Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Media mania for Ukraine

I turned on the cable news tonight, CNN/Fox/MSNBC, to see what was new with Ukraine.

Well, it seems that the trial of Oscar Pistorius for the murder of his girlfriend in South Africa has supplanted Russia's takeover of Crimea as the top story, at least on CNN.

Of course, President Obama's proposed $3.9 trillion budget was getting some airtime, too, particularly on Fox News.

MSNBC was the only network still devoting much time to Ukraine.

Now, with all due respect to murder trials and budget squabbles, nothing draws viewers or readers like war.

NBC News with Brian Williams, though, led with the Ukraine story, but not in a breathless push for war as was the case over the weekend.

Russia's Vladimir Putin held a bizarre press conference today where he showed a tenuous grip on reality. Apparently, his Crimea gambit isn't even playing well at home.

During the Cold War, the message could be tightly controlled, but, in the era of cell phones, Facebook, twitter, e-mails and Instagram, the word gets out instantly throughout the world.

Not that anyone on Fox News or in other extreme right-wing media care.

No, they're busy trashing President Obama and his response to the situation in Crimea/Ukraine.

In fact, there appears to be some serious love showered on Putin by American conservatives from former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani to ex-veep candidate Sarah Palin to disgraced former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

Maybe, if President Obama rode bare-chested on horseback, he would get some respect from American right-wingnuts. That, and invade Iran for good measure. (Take that back, President Obama will never, ever get any respect from any right-wingnut ever).

Just so right-wingers don't fall completely head over heels for Putin, here is a link to show how dangerous this gangster is, not only for the world, but for Russia as well.

Thank god we have President Obama in office. He's cool, calm and collected when those qualities are needed most. Compared with the media, he's the only adult in the room.

Now, no disrespect to Ukraine, but Americans don't really care about you. First off, we have no idea where your country, let alone Crimea, is located. Second, we're still trying to deal with Iraq, 11 years after we invaded it for no reason. Plus, we're still trying to get out of Afghanistan, nearly 13 years after 9/11.

In the interest of fairness, though, it's worth pointing out that Ukraine, like Poland, is an unfortunate place.

We may have flyover states like Kansas, Oklahoma and Missouri, but Eastern European countries are runover nations. Over the centuries, powerful European nations have killed millions on their way to Russia, which then killed millions more on its way to Europe.

You have to feel some compassion for Ukraine. After Stalin starved millions of Ukrainians to death in the 1930s, the country welcomed Nazi "liberators" in the 1940s. That's how desperate they were.

Still, Ukraine's problems can't be solved by the U.S. or the E.U.

We can help, but Ukrainians must determine their own fate.

This is not 1940 nor is it 1991 when the USSR dissolved.

This is 2014, 100 years after Ukraine's Balkan neighbors plunged the world into what would become two catastrophic wars.

There is no desire anywhere to see 1914 repeat itself.

To paraphrase John Lennon, if you want to save Ukraine, go save Ukraine.

Otherwise, let us get back to the Pistorius trial.

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