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Disinformation, Theirs And Ours

Just because Vladimir Putin says it doesn't make it incorrect (Source)

The US State Department issued today a list of Top Five examples of Russian disinformation narratives. Among them:

Theme #3: “The Collapse of Western Civilization is Imminent”

Russia pushes the false claim that Western civilization is collapsing and has strayed from “traditional values” because it works to ensure the safety and equality of LGBTQI+ people and promotes concepts such as female equality and multiculturalism. The demise of Western civilization is one of Russia’s oldest disinformation tropes, with claims of “the decaying west” documented since the 19th century.

This “values”-based disinformation narrative evokes ill-defined concepts including “tradition,” “family values,” and “spirituality.” Russia argues it is the bastion of so-called “traditional values” and gender roles and serves as a moral counterweight to the “decadence” of the United States and Western countries. For example, President Putin has claimed the West has practically cancelled the concepts of “mother” and “father,” and instead has replaced them with “parent 1 and 2,” while Foreign Minister Lavrov wrote that Western students “learn at school that Jesus Christ was bisexual.”

Well, I don’t know that Western students are learning at school that Jesus Christ was bisexual, but attendees at a London conference on “queer theology” learned from this Baptist pastor that Jesus self-transgendered:

It is certainly true that the USSR was constantly on about the “decadent” West, in its propaganda, and I don’t see that Russia, with its poverty, drug and alcohol abuse, kleptocratic politics, and collapsing population, is any kind of model civilization. That said, you have to be deep in a Blue State bubble not to see the West as truly decadent today.

Religion has collapsed in Europe, and is collapsing in the US. We are raising a generation that doesn’t know what a man and a woman are. Our young men are addicted to porn, and are struggling to form relationships. Our institutions are in the grips of left-wing ideologues who behave like Soviet commissars, and who don’t give a damn about quality and performance, only meeting ideological goals. Drug abuse is soaring. Crime in the cities is out of control. Marriages are declining. Economic inequality is getting worse and worse. People are afraid to say what they think out of fear of being fired or punished. The leaders of our country, in both public and private life, pursue ideological goals that are training Americans to hate their own history, and to loathe and mistrust each other on the basis of race. Even our military is being shot through with woke ideology.

We are a sick, sick society, even if Russia says so. Here’s the final item on the State Department list:

Theme #5:  Reality is Whatever the Kremlin Wants It to Be

The Kremlin frequently tries to create multiple false realities and insert confusions into the information environment when the truth is not in its interests.  Often intentionally confusing, Russian officials make arguments designed to try to shift the blame away from the Russian government’s role, even if some of the narratives contradict one another.  However, in time, presenting multiple conflicting narratives can itself become a technique intended to generate confusion and discourage response. Other elements in Russia’s disinformation and propaganda ecosystem, such as the abuse of state-funded disinformation outlets and weaponized social media, help push multiple false narratives.

It was clear to the world, for example, that Russia attempted to assassinate former Russian military intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia with the nerve agent Novichok in Salisbury, England, on March 4, 2018.  In the four weeks following that incident, Russian state-funded and directed outlets RT and Sputnik disseminated 138 separate and contradictory narratives via 735 articles, according to the Policy Institute at King’s College London.

Russia has used the same technique of flooding the information space with many false claims following other events, such as the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17, and Russia’s 2008 invasion and ongoing occupation of Georgia, to distract conversations from their role in the events.  Again, the purpose is to confuse and distract others and manipulate the truth to suit Kremlin interests.

They’re right: Russia lies about what it does. But come on, the official ideology of the US Government and all the major institutions in American life requires us all to pretend that a person who possesses male chromosomes and male genitalia is a woman, if that person claims to be. Do I really have to sit here and list all the lies that the US Government and the American establishment expects us all to believe are an accurate representation of reality?

Russia should keep its hands off of Ukraine, but I don’t have to believe the b.s. put out by my own government in order to oppose a Russian invasion of Ukraine.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. A veteran of three decades of magazine and newspaper journalism, he has also written three New York Times bestsellers—Live Not By Lies, The Benedict Option, and The Little Way of Ruthie Lemingas well as Crunchy Cons and How Dante Can Save Your Life. Dreher lives in Baton Rouge, La.

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