To all the people who call themselves “journalists” and “reporters” working for Russia Today, Russia 1, LifeNews.ru, NTV, and the many other voices of Kremlin propaganda.
Yesterday, the world witnessed another terrible event happen on the territory of the country where I was born and raised. This time, it cost more than “just” Ukrainian and Russian lives. Almost 300 people, 80 of them children, died when Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 crashed on the territory of rebel-controlled parts of Eastern Ukraine. It’s an unspeakable, horrific tragedy. Ukraine mourns, the world mourns.
You? Maybe you mourn, I don’t know (I’m starting to doubt you’re capable of such emotions).
What I do know, though, is that you have spent the first few hours after the tragedy frantically coming up with conspiracy theory after conspiracy theory about how Ukrainian authorities are the ones solely, unquestionably responsible. These theories contradicted themselves, most of them were immediately debunked by facts on the ground. That didn’t stop you. You’ve changed your story to suit your narrative, over and over again. How could you not? You’re paid to enable Putin’s parallel reality. Nay, you’re given medals for it.
Not once have you voiced the most obvious version. The one where pro-Russian separatists and Russian mercenaries have brought the plane down with Russian weapons supplied to them over the course of many months by Putin’s regime.
The one that’s supported by the rebels’ own celebratory posts about having shot down yet another Ukrainian military transport jet, in that same spot, at that same time.
The one where you, Russian “media,” having just minutes prior celebrated this “victory” with them and having gone on live TV to report on this story, suddenly had collective amnesia and insisted that the rebels could not possibly have shot down a plane.
The one where, just days and weeks prior, the rebels have boasted about having surface-to-air systems capable of shooting airplanes at high altitudes but then, immediately after the incident, insisted they had no such equipment. You agreed with them, immediately, uncritically, in contradiction with your own reports from minutes earlier. Oh, and maybe you have forgotten that you yourselves have reported on the rebels having these weapons? With your progressive amnesia, anything’s possible.
I won’t claim that this version is the only one worthy of attention, or that I know all the facts. Anyone who claims full knowledge at this stage would be lying. We will all wait for a thorough investigation, provided the rebels don’t interfere with it. Make no mistake, they’re already doing their best to interfere. I do, however, find it incredibly, fantastically cynical that you wouldn’t even mention this—by far the most plausible—theory.
This was probably the most inexcusable, blatant, psychotic example of your shameless propaganda. Sadly, it was far—so far—from the only case.
Over the course of the past many months, I have watched your sick disinformation campaign slowly turn my country into a battlefield. A country that knew no wars for 23 years of its independence.
I’ve watched you assist Putin’s plausible deniability and “maskirovka” campaigns, helping him claim innocence even over observable, proven instances of Russian mercenaries and equipment streaming across the border into Ukraine.
I have watched you exaggerate stand-alone incidents of radicalism by groups and individuals to turn the whole Ukrainian society into Nazis in the eyes of the people who believed you.
I have watched you twist the truth, hyping those events that fit your narrative, while keeping silent about the many others that contradicted it.
I have watched you instigate a witch-hunt against the citizens of your own country, labeling anyone who dared to question your narrative a “fifth column” or a “Western agent.”
I have watched you tell outright, unquestionable lies, and observed the same paid actors appear in your different news segments.
I have watched you cry hysterically about the deaths of “peaceful” rebels, while turning a deaf ear and a blind eye to the innocent victims tortured and murdered by those same rebels.
I often sat in absolute shock, unable to comprehend how one can lie so unabashedly, so obviously, so cruelly. Especially one who calls oneself a “journalist.” I watched in helplessness and desperation as you poured dirt on my countrymen. I watched you spin absolutely heart-wrenching lies about children crucified by the Nazi Ukrainian army, about US mercenaries flooding into Ukraine to murder Russians. How do you bring yourself to look into the camera, and, knowingly, effortlessly, speak such damaging and vile untruths? It’s beyond me.
The worst lies were the ones where atrocities from the wars waged by your own bloody leader in Chechnya and elsewhere were presented as the deeds of the Ukrainian government. How impossibly cynical can you get?!
You’ve gotten caught. Not once. Many times. Dozens, hundreds of times. Did that stop you? Not at all. Your lies have gotten louder, more shameless; your hysteria got more high-pitched and maddening. Rarely, if at all, have I seen you apologize for, or even retract a thoroughly debunked story.
The absolute worst outcome of your actions is that your fake narrative has driven a very real wedge between the previously friendly, brotherly peoples of Ukraine and Russia. Not all of them, thankfully, but so many that it hurts me to observe it.
Your actions are unforgivable. They’re disgusting.
I don’t expect you to change. You’ve shown no signs of remorse at any point during this conflict. You’ve crossed the line of journalistic integrity long ago. You’ve lost the right to call yourselves “journalists.” Hell, I can’t believe you can call yourselves human beings after this.
I harbor no illusions and fully expect you to continue with your rhetoric, until the Kremlin refocuses your attention on another conflict that becomes more important for Putin’s regime.
I only have one single question I want to ask:
How do you sleep at night?