The media may not use tanks or missiles, but they sure play a role in times of war. Over the past few months, American media has followed Russia’s involvement in Ukraine. Russia is accused of invading Ukraine, using brute force to conquer an innocent nation.
Reasons for invasion are not exactly clear. The conflict started when Russian troops entered Crimea, a Ukrainian territory. These troops claimed to be an independent group (known as separatists), having nothing to do with the Russian government. However, U.S. officials and media sources said that the Russians were funding these separatists, planning a full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
The American public grew wary of Russia as the media continued to show Ukraine being marched on. President Obama accused leader Vladimir Putin of being dishonest about Russia’s role in the matter. The United States declared trade sanctions against Russia, punishing them for their unjustified actions.
Russia may seem like bullies to the American public, but citizens of Russia see things differently. Over there, the Russian media describes Ukraine as a Fascist state. They claim that the Ukrainian government is abusing power and mistreating citizens. Thus, the Russian public sees this invasion as a fight for freedom. In their eyes, Ukrainian citizens need to be saved from an evil government.
Does this sound familiar?
Since the War on Terror began, the United States has invaded Afghanistan and Iraq. Both times, our media informed us that these countries were under corrupt leadership. Americans were convinced that Afghani and Iraqi citizens needed our help. Meanwhile, other nations accused the U.S. of unfairly invading these regions. But our media insisted that American troops had a right to intervene.
As the situation in Ukraine heightens, which media source should be trusted? Is Russia the evil invader that our media portrays them as? Or is freedom being restored in Ukraine, as the Russian press insists? Questions like these won’t be answered on our television sets.
My Take: In times of war, heroes and villains are both determined by the press.