From Russia with propaganda

Kyle Wilson writes: Re. “The Age and SMH’s latest byline: Vladimir Putin?” (yesterday). Congratulations and thanks for the excellent piece of analysis by Sasha Petrova on the Russian supplements in the Fairfax papers. By Russian standards they’re fairly sophisticated propaganda, suggesting that the Kremlin has in this instance, as in others, engaged US or European media consultants. For instance, they reproduce commentary by the likes of F.A.Lukyanov, the editor of “Russia in Global Affairs”, among the most liberal and moderate of Russian commentators on international relations (doubtless without his permission).

Again, we have Crikey to thank for covering a matter that the rest of the Australian media ignores.

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Niall Clugston writes: Sasha Petrova’s denunciation of Russian propaganda in Fairfax newspapers would be more convincing if she didn’t load it up with anti-Russian propaganda.  Sure, there are plenty of criticisms to be made of the USSR and of Putin’s Russia, but to pretend they are one and the same is simply silly.  And complaints about Russian “imperialism” would be more convincing if they didn’t implicitly condone Georgian persecution of ethnic minorities.  And protests about “democracy” would be more convincing from an establishment which didn’t applaud when Yeltsin sent tanks against parliament. Sure, let’s condemn Russia, but let’s also condemn the hypocrisy of Australia media that prints Russian propaganda for money and prints anti-Russian propaganda for free.

Australia’s moral authority

Marilyn Shepherd writes: Re. “An ex-ambassador looks at ‘turning back the boats’” (yesterday). Why do the politicians and many sections of our media operate under the assumption that because we are Australians we have the ownership and control of the world’s borders and oceans to such an extent we can dictate who sails where and when?

We don’t, and the deranged notion of turning away asylum seekers no matter how they get here should never have been given one skerrick of oxygen because there is a cretin section of the populace so racist they believe we are actually allowed to be such barbarians. No other country in the world with sea borders rants and whinges about borders and push backs the way Australia does, and all because the government has decided decades ago that we sign up to international law but are in fact exempt.

Remembering Helen Hughes …

Geoff Leach writes: Re. “Rundle: Helen Hughes got it wrong, but not for want of trying” (yesterday). Did Helen Hughes get nearly everything she touched wrong? I doubt it, and it is a cheap shot. I worked with her on the first review of the Australian Aid program and have nothing but admiration for her foresight on where the program was going and what it needed. In development studies, she put ANU on the map. Again on tertiary education her views were were accurate and accessible. There are many more examples.

… and Christopher Pearson

Roger Knight writes: Re. “Rundle: vale Christopher Pearson, God’s Maoist” (Friday). I love Guy Rundle, but maybe the fact that he’s in London made it difficult access his fact checker? Pearson was not  Chief Justice Bray’s “lover”. One swallow does not make a summer, and the gentleman who might just merit the title of Bray’s “lover” was certainly not Pearson. Bray did not finance The Adelaide Review or contribute to it financially at all. That honour was taken by the head of an Adelaide engineering firm  and a maths academic (no, not me, I’m history in all senses). Does any of this matter? Well, yes, I fear it does, because it reflects the Walter Mitty narrative that Pearson created about himself in later life, fueled by heavy intakes of booze and a sense of his own importance.  He  was a very fine editor for about 10 years, and I take my hat off to him.  After that, well … Did YOU ever encounter him in the last 10  to 15 years, Rundle? Somehow,  I doubt it.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
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