Ten guidelines for writing about catastrophe
That Dr. Snyder's common-sense, ethical, journalistic reporting guidelines here seem like startling! new! insights! to me is a measure of how 'normalized' the current corroded reporting has become—even for those of us always struggling to find clear objective journalism. Once again, heartfelt thanks to you, Dr. Snyder, for taking the time to spell out and illustrate what the pursuit of truth is. I hardly recognize it!! (Will study, lol.)
Wow, that was a great lesson in intelligent journalism and intelligent readership. Thank you, Dr. Snyder!
The blowing of the dam is enraging beyond words. This possibility had been reported as a worry when the Russians first captured the area. The reporting of the Russian claims that the Ukrainians did this themselves is, as Tim points out, a figment of “there are two side to this story” journalism which leads people away from obvious truth.
The additional suffering caused by this is incomprehensible.
And yes, the Russians would blow the dam to a) unleash death and destruction on towns and cities downstream, especially Kherson and b) to make it impossible for Ukrainian attackers to use is to cross the river without regard to the fact that the reservoir provides water for Russian occupiers in Crimea.
Dmitri Peskov reminds me of Goebbels during Hitler’s final years and Baghdad Bob, whose claims of Iraqi military victories in 2003 were often posted against videos of Iraqi defeats and gained him the nickname of Comical Ali.
Twosidedness in reporting is disingenuous. Domestically our media addressed this badly when reporting on False Fact Trump. Simply reporting what The Washington Post catalogued as over 40,000 lies or misstatements distorted a credible discussion.
When Peskov continually states that black is white, the media has a responsibility to highlight his track record of flat lies. I find that the Ukrainians, including President Zelensky, as well as official Americans and Brits, have a highly credible record of reporting accurately what has occurred since Putin’s brutal ‘special military operation’ occurred.
Reporting the truth in Putin’s Russia is a criminal offense. Peskov chooses to remain out of jail. For the Western media to provide Peskov a sustained news source platform I find unconscionable.
Watched a BBC report yesterday on youtube that began, "Russia says [. . .] but Ukraine says [. . .]." It was infuriating. #10 was exactly my reasoning: It makes no sense strategically. Why in the world would Ukraine blow up a dam with a bridge over it that serves as a supply and army personnel route, not even to speak of the danger to the Ukrainian people and Ukrainian land? It's so stupid that it really does make me wonder about people's ability to reason properly. Military historians must be pulling their hair out over such idiocy, though admittedly Lawrence Freedman doesn't have any hair to pull out.
The horror of this is paralysing. One wd rather not know, not think, and any action seems ludicrously little. But we must know,we must think and however puny our efforts, we must certainly act.
The Germans did the same thing
79 years ago yesterday ( D-Day) to thwart the Allied invasion/ advance in Normandy. A known defensive strategy. About 100 US paratroopers drowned the night before the invasion at the beach. Rommel's orders.
The morbidly rich billionaires and their stooges support Putin. And peddle false equivalencies and Big Lies to dilute and obfuscate truth. I hope more journalists take the time to read Snyder.
With the bombing of the Nova Kakhovka Dam, this has to be the moment for taking action in the UN against the claim of the Russian Federation to the USSR’s permanent seat on the Security Counsel and its veto rights. A claim so tenuous it is supported only by a letter dated 27 December 1991, from the Permanent Representative of Belarus to the UN by which the Secretary-General was “informed” that the membership of the USSR’s UN membership - including its status as a permanent membership of the Security Council - was being continued by the Russian Federation with the support of the 11 member countries of the CIS.
Clear, pointed, on target!
It is very sad that in addition to helping the world understand the history and contemporary context of Ukraine and Russia, you also have to teach journalists how to do their job. The lack of context, and downright ignorance of many of our journalists and the lack of interest in our news departments in practicing good and ethical journalism is increasingly visible. Thank you so so much for all you are doing.
As always, a concise and persuasive explanation that will be seen by a tiny fraction of the people who need to know it. Each of us does what we can in our own little corner. Dr. Snyder has a bigger corner than most of us but it is still important that each of us help amplify his thoughts in our own little corners. Slava Ukraine!
“Armies that are attacking do not blow dams to block their own path of advance. Armies that are retreating do blow dams to slow the advance of the other side. At the relevant moment, Ukraine was advancing, and Russia was retreating.”
Meanwhile, Ukraine posts ominous video saying nobody should be talking about its counteroffensive: ‘Plans love silence.’ 🌻 #ProtectDemocracy!
Brilliant as usual. No message is more valuable than your continual insistence on all the objects and settings that must be in every story. Let's hope rich nations will hasten to send aid for the rebuilding.
Horrifying destruction and anguish for Ukraine. Russia again destroys what it cannot control