Nixon and Obama — The Politics of News

The “war” on media started by President Nixon continues on today with President Obama’s Administration.

President Obama inherits his “war” on media tactics that originated from President Nixon’s previous years. Before Nixon became president, he already had a negative relationship with the press. When he was defeated in his 1962 bid to become California’s governor, he accused journalists of being “delighted that I lost.” However, the majority of newspapers “endorsed him” at the time.

When Nixon became president, he changed how white house administration involved the media. Nixon used a series of media manipulation, and “picked H.R. “Bob” Haldeman, a former advertising agency executive…[t]o shape the president’s public image.” Effectively, creating the first “White House communications office.” By doing so, Nixon created an artificial barrier between himself and the media. Additionally, Nixon’s staff “ arranged carefully orchestrated appearances in front of friendly crowds.”

President Obama has been reported by over 38 separate news organization. President Obama has reportedly taken similar routes in curtailing the media, regularly barring photojournalist from events. Additionally, President Obama also released media content via youtube, facebook, twitter, and other media sites. This, in turn, bypasses the need for journalists (or their questions).

In certain instances, President Nixon became belligerent against journalist, even to the point of plotting to assassinate columnist Jack Anderson, after he “infuriated Nixon by publishing embarrassing leaks.” The plot was never carried out. While President Obama hasn’t been in the exact situation, he has charged eight cases against whistleblowers, “five more than all previous presidents combined.”

Neo-Nazis in Ukraine

Trapped inside the House of Trade Unions in Odessa Ukraine, federal activist are forced to barricade the door from Neo-Nazi mobs, funded by US support. Globalresearch.ca reports that “the building was set on fire quite deliberately as part of a carefully planned paramilitary operation.” Witnesses claim that “those who managed to escape the fire, were severely beaten outside by the besiegers (Radicals) of the burning building,” who first initiated contact by throwing “molotov cocktails.”

Much to my surprise, it is reported that these radicals have been supported by Western special forces that were created by Washington, receiving training and funds.

The article goes on to further claim that the “US-NATO is directly involved in the crackdown on so-called “pro-Russian” activists.” In a related article, John Kerry, the United States Secretary of State, oversaw the release of  seven military observers who were captured by pro-Russian separatist forces. The observers, as reported by pro-Russian separatists, accused the observes of “spying for Nato.”

Under a section titled “America’s Neo-Nazi Government in Kiev is a reality,” the author, Professor Michel Chossudovsky, claims that the Neo-Nazi mobs in Odessa bear the hallmarks of US sponsored terrorist(e.g. Syria). However, as a skeptic, I found very little evidence throughout the article that referenced outside sources of any type. Essentially, the article runs the risk of appearing as propaganda. To affirm these claims, I headed over to theguardian.com, which also held similar sentiments.

While unidentified to some extent, the comments were mostly one-sided.

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The comments were attained from the guardian, here.

These comments and others stood above the rest, as they were “voted up,” or given the highest amount of likes on the website.

Flood Coverage in Ukraine

In an article written by Ukrainian website, author foretells of imminent “catastrophic consequences of landslides” that rival biblical proportions. The flood in Ukraine of 2012 evoked large responses from uzhgorod.in. The focus of the article is what could happen in the incoming years, instead of the normal reports that cover what did happen. The causes of the flood are attributed to “the interaction of natural anomalies associated with global warming and the movement of tectonic masses as well as the human factor,” coupled with “the construction of dams, bridges and storage reservoirs…[and] deforestation, which started in the postwar years”.

The article goes on to further describe the events that will happen in the next 10 to 20 years. Eventually, due to going past the breaking point, we will eventually see “following disasters [that] will be catastrophic” and the “water in the mountains will not be held any more, the water in the rivers will overflow, and eventually dams will begin to fall”. Mother nature is nothing without a sense of irony, I suppose.

Ukraine news did not project a single story coverage with the floods.

The floods were presented completely differently on PravdaTv. The story was more traditional of natural disaster coverage: eagle eye view, cars moving slowly through high waters, and a sideline view of pedestrians being splashed by passing trucks. The story registered with me as an opposite of the previously mentioned article. This report takes on the what did happen aspect, and gives actual details to a specific event. The previous article had for the most part, unspecified details including which city the flood occurred in, and mostly spoke for an imminent demise for Ukraine as a whole. However, even though that article did have a mostly gloom outlook, it did note that “we can try to reduce the damage and the number of possible victims”. Although, once again, how was not specified.

WIkileaks exposes Ukrainian Politicians

Through wikileaks, government officials such as Tymoshenko Poroshenko and Yulia Tymoshenko have been exposed for plotting to form a “coalition government in 2006” and working with the mafia, respectively. The article, which I found through wikileaks, led me to the voiceofrussia.com, where I learned that Poroshenko, the current president of Ukraine, gave “inside information” to the “US Embassy of Kiev.”

In essence, a “coalition government” is a form of oligarchy. It was reported that new files released by Wikileaks contained the “newly-elected president of Ukraine(Poroshenko)…was mentioned no less than 100 times in the secret files” by US diplomats who called him”disgraceful.” The article contains contradictory information. On one hand, Poroshenko is working with the US, and on the other, he is being criticized by the US. The article did not discern the difference between the two different voices from the US.

Furthermore, the files revealed information that the former Prime Minister “Yulia Tymoshenko might have cooperated with mafia boss Seymon Mogilievich when she headed United Energy Systems.” Additionally, Tymoshenko was imprisoned for negotiating a bad deal between Russia and Ukraine in favor of Russia. As a result, Tymoshenko was given a “seven-year prison sentence.” However, she was released by February 22,  by a “parliamentary decree.”

The wikileaks exposed some pretty high-profile officials, but as seen with Tymoshenko, the punishment was not truly enforced. By following the money, we (the viewers) are able to see that in these cases, politicians and crime bosses have been linked and backdoor meetings involving oligarchies have occurred. Oligarchies serve as a threat to the people of a nation because they are in favor of the elite and not the populous.

The article contained small percentages of biasedness. In one paragraph when describing Poroshenko, they described him as a “figure who uses his might and power to wind down the deadly standoff in the country’s southeast or a mere businessman who skillfully pulls his strings.” They ended the paragraph by stating that that information “is still debated.” However, by that point, the damage has already been done.

The wikileaks page that I visited has not been updated since 2010. Upon investigation, I first noticed that the wikileaks page was operational during the “so-and-so” from 2005 to 2010. Then, by visiting thevoiceofrussia.com, I became aware that the conversation was being continued on en.ria.ua, a slightly opinionated news organizational website.

source: http://voiceofrussia.com/news/2014_06_12/Wikileaks-exposes-dark-sides-of-Ukraine-s-Poroshenko-Tymoshenko-3063/

BuzzFeed in the Ukraine

In comparison to normal journalism, Buzzfeed uses a lot of picture. In fact, it’s one of their trademarks, for many of their posts involve scrolling through pictures that capture that perfect moment of expression, followed by a short dictation of why the picture is accurate. Generally on opinion piece’s I can’t relate, but in the piece that I analyzed buzzfeed is actually pretty factual.

The Buzzfeed article is Pro-Western Parties Take Ukrainian election. Until today, I didn’t know that buzzfeed actually wrote articles that dealt with political matters. Much to my surprise, the information is not half-cocked. Buzz feed differs from traditional journalism because it uses a majority of pictures to convey the meaning, while the words serve as a backup. Of course, in traditional journalism (photojournalism excluded), the pictures serve as backup to the written work.

Throughout the piece, I only found that two anonymous sources were used throughout the entire piece. This once again differs as the ethos of journalism is rooted behind the credibility of the sources.

 

Despite the lack of sources, I still found the article to be informational. The pictures that they displayed were numerous and did not show any particular singular story. Although I prefer traditional journalism, I have to say that the pictures take me to a place where other journalism stops short. I’ve never been to the Ukraine before so the pictures help bring life to the situations at hand. I consider this type of journalism similar to a flip book: it’s not the richest source of information, but boy is it pretty.

I found the information to be relatively free of bias. Each picture presents a different side to the story. For example, a picture of soldiers is conjoined by the text “Parliament’s failure to pass an absentee voting law meant that many soldiers fighting in the east were also unable to vote.” and another picture that states that about five million Ukrainians were unable to vote. Yanukovych’s party traditionally won overwhelmingly in both regions.”

However, the only real concerns I had were of a picture of a dilapidated house that looks like it was bombed during the war because I thought that it might inaccurately portray the residents of the single-constituency districts.

Overall, I thought that the BuzzFeed article was informational. I went to find out about the elections in Ukraine and I was not disappointed. I was impressed to find that I could find out actual information on buzzfeed.

Ukrainians Raise Funds for War through Social Media

Ukrainians in London have raised over £46,000 in donations that have been deployed for “necessary medical treatment and medications under the International Renaissance Foundation IRF Humanitarians Solidarity Project.” Their goal is to “help the underprivileged in Ukraine by making grants of money to pay for items, services, or facilities and by advancing education for the public benefit.” And with over 638 donates, JustGiving has met over 92% of their intended goal. The website, Justgiving.com, also allows for users to share their thoughts and lists the amounts that each person has donated.

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Photo from Justgiving.com

I thought this was interesting because it shows the evolution of social media, which at it’s highest is an interconnected platform. Recently, I wrote about how social media has been transforming by referencing Liveuamap, an interactive mapping site that also utilizes twitter and other forms of social media.

However, I wanted to get a better understanding of how official media has been affected by social media, so I looked at the number one english newspaper site in Ukraine, Kyiv Post, and with over 11,000 copies, they are fairly successful. Although the leading newspaper in Ukraine has been running without a hitch from authorities or other outside forces, lesser news mediums, such as Vesti, have run into more problems. On September 11th, Ukrainian forces barred intro to “dozens of Russian journalists and media workers.” Thus, effectively shutting down the newspaper’s website.

However, they have been benefited by social media, specifically Google. By utilizing Google, I am able to translate the articles on Vesti.com. Without Google, I would not be able to read any of the articles, because I am not able to read Ukrainian. Thus, this has effectively boosted the number of viewers that are able to view the articles.

Revolutionary Approach to Journalism

Citizen journalists in Ukraine use an ingenious internet site that “mainly uses Twitter to aggregate and chart the locations of deaths, bombings, fires, arrests, and even chilling photographs taken by civilians.” The site , http://liveuamap.com/,  uses an interactive map that is easy to navigate. The blue markings indicate conflicts arising from Ukrainian forces, while red markings indicate conflict arising from Russian forces. The creators of the site had this to say:

Ukrainian revolution was going on from 21 of November 2013. In the end of January there were major escalations, and from “quite local” squares and streets of Kyiv it spread to all of Ukraine. So it was quite difficult to watch where is what in regular news. From Lviv to Donetsk, from Yalta to Chernyhiv: deads, fights, shootings, capturing of city halls and region[al] administrations.

Here’s why the site works: it’s twitter meets social mapping. Upon viewing the map, one would see a collage of circles representing shootings, armed attacks by journalists, voting issues, political news, war related, and more, with up to date news. Within less than five minutes, I was informed of voter contamination, low voter turnouts, and [something else]. Upon doing so, I had to inquire who was reporting the news seen on the website.

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source from http://liveuamap.com/

After clicking around for a while, I found a variety of soucres. I stumbled across an article posted by Sergei Leshchenko, the most famous journalist in the country specializing in crime investigation authorities, which indicated an armed attack in Znam’yanka. Another source lead me to ATO and Crimea, a well organized journalist website. A final search lead me to James Marson’s twitter, a deputy Bureau chief that also works for the Wall Street Journal.

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source from http://liveuamap.com/

It’s hard to find a downfall to this site. The site actively works as a spider web that shows the amount of activity in multiple areas, while simultaneously connecting various news outlets. Furthermore, the site utilizes over 30 different languages, and also covers events surrounding “ISIS”, the “Middle East”, and “Hong Kong”.
The website and content seem relatively uncensored, as that would be counterintuitive to the design of the website. If more countries utilized this website, it would be pivotal for citizen journalists, especially in countries where freedom of voice is prohibited or obstructed.