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May 12, 2022 / Congau


Russian state television is propaganda – of course it is. Therefore it has now been banned from Germany. What? What is the connection? When was propaganda excluded from free speech? Propaganda is one-sided and biased information and argumentation spread to support one particular nation or institution and that is exactly what we are guilty of doing; we – our free Western press. We are daily and hourly pounded with information of evil Russians and heroic Ukrainians, and even if it were true, it could scarcely be called anything but propaganda. Lies or truth are not objective criteria distinguishing propaganda from serious journalism, since everyone thinks their side possesses the truth. Rather, a smidge of neutrality to enlighten the public of all sides of the issue is the only thing opposed to propaganda, and such news outlets barely exist anymore. Emotions take the place of information, and in war and suffering they are of course abundantly present. The same images of devastation shown over and over again create an impression of complete evil on the part of the Russians. Yes, war is evil, whether waged by Russians, Ukrainians or Americans, and it turns otherwise normal humans into animals. Some Ukrainian soldiers are bound to become savages, but our reporters only show us upright looking heroes with a saintly attitude. The Russians are the beasts. Of course this is propaganda, just as it is when Russian television portrays it the other way around.

Is this a just war? Does Russia have any reasonable claim to Ukraine? That is an issue that can be soberly debated in a free society but drumming up propaganda on one side while banning the other is not exactly consistent with Western ideals of free speech. Maybe those ideals never really existed, but even the pretense of them has been a casualty of this war.

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