News Blues VI

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Dear readers,

In some ways, as somebody who was born in the 1980s, I feel thrown back into a time before my time: a legitimate criticism on Putin and his authoritarian system has turned into outright “Russophobia” in a McCarthy area style. And even worse, this time it is fueled by the Democrats and the liberal media itself, which gets its “intel” via leaks and intelligence agencies; yeah, those who lied about the reasons to invade Iraq and where several newspapers and politicians had to apologise afterwards.

Of course Putin was happy about the election of the bat-crazy Trump and his right-winged “America First” administration. And of course Russia was involved in some election meddling. But the Democrats and the media are now focusing solely on the supposed Trump-Putin connections and every bit of “evidence” is blown up into a full conspiracy theory. And with that the real danger for the US from domestic right-winged policies seems to go totally unnoticed.

But at leas several writers have picked up the mantle to warn about this over-focus on Russia. Masha Gessen writes for the New York Review of Books on “Russia: The Conspiracy Trap”: LINK

And Matt Taibbi flanks that article with a short comment for the Rolling Stones on “Why the Russia Story Is a Minefield for Democrats and the Media”: LINK

In the same vein is the problematic reporting in regards to tech news. With the new Wikileaks reporting on the CIA numerous rushed out articles falsely claimed that Apps like Signal got cracked; and that was not true, as the flaws were in the iOS and Android systems. The Apps and their encryption itself was not compromised. Far more damning yet was the accusation by Wikileaks that the CIA aquiered foreign hacking software to falsely lead the public to believe that the DNC hack was done by Russia though in reality (warning, again a conspiracy theory) it was done by the CIA itself. And this was again picked up by a lot of the liberal media like CNN, without fact checking at all! This kind of reporting damages all future reporting on foreign hacks and also gives Trump the leverage to claim that all accusations are false. Luckily The Intercept – well known to be a critic of Democrats and Republicans alike – has taken up the mantle to correct this miss-reporting in the article “WIKILEAKS FILES SHOW THE CIA REPURPOSING HACKING CODE TO SAVE TIME, NOT TO FRAME RUSSIA”: LINK

We definitely need more tech savvy reporters out there!

I claimed in the first paragraphs that the “Russophobia” is detracting from the real dangers of the Trump administration. But what are these dangers? For instance in this must read by Janet Reitman for the Rolling Stones she places Betsy DeVos and her multi-billionaire family under the microscope and shows how since the 1960s a vast US based Christian-right billionaire clique is manipulating politics and public opinion to change not only the Republican Party in its core but also to take over government and change the education system entirely – to create a “capitalist free market theocracy” of sorts. Scary? Indeed: LINK

In a similar vein and from similar actors, though focused on the Internet, a vast network of conspiracy theorists as well as a strange mix of liberals and right-wingers tries to spread anti-science ideology, especially in regards to medicine. Stephanie M. Lee reports for BuzzFeed on this problematic movement: LINK

In international news Turkey is coming into the headlines again and again: From the incursions into the Syrian civil war to prevent a Kurdish autonomy in North-Syria to the brutal crackdown inside Turkey against all opposition movements as well the tit for tat fight between Germany and Turkey. Christopher de Bellaigue writes for the New York Review of Books on “Turkey: The Return of the Sultan”: LINK

And with regard to Syria two of my German colleagues went to the government side and managed to write this fascinating article (and take photos) – Fritz Schaap and Christian Werner on “Gangster’s Paradise. Assad’s Control Erodes as Warlords Gain Upper Hand” in Der Spiegel: LINK

And to finish this News Blues – we just had the Women`s Day; and I just talked about photography. So it is a good time to look on the state of photojournalism and the role of women there:

Anastasia Taylor-Lind writes for TIME on “Women Photographers Are Being Written Out of the War Narrative”: LINK

And Conor Risch wrote a comment at PND Pulse on “When Will Demands for Gender Equity Turn into Assignments for Women Photographers?”: LINK

So with these two self-reflecting articles on my “own business” I close this weeks News Blues. I hope you will enjoy the reading, have a weekend full of peace, happiness and some partying. And we will read each other latest next week!

Yours kindly,

Benjamin Hiller

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