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Cablegate: Tfgg01: Russian Media Focuses On American Hostility Toward

VZCZCXRO5628
OO RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLN
RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHMO #2497 2341140
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 211140Z AUG 08
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9614
INFO RUEHSI/AMEMBASSY TBILISI PRIORITY 3886
RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

UNCLAS MOSCOW 002497

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PBTS PINR PINS PNAT PREL GG RS
SUBJECT: TFGG01: Russian media focuses on American hostility toward
Moscow, a divided Europe, and Western media bias

REF: A)MOSCOW 2343 B)MOSCOW 2366 C)MOSCOW 2383 D)MOSCOW 2407

1. (SBU) Summary: In the week since the signing of the six-point
agreement, the Russian media concentrated largely on the conflict's
aftermath, U.S. antagonism towards Russia, the division in Europe
over how to deal with Moscow, and continued Western media bias.
Outrageous characterizations of Saakashvili and Georgian "crimes" in
the media dramatically decreased but not without a few potshots and
unflattering pictures. While it remains the number one news topic,
overall coverage of the conflict has given way to other themes,
including the Olympics and the economy. End Summary.

Media Anti-Americanism in media growing
---------------------------------------

2. (SBU) Since the end of active hostilities last week, Russian
media shifted its focus away from slandering Georgia to blackening
U.S. policies and actions in the Caucasus. Television news and
print media castigated the U.S. Komsomolskaya Pravda, a popular
tabloid, carried a photo of the Secretary with her head superimposed
on the body of Conan the Barbarian and a caption urging her to "cool
down." Anti-American television commentator Mikhail Leontyev
continued the highly emotional attacks, comparing the Secretary to a
mental patient.

3. (SBU) Statements from Russian officials echoed the anti-American
theme. Russian UN diplomat Vitaly Churkin blamed the U.S. for
preventing a UN resolution aimed at helping to settle the conflict.
Russian Ambassador to NATO Dmitriy Rogozin said he would be
"disgusted" to work with those who sided with the "aggressor", a
clear jab at Washington. Pro-Kremlin newspaper Izvestiya accused
the U.S. of trying to scare Russia by threatening sanctions and
diplomatic isolation.

Europe divided?
---------------

4. (SBU) While Washington was painted as the aggressor in Russian
media, Europe was portrayed as divided over whether to go along with
the U.S. or keep an open line with Moscow. Russian media played
upon this image in its coverage of the NATO ministerial. Izvestiya
quoted UK Foreign Minister David Miliband as deviating from the U.S.
line, commenting that "such a position in London... leaves Rice in
the pleasant company of the Poles and the Balts." Channel One, a
state-owned broadcaster, said that despite Washington's intention to
isolate Russia, "the doors of the NATO-Russia council aren't shut."

Western media bias
------------------

5. (SBU) Since the beginning of the conflict, Russian media and
officials accused Western news agencies of anti-Moscow bias (see
reftels.) These charges were parroted last week and have surfaced
again this week. The state-owned Russian TV station Vesti-24
announced that Russia's mission to NATO has launched an Internet
site designed to "break the information blockade of Russia regarding
the events in South Ossetia." Channel One ran a piece on a
pro-Russian rally at NATO headquarters. A Russian MP at the rally
said "Western media will not show this [the rally] because they have
an entirely different goal. They work in this situation not as a
media, but mostly as propagandists." On the website Gazeta.ru, a
commentator said coverage on BBC, CNN, and SkyNews was rife with
"deliberate subjectivity."

6. (SBU) Comment: As foreseen in reftels, the Russian media put the
South Ossetian conflict in the context of a wider conflict between
the U.S. and Russia. Continued complaints of Western bias from
Russian language news outlets seem aimed to fuel domestic suspicion
of reporting not coming from Kremlin controlled/influenced media.
End comment.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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