I’ve been following the news media frenzy on the conflict in Georgia. There are many news media channels available on google.co.uk/news and I’ve been watching the news breaking on this story, which has snowballed over the last ten days.
In one article in the Times, I saw the following story:
“A Georgian interior ministry spokesman said that, Russian forces were destroying Gori, which is about 50 miles north west of Tbilisi.
Red-faced with anger, the Russian commander berated the international media at the checkpoint for reporting this claim, saying:
“Do you see the city? Is it destroyed? We have not done anything.”
This news story about the news itself seems bizarre to me. Is it a clash of cultures and intentions? Is it an attempt, gone wrong, to use the media to the Army’s advantage.
In this instance, it appears the media is misreporting the claim of the Russian commander. Or, the media are reporting a different message from the message which the Russian commander wishes to be reported.
Having now quite a few friends in Tbilisi, I’m also getting fragments of news from them and things never seem to add up. There is so much political spin occurring.
With the conflict in Georgia, one can witness the impact of the media for both good and bad. It also made me think of how, it seems to me, that the (particularly UK) media often presents itself as benevolent, morally superior and beyond reproach.
Another article with a similar theme:
“The young Russian army captain had been trained for anything, and his company, battle-hardened in Chechnya, had fought their way through Georgia all the way to Igoeti, 40km from the capital Tbilisi.
There, at the farthest point of Russian advance into Georgia, his company of nine armoured personnel carriers sat ready, at the tip of the Russian spear.
But his square-jawed, extra cool demeanour seemed to fray a bit on Saturday as he saw, advancing around a distant bend on the road, a new foe.
Bald patches glinting in the noonday sun, girded for action in a colourful array of flak jackets, kevlar helmets, polo shirts, chinos, sport sandals, cameras with fearsomely large telephoto lenses, furry boom mikes, and even the odd humble notepad, a group of western journalists heading straight for him and his men.”
And I say fair enough. Anything that pokes fun at the that war is good in my eyes. A headline like, “Cross us and we will crush you, warns Medvedev”, smacks totally of a school yard bully. Will these people ever grow up?
Sources (accessed 2008):