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View Diary: Vladimir Putin Pens Remarkable OpEd in NY Times (257 comments)

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  •  Come on now. (1+ / 0-)
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    If President Obama were inclined to write an op-ed piece aimed at the Russian public, no doubt he would be able to get it published.

    By the way, Pravda remains the mouthpiece of the Russian Communist Party (which is in the opposition), not a mouthpiece of the present Russian government. It can & does publish what it wants. While the Kremlin keeps the broadcast media on a fairly tight leash, print media are more or less free to publish what they want. The Internet in Russia is basically uncensored. In our own country, we know all too well from experience that when the U.S. government calls a war, the broadcast media snap to attention & effectively become propaganda organs of the state (as in Iraq 2003, Afghanistan 2001, Kosovo 1999, Iraq 1991).

    Remember too the role the NYT had in selling the Iraq war to the American public, the way it printed almost verbatim the pronouncements of the Bush administration as it made a fraudulent case for war. So it isn't really the case that the NYT is some adversarial organ that acts as a watchdog over the establishment; it is part of that establishment.

    In any case, press freedom is only one of many metrics by which one would assess the condition of human rights in a certain country. But even on this one, there's no clear dichotomy of us/free & them/unfree.

    •  I was watching Rachel Maddow (0+ / 0-)

      or maybe one of the other MSNBC shows, don't remember which one. Talking heads were talking about this subject - whether Obama would be published in Pravda - there was a convincing argument that we shouldn't assume that would happen. Pravda still has to ask permission to print what it prints.

      I would agree that press freedom is but one metric. But, we could take each of our freedoms as stipulated in the Bill of Rights and I'm confident we would come out on top (sometimes by far) over Russia. Are we perfect? No. Absolutely not. But what makes us better is that we're allowed to say we're not perfect and demand better. Not so much under Putin.

      •  My point about Pravda (0+ / 0-)

        . . . is only that it is an organ of the Russian Communist Party, not of the Russian state. Though Russia has lurched toward conservative authoritarianism under Putin, it is still considerably freer than it was during Communist times. If Obama wanted to get a piece directed at the Russian people published in a similar Russian "journal of record", there is no doubt that he could.

        And my earlier point was that our self-presumed moral superiority doesn't mean that we should summarily dismiss anything constructive that comes form the Russian leader. The larger point is that such self-presumed moral superiority does not give us a special right to launch wars unilaterally.

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