The United States and Russia Propaganda is a Two-Way Street

Ask yourself the following question:

When did I last read or hear anything from the mainstream media that portrays Russia and Russians in a positive light?”

With that in mind, let’s look at an interesting government document from the United States.  Fortunately for us, on the Central Intelligence Agency website there is a treasure trove of old documents that have been released to the public in the library of declassified materials.  According to the CIA, they release millions of pages of documents every year and puts information that may be of interest to the public on their website.  One of these documents from 1970 was released in part on July 16, 2012 and is quite interesting given the current anti- everything that is Russian mantra that is Washington today.

Here is the cover page of the formerly secret document, a memorandum for the Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger dated January 16th, 1970:

Apparently, President Richard Nixon was concerned about the reports of anti-American propaganda in the Soviet Union’s news media. He wanted American Ambassador to the Soviet Union, Jacob D. Beam, to remind Soviet officials of the United States government’s “concern about this trend”.

While the first page of the document is redacted in its entirety, the following three pages are a telegram from the Department of State’s embassy in Moscow and is addressed to the Secretary of State in Washington as well as the American embassy in Munich.  On these three pages, the author outlines samples of Soviet press coverage on the United States that have made the United States look bad in the eyes of Soviet citizenry.

Here’s a quote from the opening paragraph of the telegram:

While occasional examples of positive Soviet media reporting about U.S. scene appear in print (Apollo program, Simohov piece Dec. 26 Pravda), these fleeting favourable glimpses continue to be outweighed by large volume of repetitive distortions which permeate Soviet press coverage of U.S. foreign and domestic developments.  Soviet reader (sic), if he believes his newspapers, can only conclude that U.S. is sick, degenerate society without hope of solving its social and economic problems.  On foreign scene, he is told U.S. is aggressive, rapacious power bent on dominating its allies and third world, while seeking to subvert and destroy “socialist camp”.

Here are some of the newspaper stories that were deemed unfavourable by the United States:

1.) Cosa Nostra makes $40 billion per year, has 200,000 members and is the largest business enterprise in the United States.

2.) The Pentagon proposes to modify Safeguard program, indicating an accelerated pace of deployment and higher spending for the anti-ballistic missile system.

3.) Distorted reporting of U.S. racial tensions, decrying police terror against the Black Panthers.

4.) U.S. repression of Indians centred on the occupation of Alcatraz which actually did take place over a 14 month period from November 20, 1969 to June 11, 1971 as you can see here:

5.) The United States is charged with steeling Nazi gold in 1945 and refusing to discuss its whereabouts.

6.) Vicious anti-U.S. cartoons aimed at American involvement in Southeast Asia as well as the use of a draft lottery.

7.) Full U.S. support for Israeli aggression as well as the growing U.S. – Israel military alliance.

8.) U.S. atrocities in Vietnam and the revival of the anti-war movement in the United States.  It is important to remember that the shooting of students took place on May 4, 1970, less than four months after the cover letter to this document was written.

Not only was Soviet newspaper coverage of the United States deemed unacceptable, here’s what the telegram had to say about Soviet television coverage of America:

Note the closing line of the telegram:

The time may nevertheless be at hand when it would be worth while to remind Soviet officials of our awareness of the present trend and its potential repercussions.

Let’s close with a brief summary of the United States in the late 1960s.  During 1968, Martin Luther King and Robert Francis Kennedy were both assassinated, the United States had over 549,000 troops in Vietnam, the Democratic National Convention riots took place in Chicago and a shootout between the Black Panthers and the Oakland police took place.  In 1969, members of the Manson Family killed at least 6 people in Los Angeles, in Northern California, the Zodiac Killer was making his mark, the My Lai Massacre took place in Vietnam and increasingly violent anti-war demonstrations were a regular fixture on the nightly news.  At the very least, there certainly was a lot of fodder for what was appearing in the Soviet media about the United States of the late 1960s.

Looking back at the question that I posed at the beginning of this posting and the fact that the Nixon Administration took umbrage at the biased and unrealistic reportage taking place in the Soviet print and television coverage of what was happening in the United States during the later part of the 1960s, one can only draw the conclusion that the current Western media, particularly the media in the United States, has learned absolutely nothing over the past five decades.  We also have to conclude that we really are being propagandized to “soften” us up for a future military conflict with a Russia, a nation that, in the eyes of the mainstream media, appears to be unworthy of existing in its current form and with its current leader.  By consistently portraying Russia in a negative light, Washington will find it easier to persuade us that a war with Russia is a just and desirable thing.  Unfortunately, as we’ve learned in the past, propaganda is a two-way street and the battle for our minds and the minds of our so-called foes can easily be won by our respective leaders, largely because we all tend to forget that “the other guy” is a human being just like we are. 

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