By Nebojsa Malic, senior writer at RT
If anyone still has any illusions about the mainstream media reporting reality, rather than seeking to shape narratives, the job description the New York Times posted for its new Moscow bureau chief ought to dispel them.
In a Workday ad for the position, which is opening up in early 2021, the Times paints a sinister picture of “Vladimir Putin’s Russia” as a country that deploys “hit squads armed with nerve agents” and hackers that “sow chaos and disharmony in the West to tarnish its democratic systems, while promoting its faux version of democracy.”
Right off the bat, you see, there’s the 'chemical weapons' fables and the ‘Russiagate’ nonsense, with no evidence ever provided for the first and the second having been conclusively debunked. At least they had the decency not to bring up the bogus“Russia paid bounties to Taliban to kill American troops in Afghanistan” fantasy, weaponized for the 2020 US presidential election. Small mercies!
But wait, there’s more. Russia has “deployed private military contractors around the globe to secretly spread its influence” while “its hospitals are filling up fast with Covid patients as its president hides out in his villa,” claims the Times.
The former is a propaganda point by the US military seeking to get back into the business of empire. As for the latter, does the Times really want to get into the coronavirus debate, what with the US having far more cases and deaths – both in raw numbers and per capita – than Russia?
Russians are “growing increasingly frustrated with an economy dragged down by corruption, cronyism and excessive reliance on natural resources,” the Times claims. As opposed to, say, the 1990s that were a paradise of democracy, rule of law and prosperity for all?
Having acclaimed Joe Biden as the winner of the hotly contested election, the paper is positively giddy that the US is “on the cusp of a new, less Putin-friendly president in the US,” something that “should only raise the temperature” between Washington and Moscow.
“If that sounds like a place you want to cover, then we have good news,” the posting goes on to say. By implication, don’t bother applying if you don’t believe any of those things.
The Times does strongly encourage “women, veterans, people with disabilities, people of color and gender nonconforming candidates” to apply, in the name of “true diversity and inclusion.” Diversity of opinion is off the table. Obviously.
The Times brings up that such esteemed journalists as Bill Keller, Serge Schmemann, Hedrick Smith, Clifford Levy and Ellen Barry have been Moscow bureau chiefs in the past. Yet perhaps the most famous name, Walter Duranty, has been left off the list for some unexplained reason.
Lest you think all professionalism has left the building, however, the job posting does list “knowledge of Russia and the former Soviet republics” and “fluency in Russian” as preferred, if not exactly required.
Why not just dispense with the charade? If they’re looking for a fabulist, as the job posting clearly shows they are, the Times should send someone like Nikole Hannah-Jones of the 1619 Project. After all, they wouldn’t want to be racist, would they?
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