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JBANC Conference | 18Apr2015 | Paul Goble et al [01:12:14]
Published on 20 Apr 2015
Archived JBANC panel on Kremlin
propaganda and disinformation from April 18, 2015 YouTube live feed.
limitations due to YouTube live feed compression.
Kremlin Propaganda and
[00:00 -- 04:55] Paul Goble: We are not even prepared to call what
Putin is doing aggression or invasion. Putin has understood how to
utilize the news media -- balance vs. objectivity. Can we counter the
disinformation without spreading it? And who is going to counter it?
[04:55 -- 15:00] Christopher Walker: Three points --
assumptions; how Russia has confounded the assumptions; failure of
imagination. In 1995, the prospects for the media looked pretty good.
China would develop economically and democratize. Internet would open
communication. Instead, there was a decline in the serious news
industry. We did not forsee how the authoritarian powers would
reorganize themselves. Second point: We are drowned in information.
Russia has invested enormously in media infrastructure. But outside
Russia, Putin's image is abysmal and eroding. Point three: People were
dismissive of RT, but are now concerned about its influence.Media now
seemlessly includes RT propaganda in its news coverage. Peter
Pomarentsev: "Vladimir Putin hallucinated the Ukrainian war into
We need to rethink the bounds of our imagination to counter this.
[15:00 -- 25:18] Jamie Kirchik: Purpose of Russian propaganda
(RT, etc.) is to confuse and distract. Gives voice to conspiracy
theories -- Alex Jones (911), Galloway, etc. RT is on TV all over the
[25:18 -- 35:50] John Schindler: Worked in
counter-intelligence for many years -- makes connections, which other
people don't see -- coincidences? Russians have been spreading
disinformation for years, but now the Internet gives them a huge
advantage. 20 December is Cheka Day in Moscow -- they actually honour
and celebrate the repressive organs -- it is the Russian's
mother's milk. Prefers term "special" war rather than "hybrid" war, at
which the Russians excel. We have to have the will to fight back. The
people around Putin tend to believe their own propaganda. KGB had no
difficulty penetrating the Whitehouse at all times. Example of Nixon
Watergate scandal where Brezhnev nixed the KGB agents reports.
[35:50 -- 44:40] Liz Wahl: Used to work for RT, but resigned. Much of
the information on RT is true, but distorted. Ukraine issue was
especially bad -- Nazis, fascists, Little Green Men = local defense
forces. Young people seem to be especially vulnerable to disinformation
about U.S. society. Troll factories in Russia.
[44:40 -- 49:25] Paul Goble: The difference between opinion and fact
has been obliterated. We are responsible for this, not the Russians.
Western journalists are allowed to cover Ukraine from Moscow. Putin has
exploited our failures, rather than have invented anything new.
Question: What can we do about it?
[49:25 -- 52:10] Christopher Walker: RFE/RL has been gutted. Need to
provide democratic views
[52:10 -- 54:50] Jamie Kirchik: Problems in places like Hungary, Czech
Republic. It is not difficult to refute this -- you just have to do it.
State Department and NATO do this, but the general news media does not.
Why aren't we on the offensive?
[54:50 -- 58:05] Liz Wahl: The media must respond to disinformation
immediately -- spread awareness of the techniques used by
Russian propaganda. When you Google an issue, articles by RT is usually
at the forefront.
[58:05 -- 59:30] John Schindler: We are short of funds, short of
imagination and desparately short of seriousness. The Russians are
deadly serious about this; we simply are not. Not optimistic -- immense
bureaucratic cautiousness. Must have a partnership with NGOs in the
lead. Seriousness is what is required.
[59:30 -- 01:00:05] Paul Goble: Questions?
[01:00:05 -- 01:03:15] Facebook is white noise. Is there a book on the
subject? How would you advise someone of the older generation to go
John Schindler -- you need to be on social media. Not hard to get
informed, if you have open eyes.
Paul Goble -- "Menace of Unreality" by Peter Pomarentsev and
Michael Weiss.-- available online. "Nothing is true and everything is
possible". "Strategy of Subversion" by Paul W. Blackstock. "Anything"
by Natalie Grant.
[01:03:15 -- 01:10:00]
John Schindler -- you need to be careful there "You've just cited
Paul Goble -- We have to get serious. We created Voice of America in
1942 to Germany and later to Soviet Union. Now we broadcast on FM
stations located on Russian territory, such that they have veto on
content. (Have to go back to short-wave.) Need direct home-satellite
broadcasting to Russia and Eastern Europe. The Internet is cheap, but
it is not sufficient. Must develop a capacity in a multitude of
Christopher Walker -- Despite Kremlin crackdowns, you still have
extraordinarily courageous people gettin information to citizens of
Russia. Example of Russian soldiers deaths in Ukraine.
[01:10:00 -- 01:10:00] What about American TV? We re-broadcast Putin's
4-hour diatribe -- with no rebuttal.
Jamie Kirchik -- An example of an expert on the Ukraine-Russia issue,
who has never set foot in Ukraine.