the moguls really do not even care if we know.
I read the article with much trepidation. I work for a once reputable Malaysian newspaper which due to ownership bu the ruling party has become a mouthpiece. This I think is bad but when news is being manufactured by such a “reputable” agency like Reuters all is lost. How does one know now which is the honest source. These are troubling times.
Phil Butler says
This was a test to see if they even care if we know Askiah, the dangerous thing for all of us now is, they do not. I mailed Bloomberg’s editor for their story, tweeted and messaged Reuters, wrote this story, and so on. The lie stands.
What this indicates is, whoever own these media has passed down an edict to press, keep going, bash the world over the head into leaning at a Christian war on Muslims, a west war on Russia, and perpetual war no matter what. We are in a grave, grave mess my friend.
Thank you, Phil I have tears when I read your article. So rare to hear the truth about what is happening in the Donbas. West helps to kill children, women and the elderly. The whole truth is ignored or distorted completely. What is happening to the world? Thank you from me and from all the victims of this damn war that has been started by the junta Kiev and US supporters. World should know the truth. And we all love Graham. Thank you to all of you. Valentina
Phil Butler says
Thank you Valentina. I am just doing my job as I see it. Like Graham, I really do care about our world and what becomes of us all. Siding with western hegemony is madness. Russia wanted to be friends, it was plain to see…. someone has spoiled us all.
Vladimir Samarin says
Sorry, Phil, just to be sure:
I sent you a couple of emails, from my Gmail to yours. Have you received anything from ‘Vladimir from Russia’?
Phil Butler says
I apologize, I just now saw your mail. I do not check gmail as much as some others. I’ll respond asap.
Vladimir Samarin says
No-no-no, no necessity in emergency measures. Just to be sure my emails are not lost somewhere in the Internet.
Nice evisceration. The Ukrainian side is in fact completely fed up with Graham Phillips’ antics, and is having a go at getting the British government to yank him out of the area. They mean to accomplish this by offering photos they say show him joining the Novorossiyan Armed Forces (NAF). Better warn him.
Ukraine is turning into an embarrassment for its new friends, and I think they are just trying to figure out how to dump it before it begins to rub off on them. You notice there has been nothing lately on MH-17; everyone has just stopped talking about it. If it turns out that Ukraine really was responsible – as looks increasingly likely – its western support will melt away like snow on a hot day.
Phil Butler says
Hey Mark. Yes, when they get desperate we’ll see even more crazy stuff. This is an all out war by the industrialists in the west. Somehow, they’ve decided to go “all in” to get Russia out of the game. Graham, like anybody else in the crucible, finds himself under intense scrutiny. The British Government would be unwise to focus on him at all. All hell would break loose, trust me.
Thanks for your candid view Mark, on MH17, if Putin lets the world know what he does.. Obama will be done.
Judy Whitehead says
Thank-you for this article. Now I know that every time Poroshenko talks up a Russian invasion, that NAF forces have been victorious. The press conference with Zakarchenko, who had 3 captive Ukrainian servicemen with him (the few who had survived) only drove the point home that Ukraine’s latest military ‘adventure’ failed badly, with hundreds of Ukrainian servicemen killed, cannon fodder for the mad Kiev regime.
What can be done about the upside-down world that Reuters, BBC and Guardian are portraying? I’ve reported some of the Guardian’s lies to the Press Complaints Commission in England. Could we organize such a campaign for the Reuter’s articles? Something desperately needs to be done about the outright lies the the western media parrots, mostly by simply accepting Kiev’s delusional, Nazi version of ‘reality’. Journalists and editors don’t even bother to check the facts. This is more than irresponsible, bad journalism; it’s trashing all guidelines and norms of what journalism is meant to do, i.e. inform the public. Is there anyone organizing a letter campaign to relevant overseers of media? Could we do this?
Personally, I hope that when this is all over and hopefully Russia prevails, that not only a few politicians, but also some journalists will be subjected to a Nuremburg-type trial. They should be jailed for the lies they tell, retell and rehash.
Phil Butler says
Thanks for taking your time to come and have your say Judy. This is truly, the same kind of madness that started the previous two World Wars. With the weapons we have now though, we will not survive this attempt to take Russia’s natural resources. This I fear.
T. S. says
What happened at the airport was big, very big and ‘people’ have been told to shut up. Apparently only TASS is going to give the nasty results. Sounds very Russian.
597 Ukrainian troops killed in clashes at Donetsk airport — DPR defense ministry
January 22, 21:00 UTC+3
The DPR army had destroyed 49 Ukrainian tanks and 47 infantry combat vehicles and armored vehicles in retaliatory fire, Eduard Basurin said