Win tickets to see the smash hit musical Mamma Mia at the Roanoke Civic Center. Two winners will each receive four tickets!
Monday, October 14, 2013
There are few people in the world more anti-Russian than I am. After all, the Russians invaded my homeland, Latvia; sent me into exile 50 years ago; and, to this day, refer to the Latvian language as Sobechi Yazik (dogs language, i.e., barking).
Yet I have to give Russian President Vladimir Putin lots of credit for totally undressing President Barack Obama and his empty rhetoric in stopping the United States from bombing Syria and getting the U.S. into yet another unwinnable Middle East war.
The Moscow Times put it this way: “Analysts have already called this the pinnacle of Putin’s time at the helm of the Russian state.”
In addition to appearing in The New York Times commentary page, Putin was the focus of a cover story in Time magazine for the second time in a month, and U.S. Congressman Brad Sherman told reporters that Putin’s Syria plan “was the best thing to come out of Russia since vodka.”
And how Putin did all this was to become a master of public relations and to speak the language of the locals. During the Cold War, the Russians would use phrases like “running dog,” “war mongers,” “decadent bourgeoisie” and “super imperialist” to describe the U.S. and, thus, infuriate people in this country. Now the “new” Putin has adopted American vernacular and bemoans “insufficient communications,” “lack of consensus” and “out of balance.” And, instead of saying “we will bury you,” his more controversial statement was America was not “exceptional.”
Furthermore, the National Journal notes that Putin’s words against U.S. military action in Syria “did what no American could — unite Congress.”
Another review of his commentary explained “it is a fascinating document — a very Russian perspective aimed at the American public.” OK, just how did this former KGB hand and ex-communist, if not macho caricature posing half-naked, pull this off?
Simple; he went to an American public relations firm, Ketchum, which has been advising him for years. Putin’s no dummy, as this firm was also used by the Bush administration.
In a piece entitled “Putin and Bush’s favorite PR firm,” the National Journal explains, “Ketchum, the PR firm used to place Putin’s op-ed piece, was the same company that the Bush administration used to produce what the Government Accountability Office (GAO) official later called ‘covert propaganda.’ ” Money was channeled through Ketchum to tout Bush’s No Child Left Behind initiative. And Obama’s Health and Human Services Department has used Ketchum to promote electronic records.
Sara Lee, writing in unitedliberty.org, states, “What’s important about these events is how they shine a light that conservatives and libertarians have long been yelling into the wind: the use of propaganda to misinform the public is pervasive and dangerous.”
Putin knows this game and his effort did not stop with print. In 2005, he formed the RT Network (RT for Russia today), which broadcasts around the world and, according to it, “reaches 80 million people in the U.S. and is the second most watched foreign news channel in the U.S. — BBC is first.” It’s patterned after CNN, with multiple talking heads doing commentary, and even hired Larry King of CNN-fame to host its talk shows. When in Rome do as the Romans do.
The German media outlet Spiegel notes, “RT has a simple assignment: break the monopoly of Anglo Saxon mass media. Its recipe of success is sex appeal (take a look at their anchors!), a rigid anti-American stance and a neverending flow of money.”
Putin is an old KGB dog, but he certainly has learned some new tricks.
Weather JournalStorm track isn't very snowy for us