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Bloomberg's Coverage of St. Petersburg Econ Forum Was Embarrassing. Here Are the Highlights

When one of the commentators described Tsipras’ speech to the forum as akin to “diplomatic terrorism” it was pretty clear what viewers were in for


This post first appeared on Russia Insider


I have just spent far too much of my day watching Bloomberg's coverage of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, so this will be brief.

I could go through it all in detail and analyse it more deeply, but quite frankly, it was actually so mortifyingly bad that it doesn't deserve to be taken quite that seriously. If anyone else out there had their TVs or computer screens tuned to Bloomberg, please know I feel your pain.

Over the course of the event, Bloomberg had at least five (maybe six) different commentators, anchors and reporters ‘debating’ and ‘analysing’ (and I use those terms loosely) the comments made by Vladimir Putin, Alexis Tsipras and others. First their speeches, and then the interview with Putin conducted by PBS’s Charlie Rose.

When one of the commentators described Tsipras’ speech to the forum as akin to “diplomatic terrorism” it was pretty clear what viewers were in for.

So, without further ado, here’s just a flavor of what I subjected myself to this afternoon:

  • Putin receives applause from the St. Petersburg audience, Bloomberg responds by arguing that the applause gave the event a “Soviet feeling” …(Question: what kind of ‘feeling’ do we attribute to events where Obama receives applause from supportive Americans?)

  • There is an element of theater to all politics, but there’s “a larger element of theater” with Putin. Why? Because there’s a difference between “what is said publicly and what is really going on” …(Question: I wonder if Bloomberg has heard of this guy called Obama, or?)

  • Putin says Russia not interested in being seen as a ‘superpower’ ...Bloomberg commentator immediately responds: “Russia likes to see itself as a superpower”. (Question: What the fuck?)

  • Putin (personally) has seen his “influence and territory” decrease over the last 24 years. (Dear Bloomberg, meet history book.)

  • Putin is possibly preparing to continue his “Westward march” into Europe. Seriously.

  • One commentator speculates that he may want to go ‘as far as Kiev’.

  • One commentator disagrees, because, as he sees it, “the bear has been caged”.

  • Crimea (just in general) is “dilapidated”

  • The St. Petersburg forum was just a “sad freakshow” with “one guy from Germany”

  • “This [Russia] is not a place where you want to invest”

And last, but certainly not least:

  • “The only thing Putin is missing is his eyepatch.”

Arr, mateys! Come aboard the sinking ship that is Russia!

Okay. It’s easier to laugh this off than to take it seriously, because if you took it seriously, you might just decide life would be better lived curled up under a rock where geopolitics doesn’t matter.

The reality: Charlie Rose conducted a wide-ranging, serious, 70-minute long interview with Putin and this is all Bloomberg could come up with in response. It’s juvenile.

Bloomberg’s coverage can’t be taken seriously, because they refuse to take their subject matter seriously and debate it in the way it deserves to be debated; with nuance, and by adults. Not squealing children who see the world in black and white.


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