Washington Post: Russian Media Uses Pandemic for Anti-Western Propaganda

The Washington Post issued an article with the fact-based support of the Oxford Internet Institute report, which entails that some countries use their state-run media as propaganda tools amid these tough times of the pandemic.

These countries expectedly include Russia, China, Iran and turkey. The instigation of these claims originates after a Russian military escort equipped with medical supplies arrived in Rome earlier last month.

The Kremlin-funded English-language media outlets such as RT and Sputnik, sprang into action as they filmed an Italian man replacing an EU flag with a Russian one. The video was aimed to underline how “ Italy’s European partners ‘failed’ to provide assistance to the coronavirus-stricken country while Russia ‘filled in,’” reads the article written by Isabelle Khurshudyan, a foreign correspondent based in Moscow. 

The irony in this matter was that the Russian aid was labeled “useless” by the Italian newspaper La Stampa. The newspaper reported that around 80% of the supplies were unusable whilst they citied high-level first-hand political sources.

Although when questions were raised internationally about Russia’s ‘aid’, the Kremlin-funded news outlets went on the self-justifying mode.

RT baptized the Italian story as “ingratitude” and further declared it as “ripping a page straight out of the U.S. media’s ‘Russiagate’ playbook.” Another propagative headline and publicity stunt by RT read, “How disinformation really works: Activists linked to pro-NATO think tank smear Russian covid-19 aid to Italy.”

The Washington Post reports that as this pandemic draws people of all backgrounds to the internet screens, the propaganda machines of these subjective medias use this time excessively. “state-sponsored media outlets have tried to spin it to their advantage, according to an Oxford Internet Institute report,” reads the article.

The study by Oxford Internet Institute has found reoccurring themes that are aimed at blurring the truth and spreading misinformation. The analysis comes from examining state-subsidized English-language media from Russia, China, Iran and Turkey.

In detail, these new outlets are “portraying responses by others to the pandemic as ‘incompetent,’” which is ultimately harmful to each of the ‘belligerents’ in this conflict against the virus. They also spread false rumors, especially on “pushing conspiracy theories about the origins of covid-19,” and finally these outlets are “positioning their countries as world leaders in the fight against the virus,” as stated in the report.

In the West, however, Fox News has offered an amplified podium for President Trump’s publicizing of ‘hydroxychloroquine’ as a coronavirus treatment, notwithstanding any agreement (even from the FDA) from health professionals on the drug’s usefulness.

Brazils President Jair Bolsonaro has labeled the epidemic as a “fantasy” and a “little flu,” as Twitter even deleted two of his tweets for distributing misinformation about the deadly virus.

Philip N. Howard, director of the Oxford Internet Institute, said that criticism of the World Health Organization is also ‘prevalent in the content the report studied’.

“If you can generate some headlines that are a little click-baity and pretend to be giving you the truth or looking under the hood or exposing some conspiracy, then if you’re online late at night trying to figure out what’s going on, those are the headlines you’ll click through on,” Howard stated.

Author: Isabelle Khurshudyan

Source: The Washington Post 

By B. Alexishvili

14 April 2020 16:33