A week is a long time in the news business but a short time in the sweep of history; the incessant warnings of imminent Russian invasion may start to feel, well, not very imminent, but we’re talking about a timeframe of weeks so far, if not days. The risk of war is clearly very high and should not be downplayed. Just as reporters must rigorously interrogate US intelligence claims about an imminent attack, as I’ve written here already in recent weeks, they must also interrogate the less alarmed stances of various European powers and Ukraine itself, and not simply present these counterclaims as evidence against each other. Every player here has its own diplomatic and economic interests to protect. (In decrying hysterical Western coverage this week, [David] Arakhamia, the [Volodymyr] Zelensky ally, claimed that it was costing his country two to three billion dollars a month, in part by making borrowing harder.)
The problem of dealing in bullshit, which is being dished out on all sides, is that, in the end, it is still bullshit. You still don’t know what the fuck is going on. And in this case, it really sucks because there are, lest we forget, actual human beings who will be on the receiving end of a Russian invasion if it occurs.
Jon Allsop, “A week of whiplash and the need for cool heads over Russia and Ukraine,” Columbia Journalism Review, February 18, 2022, https://www.cjr.org/the_media_today/russia_ukraine_invasion_whiplash.php
- Jon Allsop, “A week of whiplash and the need for cool heads over Russia and Ukraine,” Columbia Journalism Review, February 18, 2022, https://www.cjr.org/the_media_today/russia_ukraine_invasion_whiplash.php↩