Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
February 28, 2005
WAR: Freedom of the Press, Russian-Style

Vladimir Putin doesn't quite grasp the whole "freedom of the press" concept:

[W]hen Bush talked about the Kremlin's crackdown on the media and explained that democracies require a free press, the Russian leader gave a rebuttal that left the President nonplussed. If the press was so free in the U.S., Putin asked, then why had those reporters at CBS lost their jobs? Bush was openmouthed. "Putin thought we'd fired Dan Rather," says a senior Administration official. "It was like something out of 1984."

. . . The odd episode reinforced the Administration's view that Putin's impressions of America are often based on urban myths fed to him by ill-informed aides. (At a past summit, according to Administration aides, Putin asked Bush whether it was true that chicken producers split their production into plants that serve the U.S. and lower-quality ones that process substandard chicken for Russia.) U.S. aides say that to help fight against this kind of misinformation, they are struggling to build relationships that go beyond Putin. "We need to go deeper into the well into other levels of government," explains an aide.

Another example of why we need better and more aggressive public diplomacy. We can't control what information gets to Putin, but it would be nice to create a climate where somebody in his circle would at least be aware of how ridiculous this sounds to Western ears (well, most of them).

via Rather Biased

Posted by Baseball Crank at 12:39 PM | War 2005 | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Actually, their press sounds freer than ours. Can you imagine one of OUR reporters doing this?

"BRATISLAVA (Reuters) - Incensed by U.S. talk of a lack of press freedom in Russia, two Russian reporters tried to turn the tables on President Bush during his summit news conference with Vladimir Putin Thursday.

After Bush said he had raised concerns about Russia's democracy in talks with the Russian president and felt reassured, he suddenly found himself on the defensive.

"What is that lack of freedom all about?" a reporter from the Russian news agency Interfax asked the U.S. president.

Before Bush could answer, the reporter then turned on Putin and demanded to know why he was not sticking up for Russian reporters by talking about violations of the rights of American journalists."

In America, any journalist who demanded to his face that Bush take responsibility for ANYTHING would be denied all access in the future. Bush has done more to create4 a completely manufactured press corps - up to and including payoffs - than any President of my life time.

Posted by: Ignatz at March 1, 2005 2:01 PM
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