One Nora Fitzgerald recently had a letter to the editor published in the Moscow Times, responding to a recent op-ed piece by Richard Lourie which exposed the naked propaganda fraud that is “Russia Beyond the Headlines,” a paid supplement churned out by the Kremlin and foisted upon financially hapless Western newspapers. What follows is the letter verbatim with our commentary in boldface following each paragraph.
Interestingly, “Russia Beyond the Headlines” doesn’t publish letters to the editor.
I am an American editor who has worked closely with Russia Beyond the Headlines, a media project produced by Rossiiskaya Gazeta that maintains a news web site and publishes foreign-language newspaper supplements. I thought Richard Lourie’s opinion piece titled “Zombie Russia” was slapdash and egregiously unfair.
She’s lying. She’s a writer, and has published a huge amount of content on Russia Beyond the Headlines. Now watch her be egregiously unfair in her slapdash attempt to attack Lourie.
I have had the great pleasure to work with some excellent international and Russian journalists who contribute to and edit Russia Beyond the Headlines,so I am writing this letter on their behalf.
Do you notice, dear reader, how she doesn’t care to name a single one of them?
There was one clumsily edited sentence about bin Laden that shouldn’t have appeared. Otherwise, Lourie was displeased by the Western-pleasing openness of the debut issue in The New York Times.
Clumsily edited is another lie. As we have documented right here on this blog, the Kremlin has aggressively attempted to take credit for the killing of Bin Laden. The sentence was a mere reflection of that effort. It was not by any means a mere clumsy accident, it was a clear attempt to make Americans believe Russians are on their side, when in fact Russians are America’s vile enemies and are lead by a proud KGB spy.
If Lourie had done his research, he would have known that his stories have been republished in Russia Beyond the Headlines. Does this mean that he is also a tool of the Kremlin?
That’s another lie. Inserting “Richard Lourie” into the search engine at RBTH produces only one article in their database by Lourie, and it was published nearly three years ago. In that article, not a single critical word is said about the Putin regime.
Russia Beyond the Headlines gets state funding just like the BBC, Deutsche Welle and Radio Free Europe. The goal of the service is to tell great stories about Russia. Yes, the editors have gone out of their way to create a climate of open conversation and debate with diverse views. The idea that this openness is a devious plot by the Russian state to deceive the world about the problems within the Russian government strikes me as a little, well, conspiratorial. Lourie should know that most of our writers are experienced, independent journalists.
Lots of people would think that the BBC, Deutsche Welle, Radio Free Europe (and Voice of America for that matter) probably don’t describe the countries they represent warts and all as well as a non-state-funded entity might. Why is it so hard for Ms. Fitzgerald to admit that might be the case with RBTH as well? Is this dingbat really suggesting it doesn’t matter at all that RBTH is bought and paid for by a government ruled by a proud KGB spy that does not allow any serious opposition parties, stuffs ballot boxes with impunity, seethes with anti-Western venom and routinely jails and murders its critics?
She then totally ignores Lourie’s point, that RBTH is painting Russia as being far more open to the West than it really is, and thereby creating a false impression of Russian attitudes towards the West, in order to lull the West into inaction in regard to Russian cold-war aggression and anti-democracy policies.
I am writing this for the young editors burning the midnight oil in the Moscow office and every independent freelancer who has done a well-written story for Russia Beyond the Headlines on topics as diverse as the Khimki forest controversy, closed cities, opposition leader Boris Nemtsov, the Yandex initial public offering and expatriate life. The service’s opinion writers offer views and analysis from a wide range on the political spectrum.
More totally shameless lies. First of all, how about having RBTH publish something written by Nemtsov rather than about him? Why does she choose to ignore that RBTH has never done so? Then, if you put “Boris Nemtsov” into the RBTH search engine, the most recent relevant hit you get is an article about Nemtsov by Eugene Ivanov, a pathological Russophile shil, which is headlined “the liberals’ last stand.” Search as we might, we could not find a single article devoted to praising Nemtsov in the way Ivanov attacks him.
In one feature on Russia Beyond the Headlines titled “From Oil Tycoon to Imprisoned Muse,” an independent reporter explored the fact that former Yukos CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky has become an inspiration to artists and the subject of film. Lourie saw this story, including a quote from writer Boris Akunin, as more proof of the elaborate Kremlin plot.
Once again, this reptile totally ignores Lourie’s point, which was that the article about Khodorkovsky trivialized him into a quaint cartoon character inspiring artists rather than a figure like Nelson Mandella. Will RBTH report that Khodorkovsky has just been labeled a “prisoner of conscience” by Amnesty International? We don’t think so.
This is zombie thinking on deadline. The only thing Lourie can accuse Russia Beyond the Headlines of is being passionate about Russia.
Yes, RBTH is “passionate” about Russia in exactly the same way that Stalin was passionate, and that its paymaster Vladimir Putin is passionate.