Drudge Retort: The Other Side of the News
Sunday, May 22, 2022

While the fighting in Ukraine is still a "special military operation", it is portrayed as but one front in a war with the West. Sanctions are proof of the West's intention to bring down Russia. Atrocities occur, but as a mirror of what Western audiences see. Civilians in Bucha, a town north of Kyiv, were not massacred by Russian forces who briefly occupied the area, but by Ukrainian soldiers. Western secret services arranged the bodies on the roads for journalists to find.



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"Sometimes I have the sensation that we live on two different planets with the same objects," says Zhanna Agalakova, a former correspondent for Channel One who quit in response to the war. Russian media "tell about a Mariupol where Russian tanks are met with flowers". Western media "tell about a destroyed city and about people who walk streets filled with chunks of human bodies".

Audiences are told that Russian troops have taken extra care to avoid civilian casualties, which is difficult because Ukrainian Nazis tend to hide in apartment blocks. Russian television uses this purported caution to explain why the operation is taking so long. If acknowledged at all, casualties are portrayed as heroes. The sinking of Russia's flagship Moskva cruiser on the Black Sea was explained as an accident unrelated to combat. It received only brief mentions in the official news.

Misinformation, and not only Mr Putin's, exploits quirks of the human mind. People tend to believe stories that reinforce their existing beliefs, a process known as motivated reasoning'. Mere repetition can also make information seem more believable. In today's Russia, those mechanisms are reinforced by violence and repression. Challenging or questioning the official narrative moves you out of your comfort zone and into jeopardy.

I never thought that America would be influenced by Russia, I always believed it would be the other way around.

Obviously I couldn't have been more wrong. Trump ushered in the domestic era of "alternative facts," a term that would have warmed even Joseph Goebbels cold perverted heart. There aren't simply different points of view these days, there are differing realities - one that actually exists, and another made up out of whole lies and intentional deceits, yet believed as gospel by far too many.

#1 | Posted by tonyroma at 2022-05-22 10:30 AM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

Russia has been divided and conquered in the information wars, the same path America is on with politically controlled media providing the alternative facts that people want to hear.

Russia is just further down the path with state controlled media and laws against free speech. But we are headed in the same direction if the radical Right America Firsters finally have their way in this country.

Just a reminder:

Inside Russia, something like half or more people get news from outside sources and don't support the SMO. But most of them aren't willing to take to the streets in protest. Not yet anyway. We'll see what happens.

In America, the self-righteous tell themselves that if they can't win democratic votes, then they must either cheat or fight because accepting defeat isn't an option and an authoritarian government is better than a freely elected one.

#2 | Posted by Corky at 2022-05-22 01:11 PM | Reply

#3 | Posted by Corky at 2022-05-22 01:12 PM | Reply

Anyone else reading that Putin has butt cancer from sex?

#4 | Posted by Tor at 2022-05-23 01:26 AM | Reply

Anything to do with the reindeer antler blood baths?

#5 | Posted by Doc_Sarvis at 2022-05-23 05:17 AM | Reply

I have been seeing a lot of what they show on TV from the Russian state media. It is pretty radical and scary - there is constant saber rattling over nukes on the west. The thing is there is change coming.

Like a retired Colonel dared to say the war is already lost on a national broadcast.
A musical artist, Yuri Shevchuk, was arrested for condemning the war at a concert just over a week ago now. There were no boos either just support from the crowd.
Just the other day the whole crowd at a Kis-Kis concert was chanting "f--- the war".

You can't hide the fact that there are over 25k dead Russian Troops and probably over 100k wounded. Most People aren't that stupid. I personally directly know 2 people that died in the Iraq and Afghanistan debacles. Between the two over almost 20 years we lost 2,401 soldier. They have lost, if Ukraine is even remotely close, about 28k in less than 90 days. In a country with about 1/3 the population of the US. The lost 2 fighting groups in just the last week trying one river crossing - 100 APCs and Tanks destroyed with an estimated 500 dead.

They have a massive pile of their dead troops in Donetsk. Thousands in this one pile. They literally just threw then in a pile as tall as a person in a walled in area. Want your dead brother? Pay and you can find your loved one to bury them. It is so bad that the Red Cross and UN are now telling them to collect their dead and take them away.

#6 | Posted by GalaxiePete at 2022-05-23 09:33 AM | Reply

Exclusive: Senior Russian Diplomat at U.N. Defects

GENEVA, May 23, 2022 " Russia's counsellor to the United Nations in Geneva has resigned, the most senior diplomat to defect since his country's invasion of Ukraine began in February, according to an exclusive report by UN Watch, an independent non-governmental human rights organization based in Geneva.

"Never have I been so ashamed of my country," wrote Boris Bondarev, in a statement shared with diplomats in Geneva.

You can read the full statement here:

#7 | Posted by Gal_Tuesday at 2022-05-23 10:03 AM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

"I never thought that America would be influenced by Russia, I always believed it would be the other way around."


Alger Hiss?

Harry Dexter White?

#8 | Posted by madbomber at 2022-05-23 03:08 PM | Reply


I was referring to the general public being influenced by a wholesale disinformation campaign, upending political dynamics in a broad way never seen before due to the machinations of a foreign enemy and a domestic political party deciding to use those efforts towards their own political ends without regards to the delegitimization of our democratic processes said use has caused.

Everybody spies and will spy until governments cease having secrets worth hiding - which is never.

#9 | Posted by tonyroma at 2022-05-23 05:40 PM | Reply

America's democracy is as fragile as Ukraine's. Thats why meddling in other people's elections has serious consequences.

Maybe someday the powers that be in America will wise up about foreign meddling and promoting coups abroad.

Maybe our own self preservation as a free nation will motivate us to stop.

We're not exceptional. Our system can be destroyed by its own internal tensions,just like everywhere else.

#10 | Posted by Effeteposer at 2022-05-23 09:16 PM | Reply

"Our system can be destroyed by its own internal tensions,just like everywhere else."

It's what you voted for, and it's also why you voted for it.

#11 | Posted by snoofy at 2022-05-23 09:17 PM | Reply

So? What are you gonna do about it?

American disenfranchisement of all but wealthy has consequences. People vote for wingnuts, or worse.

Is open rebellion and bloodshed better? The system here is eating the bottom half of the country.

Like serfs. They have little influence or mobility.

Economic power is less open but equally destructive.

The bottom half won't take being exploited without a fight.

They may strike out blindly,and even stupidly.

But more unrest is coming.

Count on it.

#12 | Posted by Effeteposer at 2022-05-23 09:27 PM | Reply

Outside of those Russia has influence over every credible and relative organization has condemned putin's war of cruel aggression.

#13 | Posted by Tor at 2022-05-23 09:43 PM | Reply

"So? What are you gonna do about it?"

I try to help the casual observer navigate the political landscape. Which, among other things, involves calling out the incessant lying and dissembling from propagandists such as yourself.

#14 | Posted by snoofy at 2022-05-23 10:17 PM | Reply

"The bottom half won't take being exploited without a fight."

Your life tells a different story.

Unless you call voting for Trump putting up a fight.

I mean, that is what you were thinking. That you'd fight back and stick it to the man by voting for the failed businessman and successful rapist with a trust fund.

#15 | Posted by snoofy at 2022-05-23 10:18 PM | Reply

U. Chicago's Professor Mearscheimer cautioned the GW Bush NSC that expanding NATO eastward could be provocative to Putin, but, rightly or wrongly, Pres. Baby Bush ignored that precautionary advice. Putin proceeded to invade Ukraine in Obama's later years in office.

Whatever Putin says about his 2022 invasion, however, his war is minimally excusable as preemptive. Putin himself admits his goal is to make Ukraine disappear as a nation and to restore it as part of Russia. No matter how anyone parses Putin's words, there's no escaping the hypocrisy of his logic.

Nevertheless, shirtless, macho Putin controls Russia's media, and with minimal outside news, 90% of Russians believe Putin's mission vs Ukraine is to conquer legacy "Nazis" (as illogical as that is) and to protect Russian speaking ethnic Russians who've lived in Donbas & Crimea for 50-150 yrs, and to protect Russia from NATO's expansion.

Zelinsky attempted to negotiate an end to the Donbas crisis with Putin in 2018, but crazy, isolated Tsar Putin wouldn't meet him. Now, Zelinsky's trolled online & his life is at risk anytime he appears in public.

I'm hoping Putin's proven dishonesty helps ensure that his dishonest messaging loses impact on Russia's common folk. But for a culture facing cognitive dissonance, pre-existing beliefs, loyalties, & values are very hard to shake, even when convincing proof is providdd.

#16 | Posted by Augustine at 2022-05-23 10:34 PM | Reply

GalaxiePete, your casualty numbers seem high. Civilian war casualties are more easily tracked than military ones because they can be confirmed by sources on the ground while combatant death tolls are obscured by secrecy, chaos, and misinformation. Civilian casualties are generally higher than those of combatants.

Say what you will about Russia's poor performance in the war, it is probably not the worst performance of all time by some large order of magnitude. Based on the rate of tank losses, it seems to be on the order of WWII performance.

The way I begin estimating any time series is by using either long-term historical trends or closest recent comparisons. Conveniently, the UN measures both current casualties and historical ratios of civilian:combatant casualties. Applying this method of estimation to Ukraine, I get a surprisingly low number. (This can't be right?!)

Let's assume this war is on the order of the extremely high WWII civilian:combatant casualty rate of 3:2 or 67%. Then as of May 23, 2022, I calculate:

(3,930 civilians killed + 4,532 civilians injured) x (1 - 0.67) = 5,670 combatant casualties

Then let's build in a lag to compensate for delays in measurement and reporting. Let's say the casualties are occurring at the same rate, and the UN is a month behind in its reporting. One month of a three-month war is about +30%, so the new estimate is:

5,670 x 1.3 = 6,968 combatant casualties

If you think these numbers are low, consider that war casualties are typically heaviest at the beginnings of wars. Using the multi-year average of WWII deaths as a multiplier does not reflect higher front-end casualty numbers in the first three months of the war. So the 29,500 number that a Russian soldier was intercepted saying on a phone call a month ago may be accurate. If the war extends for a long period, we will likely see the trend revert to the historical mean.

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)

#17 | Posted by FasterDisaster at 2022-05-23 10:43 PM | Reply | Funny: 1

"GalaxiePete, your casualty numbers seem high."

Recently the UK Ministry of Defense provided this intelligence update:

In the first three months of its 'special military operation,' Russia has likely suffered a similar death toll to that experienced by the Soviet Union during its nine year war in Afghanistan.

According to Wikipedia, that's
Soviet forces:
14,453 killed (total) or
9,500 killed in combat[42]
4,000 died from wounds[42]
1,000 died from disease and accidents[42]
53,753 wounded[42]"Afghan_War

#18 | Posted by snoofy at 2022-05-23 10:49 PM | Reply

Bush mentioning the possibility of Georgia joining NATO in public seems to have caused mad vlad to invade that country before Obama was President.

#19 | Posted by Tor at 2022-05-23 11:05 PM | Reply

Georgia was the aggressor in that war. They attacked Russia.

#20 | Posted by Effeteposer at 2022-05-23 11:09 PM | Reply

Thanks for that, Tore. That number of dead is consistent with the intercepted phone call. It is still half of GalaxiePete's number of wounded, isn't it? The true number of the first three months is probably higher than my estimate due to the multiplier derived from a multi-year average. I am generating my own estimate based on historical numbers from all measured wars because the given numbers from partisans in any war are often distorted, biased, or propaganda. I anticipate we will see a protracted war with a mean-reverting casualty trend. I don't think the UN numbers are gospel truth either, but I think they're less biased because they're measured over multiple wars across time.

#21 | Posted by FasterDisaster at 2022-05-23 11:12 PM | Reply

Afraid to say fasterdisaster is right. The dead don't matter. The west is in some feel good state right now but in the long run ....

#22 | Posted by bruceaz at 2022-05-23 11:22 PM | Reply

There's a new appendix to The Things They Carried, one of the Russians is carrying a toilet.

Too soon?

#23 | Posted by snoofy at 2022-05-24 12:30 AM | Reply

Is a multipolar world a bad thing? More opportunities to play nice in the sandbox. Less hubris. Less ideology.

Or World war?

#24 | Posted by Effeteposer at 2022-05-24 12:42 AM | Reply

"Is a multipolar world a bad thing?"

We had that. We don't have that anymore. Time is an arrow.

#25 | Posted by snoofy at 2022-05-24 12:45 AM | Reply

Less ideology?

The Stand

By the way folks

Watched The Secret Window last night, Johnny Dpp. Steven King to the max.

#26 | Posted by bruceaz at 2022-05-24 12:57 AM | Reply


#27 | Posted by bruceaz at 2022-05-24 12:57 AM | Reply

Cool. Somebody sorta got it.

#28 | Posted by Effeteposer at 2022-05-24 01:48 AM | Reply

Mearsheimer and Kissinger are on the same page as Realists, which in International Relations theory means they believe states are the primary actors that act in their own interests in a system where they are struggling for survival without help.

Mearsheimer and Kissinger understand that desperate states will take desperate measures"like using nukes to ensure their own survival.

Biden is a liberal idealist. He believes, to borrow from Wikipedia, "the state should make its internal political philosophy the goal of its foreign policy. For example, an idealist might believe that ending poverty at home should be coupled with tackling poverty abroad."

The world is too big to try to make all the actors conform to one worldview. Realism is the correct way to view things.

#29 | Posted by FasterDisaster at 2022-05-24 09:57 AM | Reply

Lucky 13

Three months into Vladimir Putin's "special military operation" in Ukraine, another Russian general has reportedly been killed by Ukrainian forces. Russian Air Force Major General Banamat Botashev, 63, has become the 13th general to die in Ukrainian territory since Russia invaded on Feb. 24.

#30 | Posted by El_Buscador at 2022-05-24 02:09 PM | Reply

The press and ardent social media warriors are making a lot out of this, but the Pentagon's tone is subdued. U.S. News reports, Though the Pentagon cannot independently verify the claims, a senior defense official told reporters on Monday, "Even if you assume it's true, I'm not sure that tells you anything in particular about Russian command and control."' (

#31 | Posted by FasterDisaster at 2022-05-24 03:51 PM | Reply

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