By: Cliff Kincaid
Accuracy in Media
Even the liberal media couldn’t defend President Obama’s bizarre public statement about having no strategy to confront the Islamic State terrorist group. But many in the media went along with his failure to describe the Russian invasion of Ukraine as an invasion.
Asked directly if he considered the “escalation in Ukraine an invasion,” Obama said on Thursday, “I consider the actions that we’ve seen in the last week a continuation of what’s been taking place for months now.”
The Daily Mail of London provided an appropriate headline: “Obama REFUSES to call 1,000 Russian troops and tanks caught on satellite in Ukraine an ‘invasion’ but [Senator] McCain says he’s living in ‘Putin’s Orwellian universe.’”
The statement from Senators McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) included the comment, “Russia’s ongoing aggression in Ukraine can only be called one thing: a cross-border military invasion. To claim it is anything other than that is to inhabit President Putin’s Orwellian universe.”
Senators McCain and Graham are not always right on foreign affairs, but in this case they have described the mentality of Obama, a one-time student of pro-Moscow Communist Frank Marshall Davis. Obama is acting like an agent of influence for the Russians, determined to obscure the reality of what is happening in front of our eyes.
In the case of the Islamic State, Obama was honest enough to acknowledge he had no strategy. In the case of Ukraine, the strategy appears to be to flat-out lie about what the Russians are doing.
The difference appears to be that the Islamic State does not hide its barbarity, including beheadings, and forces Obama to directly answer the challenge. After all, they beheaded an American journalist on videotape. That makes it difficult for Obama to ignore or distort what is happening. The Russians, on the other hand, are lying through their teeth about invading Ukraine, in order to give Obama the option—which he accepts—of swallowing their lies. In this way, the Russians make it easier for Obama to do nothing in response.
The problem for Obama, who apparently wants to turn Ukraine over to the Russians, is that the lies have gotten too big. One of the most absurd Russian lies was that the images and video of Russian paratroopers captured in Ukraine were actually troops who had crossed the border “by accident.”
Another whopper was provided by a pro-Russian terrorist leader in eastern Ukraine who said the Russian soldiers fighting with him were on “vacation.”
The New York Times reported that Obama “declined to call Russia’s latest moves an invasion, as Ukraine and others have, saying they were ‘not really a shift’ but just ‘a little more overt’ form of longstanding Russian violations of Ukrainian sovereignty.”
What are “longstanding Russian violations of Ukrainian sovereignty?”
How can our media report such nonsense?
Not to be outdone, a Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty report said Obama had highlighted the “ongoing incursion” into Ukraine. A Washington Times headline referred to it as an “encroachment.”
If the President refuses to tell the truth, do the media have to follow his lead? What happened to our adversarial press?
MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell asked State Department official Jen Psaki, “If there’s artillery firing across the border and tanks moving and movements of soldiers, what’s the difference between an incursion and an invasion?” Psaki replied, “I think this is a discussion about terminology. She added, “what we’ve seen here is an escalation of aggression by the Russians, a pattern, actually, over the last several months.”
It is an “escalation of aggression” but not an invasion? Again, how can members of the press accept this nonsense?
The Washington Post ran an editorial titled, “Mr. Putin’s Invasion,” calling it what it is. (The title over the on-line version was, “The West must make Mr. Putin pay for his aggression.”) It said “Putin’s decision to send Russian forces openly into Ukraine in the past 48 hours is a watershed, not a mere ‘continuation of what’s been taking place for months,’ as President Obama understated the case Thursday.”
Actually this is the second invasion of Ukraine. The first occurred when Russian forces took over Crimea.
The Wall Street Journal on Friday ran front-page NATO photos of “Russia on the move in Ukraine,” showing Russian artillery units “inside Ukraine.” But the article below the photo was headlined, “Kiev Claims Russian Invasion.” How can it be just a claim when the Russian units are already inside Ukraine?
NATO revealed that the images came from an independent firm called Digital Globe, a provider of high-resolution earth imagery, and said that the images were not altered or changed by NATO.
Dutch Brigadier General Nico Tak, head of NATO’s crisis management center, said, “The satellite images released today provide additional evidence that Russian combat soldiers, equipped with sophisticated heavy weaponry, are operating inside Ukraine’s sovereign territory. These latest images provide concrete examples of Russian activity inside Ukraine, but are only the tip of the iceberg in terms of the overall scope of Russian troop and weapons movements.”
At the Pentagon briefing on Friday, Rear Admiral John Kirby, the press secretary, was asked about “the latest movements of Russian forces, tanks and other forces, into Ukraine,” and “the degree to which that represents an escalation of their involvement, and whether you consider this an invasion.”
He, too, backed away from the truth, saying, “…it’s a continuation of what we’ve seen all along. Whatever verb you want to put on it, whatever you want to call it, it’s just, again, intensification of the same behavior that we’ve been seeing Russia do now for several months.”
What does Adm. Kirby mean by “intensification of the same behavior?” He also urged Russia “to stop escalating the tension there.”
At the United Nations, Samantha Power, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, said, “Russia has to stop lying and has to stop fueling this conflict.” In reference to the claim about Russian soldiers being on “vacation” in Ukraine, she said, “…a Russian soldier who chooses to fight in Ukraine on his summer break is still a Russian soldier. And the armored Russian military vehicle he drives there is not his personal car.”
It’s a funny line, but she still refused to call it an invasion.
Some kudos go to Terry Moran of ABC News, who tweeted: “Say it: Russia has invaded Ukraine. Any other description is just weasel words.”
Yet, an ABC News story carried the headline, “‘Russian Invasion’ of Ukraine Prompts UN Emergency Meeting,” with the words “Russian invasion” in quotes, to suggest some dispute over whether an invasion was taking place.
Moran temporarily broke through the Orwellian universe in his own narrow way. But why is this tweet the exception and not the rule? Why is this verdict not being reflected in news coverage?
But don’t think these weasel words only apply to Russian aggression.
A story in The Wall Street Journal referred to the “the unsafe and unprofessional behavior” of Chinese pilots in the South China Sea, when a Chinese jet made several aggressive close passes by a Navy P-8 Poseidon plane over international waters.
“U.S. officials aren’t sure why the incidents keep taking place in the same general location, and said the midair encounters may be attributable to a rogue pilot or group of pilots in a squadron responsible for intercepts in the South China Sea,” the paper said. “These officials said they don’t believe the aggressive flying was directly authorized by the Chinese military.”
A senior U.S. official said, “The Chinese are trying to be more active in establishing good quality military-to-military relations. There’s just something different and unique about what’s going on in the South China Sea. Something’s out of whack.”
It goes without saying that these “U.S. officials” working for Obama want to excuse aggressive Chinese behavior directed at our own forces.
But the Wall Street Journal’s editorial writers couldn’t even accept that. Referring to the “something’s out of whack” comment, the paper said, “If that’s the case, President Xi Jinping—who exerts significant control over the military and has purged several senior generals tied to corruption—now has the opportunity to send a message by disciplining the commander responsible. But we’re not counting on it. More likely, China’s military provocations will continue until Washington pushes back.”
Indeed, China’s Defense Ministry defended its pilot and attacked the U.S. for conducting “close-in reconnaissance activities.” The spokesman said the U.S. should “eventually stop its reconnaissance activities against China, so as to create a good environment for the development of bilateral military relations.”
With few exceptions, aggressive actions by Russia and China are being excused by our media. They are following Obama’s deceptive lead at a time when the American people deserve the truth about the dangers to America and the world.
Something is out of whack at the White House.