Reporters on the ground reveal how botched US media coverage of Russia

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US media often get their coverage of Ukraine wrong, fueling a firehose of misinformation that only leads to “psychological terror” for Ukrainians, according to local reporters on the ground.

Blindly relying on “US intelligence sources,” mistranslations, outdated context and sloppy vocabulary about the recent escalation between Ukraine and Russia heightens anxiety about a possible Russian invasion, said Iryna Matviyishyn, a Ukrainian human rights journalist, at the Daily Caller.

“Some media get the translation wrong… Maybe because they don’t have good translators, or they do it quickly [through] Google Translate. They distort information,” she continued, mentioning how CNN mistranslated Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s “ironic” message that February 16 would be the day the invasion would begin, and “contributed to panic in the media”. (RELATED: Biden Admin Has No Idea If Ukrainian President Was Joking About Invasion Day)

Common mistakes are seen in titles and framing, as selling points Many times imply Russian threats caused by Ukraine.

Wording issues, such as saying “Ukrainian crisis” and “Ukrainian conflict”, not “Russia’s war against Ukraine” are also misleading and blame the victim, rather than emphasizing the accumulation of 130 000 Russian soldiers at the Ukrainian border. and the eight-year war in eastern Ukraine, Matviyishyn continued.

KYIV, UKRAINE – FEBRUARY 16: Children play on floats displayed at the Motherland Monument during the new ‘Day of Unity’ on February 16, 2022 in Kyiv, Ukraine. ‘Unity Day’ was created by Ukraine’s president this week, in response to reports that February 16 was the date Russian forces would invade Ukraine after Russian forces massed at the Ukrainian border in recent months. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

Melanie Podolyak, a Ukrainian blogger who covers the situation on the ground, said talking about the conflict as a whole new story is also a false story, as the war has been going on for eight years in the east. from Ukraine.

“It’s not about to start, it’s been going on for eight years. We lost control of huge parts of our territory – Crimea, some of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions… We lost thousands of people” and “millions have been displaced,” Podolyak told the Daily Caller. (RELATED: How young Ukrainians are preparing for a possible invasion)

Oleksandr Yusupov, a Ukrainian columnist and blogger, agreed, noting that US media often use the wrong words to describe the ongoing war.

Speaking of the eight-year conflict in the Donbass, “many American journalists and TV channels say ‘in the Donbass, the Ukrainian army is fighting against Russian-backed separatists,’ which leads readers to believe that the conflict is to a greater extent internal, although it is clear that, although some Ukrainians do indeed serve in Russian armed formations in the East, the war is between Ukraine and Russia,” Yusupov said.

Journalists who have never covered Ukraine or are visiting the country for the first time sometimes lack context on geography, culture, history and knowledge of the language, Matviyishyn continued, noting that Eastern European correspondents generally work in the Russian office, not in Ukraine.

Don’t blindly trust [President Joe] Biden, don’t blindly trust Zelensky, and God forbid, don’t trust [Russian President Vladimir] Putin,” Matviyishyn said, advising to check the facts, shed more light on local voices and learn the language.

Some foreign journalists coming to Ukraine and expecting to see “panic”, do not understand that “everyone is really exhausted”, added Podolyak. Ukrainians “have learned a lot from these eight years, and panic is not our friend. Because information spreads so quickly, Ukrainians have become very picky” about what they choose to believe.

Yusupov concluded that US media rushing to release “unclassified intelligence” is damaging the situation on the ground.

“There has been a lot of unclassified intelligence in the US media about a possible full-scale Russian invasion” which, while at times questionable, “has panicked some people in Ukraine, especially in towns bordering Russia,” he said. he said, noting that it is important to consult independent sources. US and Ukrainian military experts to see the whole picture.

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