Since Udo Ulfkotte's revelations, we all know how corrupt German "journalists" from the mainstream media are. Benjamin Bidder from Spiegel Online is one of the worst frauds in print
This post first appeared on Russia Insider
“It is often very illuminating...to ask yourself how you got at the facts on which you base your opinion. Who actually saw, heard, felt, counted, named the thing, about which you have an opinion?” - Walter Lippmann
This is exactly what I and an increasing number of Germans have been asking ourselves since the beginning of the crisis in the Ukraine. What facts are German media presenting to us on which we base our opinion? Who actually saw, heard, felt, counted and named the things that happened in the Ukraine? Well German journalists and their ‘sources’ apparently. But who are these journalists, who present these ‘facts’ to us on which we are supposed to base our opinion? What are their methods and goals? And most importantly: Can we trust their facts?
Walter Lippman (1889 – 1974, US writer, influential journalist and adviser to the government of Woodrow Wilson) was according to Noam Chomsky the dean of American journalists, a major foreign and domestic policy critic. He used the term gatekeeper to describe the job of journalists. Gatekeepers select or withhold facts that are presented or for that matter not presented as news to the public, which Lippmann describes as the ‘bewildered herd’ that needs to be tamed by the ‘specialized class of responsible men’. Thus gatekeepers present a distorted reality based on some selected information and engineer an opinion of their readers. Or as Lippmann puts it more bluntly: ‘News and truth are not the same thing and they clearly must be distinguished’.
Well, it seems our German gatekeepers implemented this approach literally. They have been clearly distinguishing between news and the truth, at least since the beginning of the Ukrainian crisis. The German gatekeepers present their readers a very selective reality of the events in Ukraine and of Russia itself. They choose certain facts that suit their narrative and withhold those that go against this narrative. And if they feel this isn’t enough to engineer a certain opinion they just present lies as facts.
Over the next couple of weeks we will introduce to you some of the main German gatekeepers with examples of their selective realities and plain lies they’ve presented to their readers as news.
We will start with Benjamin Bidder, the Moscow correspondent for Spiegel Online. Benjamin Bidder, a self-proclaimed Russia-lover, did his one-year civil service in St. Petersburg, Russia in 2001-2002. Perhaps at that time Benjamin, as a 20-year old young man, felt in love for the weak Russia and its people struggling to survive. That love turned into hate later, when Russia and its people regained their self-confidence. However, I am not an expert in psychology and this is something for psychologists to analyze. After graduating from the University of Mannheim in Economics in 2008, Benjamin Bidder was hired by Spiegel Online as their political expert on Russia and Eastern European matters.
His methods to tame the bewildered herd:
· Make claims and provides no evidence.
· Names sources, which have no evidence.
· Finding facts that support his own preconceived opinion.
· Withholding facts that don’t support his own preconceived opinion.
· Uses language that suggests the guilt of the Russians even if they aren’t involved.
· If the above is not working just lie or use sources that lie.
· In case the lies don’t work either, threaten the readership that if they don’t believe/support the official narrative they are in danger of turning into Trolls, Putin-Trolls, thus becoming outcasts of society.
Selected examples of Benjamin Bidders manipulations and lies:
Nr.1 – Lie and Manipulation: Benjamin Bidder on killed and kidnapped Russian journalists in the Ukraine
· He claims that LifeNews has connections to Russian intelligence services. Does he provide evidence? Of course not, he just lies about it!
· He shows hardly disguised contempt for the Russian journalists Igor Korneljuk and Anton Voloshin, killed by the Ukrainian Army: Benjamin Bidder accuses the journalists in taking into account only one side of the conflict, a separatist, when reporting on a mass massacre carried out by the Ukrainian forces. Fact is: A rebel mentioning the massacre was only a part of Korneljuk’s last report, which was mainly about attacks by the Ukrainian National Guard on Lughansk and its suburbs as well as about the general situation in town.
· In this article published on 19 June 2014, Benjamin Bidder briefly mentions “two Lifenews colleagues being interrogated during a few days by the Ukrainian security services”. In reality LifeNews journalists Oleg Sidyakin and Marat Saichenko were capture by the Ukrainian army near Kramatorsk in Donetsk region while preparing a news report. During one week Sidyakin and Saichenko were beaten up and tortured by the Ukrainian authorities, refused the right to call their relatives, kept without food for days and threatened to be killed. Where were you, Mr. Bidder, from their capture on 18 May until when they were finally freed one week later on 25 May 2014 with the help of Putin’s and Lavrov’s involvement and also thanks to appeals by numerous non-governmental organizations including the international Reporters Without Borders? One would expect that the Moscow correspondent of Spiegel Online would have reported at least a few lines on what was the topic Nr.1 in all Russian media during that week. However, Mr. Bidder was quiet for that whole week.
· Mr. Bidder has not mentioned – neither in this article nor elsewhere – an earlier incident with another LifeNews journalists Yulia Shustraya and Michail Pudovkin who were roughly captured by some armed and masked people in unidentified uniforms and brought to the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) in Donetsk on 25 April 2014. The Ukrainian Security Service confiscated all their equipment and mobile phones. The journalists were informed that they had to leave the country immediately and were banned from the entry into the Ukraine for 3 years on the ground of “spreading biased information”.
Nr.2 – Lie: Benjamin Bidder on the Odessa Massacre
· Benjamin Bidder presented his German readership no-news as news: There were people in Odessa who tried to help people escape the flames. But this wasn’t the news, Mister Bidder! The news was that pro-Maidan-fascists set the building on fire where anti-Maidan-protestors were hiding from the mob. And the news was how those Maidan-activists shot and beat them while they were trying to escape the flames through the windows. But we remember: Maidan-supporters as killers don’t fit the Spiegel Online narrative.
· He suggests in his report that there is the possibility that the people who were trapped in the building set the fire themselves. His only reference is Maxim, whom he interviewed after the massacre in Odessa. Well, Mister Bidder, I just don’t believe this!
· He goes further to claim that the anti-Maidan-protestors [or as he calls them pro-Russians] had weapons on them. This is a straight lie, as video and photographs shows clearly who had and who used weapons to kill trapped anti-Maidan activists in the building: the Ukrainian pro-Maidan killers in Odessa. But again this doesn’t fit Spiegel Online’s and Benjamin Bidder’s narrative.
Nr.3 – Manipulation and Lie: Benjamin Bidder on MH17 Tragedy
· Not even the MH17 tragedy, where some 300 people died, was safe from Benjamin Bitter. Again just showing contempt for the dead and blatantly lying about the events.
· Benjamin writes [in the sub headline] that Putin claimed that he knows that the Ukrainian Government downed the plane. Fact is: Putin just asked for an impartial international investigation.
Nr.4 – Manipulation and Lie: Benjamin Bitter on Russian Strategic Handbook for Annexing Parts of the Ukraine
· He claims that there is a government strategic handbook to annex Eastern and Southern parts of the Ukraine. Does Benjamin Bidder provide evidence? NO. He uses a source [Nowaja Gazeta] that doesn’t have prove either. The motto is: A lie based on a source that provides no evidence is more credible.
· Benjamin’s source is Nowaja Gazeta. However, Nowaja Gazeta never claimed there is such a strategic handbook. They only published an article on the 24th February 2015 about a note by a Russian businessman Malafejew and ‘some other people’ analyzing the situation in Ukraine. Just for the record: Malafejew is not part of the Russian government nor has he ever been. And he himself claims that he never worked on such a note, if it existed. However, the real crazy thing about this ‘news’ by Benjamin Bidder is that he wants the public to believe that in Russia it is common that business people produce strategic handbooks that the Russian government then uses as guidance in international relations! Of course, Mister Bidder!
· Benjamin claims that the Editor in Chief of Nowaja Gazeta confirmed the strategic handbook was authentic. However, even Newsweek, who covered this story too on the 25th of February, couldn’t verify its authenticity independently.·
Nr.5 – Manipulation and Lie: Benjamin Bidder on Putin Trolls and ‘Insider’ coming clean
· Oh I love this one Mister Bidder! Putin trolls everywhere!!
· Benjamin lies in the subheadline about Ludmilla Sawtschuk being an insider, who decided to come clean now after having worked as a ‘Putin-Troll’ in an alleged St. Petersburg ‘Troll-factory’. Fact is: Ludmilla is a journalist who is pursuing her career and for that reason she started investigating ‘undercover’ in a St. Petersburg Service Center [those we have here in Germany many, where people are paid for writing content for internet companies to increase SEO visibility in Google]
· He talks about a ‘secret Putin Troll-factory’. I wonder why would such a secret Putin Troll-factory hire a liberal journalist. I don’t buy this one Mister Bidder!
· Let’s use some Bidder’s method and logic: Do we know that Ludmilla was not asked by Bidder himself to go undercover into a Service Center in St. Petersburg and try to find prove for his preconceived opinion?
Next week we will present you another gatekeeper from the German main stream media. Stay tuned!
This post first appeared on Russia Insider
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