What is News Media Terrorism?

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News media terrorism can be easily defined by enumerating its synonyms:

  • Fear mongering
  • Brainwashing
  • Propaganda
  • The act of bashing
  • Indulging in ridicule
  • Inciting false or misleading information
  • Potshot
  • CNN
  • BBC
  • CBS News

Citing a recent example is also easy: try to Google search “Sochi Olympics 2014” and then turn to page result 2. You will yield results from the Huffington Post, ESPN, Global Post, BBC, CNN, and even an unruly “NoSochi2014” which states the obvious.

Figuring out what is common among them will bring you to learning how to terrorize by means of news media, or properly we call “news media terrorism.”

You see, depending on your news source, especially if it’s from a Western media outlet, there is almost ZERO good news coming from the Sochi Winter Olympics in Russia. This form of media terrorism will only intensify as the games approaches, which will be held starting February.

Here are some of the ready-made fear mongering headlines vis-à-vis the Olympics for your amusement:

ESPN: “US warns against political protest”

Bloomberg Businessweek: “Sochi Olympics Ticket Sales Are on a Downhill Slope”

Time Magazine: “Russian Suicide Bus Bombing Sparks Terrorism Fears for Sochi Olympics”

NPR: “The region surrounding host city Sochi is home to Europe’s deadliest insurgency”

Global Post: “Sochi 2014 Olympics: Triumph or nightmare?”

NoSochi2014: “Petition world leaders today! Have them say No Sochi 2014!”

Personality Café: “Attacks show Sochi Olympics under grave threat”

Reddit: “President Obama selects openly gay delegates to Sochi Olympics”

Twitter: GOP congressman: “Sochi Olympics could become “nightmare like Bengazi”

other notable headlines and excerpts:

“Controversy, not competition, dominates Olympics”

“Why Russia’s Sochi Olympics are now a battleground for gay rights”

“Russia anti-gay law casts shadow over Sochi’s 2014 Olympics”

“International Olympic Committee urged to investigate Russia anti-gay law before Sochi Olympics”

“Russia ‘not really concerned’ about Obama’s absence from Sochi”

“German president boycotts Sochi Winter Olympics”

So far, the list of those boycotting the games is dominated by Western leaders: German Chancellor Angela Merkel, British PM David Cameron, US President Barrack Obama and Vice-President Joe Biden, while France’s President Francois Hollande is yet to join this essentially gayish movement.

To note that the Olympic Games “seeks to create a way of life based on the joy found in effort, the educational value of good example and respect for universal fundamental ethical principles,” these headliners seem rather disrespectful of ethical principles, especially regarding the alleged ‘anti-gay’ media bombardment against the Russian Olympics.

Now let us tackle why these headlines are false.

Perhaps the most enduring controversy is the one relating to ‘anti-gay law’, a catch-all term invented by Western media. In actuality, the law is called ‘gay propaganda law,’ which does not discriminate against or threatens gay athletes or spectators visiting the Olympics. Properly, it is a law protecting Russian children from the propaganda of “drug addiction, alcohol use and non-traditional sexual orientation.” There is no statement in the law that ‘punishes people for being homosexual.’

This below the belt portrayal of the law has seen its own share of criticism outside Russia. The Italian International Olympic Committee official Mario Pescante was quoted as saying he found it “absurd” and criticized the US for including openly gay athletes in its official delegation to Sochi. Talk about sovereignty, observing, and respecting the laws and culture of other countries.

Western media bombs are more powerful, effective, and enduring.

Another more recent controversy is the one relating to the Volgograd bombings. Omnicom Press author William Dunkerley best explains the dumbing down by Western media on the proximity of Volgograd to Sochi: “Would a suicide bombing in the Italian Alps be a realistic worry for people at a large public gathering in Berlin, Germany? Or likewise an incident 100 miles north of Montreal to people in New York City?”

Apparently, Western news outlets are not only degrading the immense security measures put in place for Sochi (which happen to include other international security organizations like the FBI) but also downplaying the immense geographical stretch between the cities.

Here is an excerpt from his report “Sochi under Attack by U.S.”

A CBS News report read, “Suicide bomber attacks near Sochi.” CNN’s version said, “Russia bombings raise questions about Sochi Olympics security.”

On the Pyatigorsk incident, ABC News proclaimed, “Mystery bodies, explosives discovered near Winter Olympics site.” The Atlanta Journal Constitution reported, “Russia launches probe after six found dead near Sochi.”

These were certainly tragic events. But the media should have paid a bit more attention to their geography. Those are examples of distances similar to the expanse between Volgograd and Sochi. That’s what CBS news called “close.”

The target of all this media bombardment is Vladimir Putin.

Alas, we may now properly ask why all the news media terrorism? Now more expensive than the last Vancouver Winter Olympics and surpassing the spending of the Beijing Olympics in 2008, the Sochi Olympics is described by the West as “a tale of Putin-era Russia…a story of ambition, hubris, and greed leading to fabulous extravagance on the shores of the Black Sea.”

German news outlets touted the construction of the Olympic site as having had “disastrous consequences for the environment” while The Economist describes the quality of work as ‘patchy’ and Sochi 2014 as Putin’s “pet project:  a sign of his power over people and nature, and his international legitimacy.”

At best, these potshots against the Olympics are part of a greater low-intensity aggression towards Putin. Unfortunately, we can only expect more ‘bad news’ and propaganda as the games approaches.

So there you go, the usual brouhahas of hosting the Olympic Games can be dangerous for the reputation of your country especially if you are not an official ally of the West.

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2014: What’s Ahead for the World

newspapers covers01In a much-faster changing world, reaching a conclusion to events has become more elusive. As we tire ourselves with 24/7 information, instant gratification, shorter attention spans, and the more pervasive blurring of agenda-driven spread of information (whether it is about cherry-picking which part of an event needs more weigh or the spreading of subtle but dumbing social media gossips and biases), we can only expect the year ahead to be more complex and unpredictable. Nevertheless, much like inquiry into the sciences, collating observations and hypothesis of the previous year will help us anticipate things to come, and that is the key to making an informed prediction.

This year’s forecast format is different from last year’s style in that it focuses on  a per-country reportage and expectations: a good reassessment on geography, just in case you too feel the certain fuzziness of the inexorable globalization of events which continue to transcend borders, economies, culture, nationality and even alliances.

In the United States, the so-called economic recovery, a ghost phrase invented since the end of the Bush Jr. era, will continue to limit what the government can achieve for its people. On a broader scale, this will have an effect on its economic policies abroad as well, and we all know Washington’s foreign policy stems from its economic policies. On that front, America will continue to confuse its allies, especially in light of the Snowden leaks and the surprise optimism brought about by Russia’s brokering of nuclear and chemical deals with Iran and Syria, respectively. Other major things to look forward to include the exit of New York city mayor Bloomberg, and the experimental legalization of marijuana in Colorado, which is a strong proof of America’s moral degradation.

On a lighter note, 2014 will bring major sporting (distraction) events, first with Russia’s hosting of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. As the games approaches (this coming February), Western media will continue to lambast Russia’s decision to ‘build a city from scratch’ and its release of political prisoners (publicized by the West as a way to ‘bring good news’ before the sporting events), which is a familiar story, much like how they portrayed the apparent waste and ‘scandals’ of the Beijing Olympics. Moscow will continue to matter more in global issues though as President Putin reaps the rewards of his diplomacy (and the award of the most powerful man in 2013 by Western media). The IMF predicts Russia to be among the biggest GDP gainers for 2014. Besides Sochi, Russia is also embarking on its own smart city in Tatarstan, a development that will soften Western energy-as-leverage pundits for a while.

Elsewhere in Europe, the UK will vote on a decision whether to keep (or let go) of Scotland as part of the entire United Kingdom; Germany will consolidate its soft power gains in the previous years by pursuing its goals through economic, diplomatic, and cultural means; events in Spain may finally see an independent Catalonia; Ukraine’s decision to be part of Europe or linked to Russia will be more and more influenced by major players outside the country; Romania’s and Bulgaria’s entry into the EU labor market; EU parliament elections this summer (an election with historically low turnout); and the exit of Catherine Ashton as EU foreign policy chief (hailed as the ‘unsung hero’ of European diplomacy).

In Asia, China’s foreign policy will be perceived as being more assertive as the US ensnares Japan into a trap that’s hard to extricate from: the establishment of a National Security Council and re-armament of the Japanese military. It also seems the Japanese leadership’s determination to be more independent of America’s stance toward China is well received by its people, especially with the sense of renewed possibility in Japan’s economy. Construction of a new Beijing international airport commences this year and is hailed to be among the biggest and busiest airports in the world once completed. In Australia, ambitious politicians will be playing the American card more keenly this time, where calls for ‘updating Australia’s diplomatic footprint’ are gaining traction among Australians. Afghanistan will by this year need to tackle and decide on whether to allow American soldiers to be on the ground for another ten years, and a new presidential election may or may not destabilize the country anew.

In Latin America, Brazil will be (hopefully) seeing a break from its riots, hosting the much anticipated World Cup this year. 2014 will also see the construction of the Nicaragua Canal, said to be about three times longer than the Panama Canal. Latin American artists will continue to experience an art boom around the world.

This year will also see the completion of the 5th Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report. The last one, in 2007, saw a clearer and grimmer outlook for the Earth’s climate, and for this new report (as per the September 2013 summary for policymakers document), it shows yet more evidence of human’s impact on the climate, and hinting more about further uncertainties in climate modeling as well as adaptation measures to climate change.

Of course, the year 2014 will mark the 100th anniversary of World War I and this will last until 2018. For the duration of the event, countries will be planning official commemorative ceremonies and themes. This momentous time in human history is, by now, replete with lessons that ought to be learned. Indeed, with this year’s events and approximate trajectories, we hope history does not repeat itself.